My Greatest Enemy

Slow down, gents...this party's getting way out of hand.  Who's turn to host next year?
Slow down, gents…this party’s getting way out of hand. Where are the Doritos and the dames? Who’s turn to host next year?

A friend of ours recently made an unexpected announcement – she had finished writing a screenplay.  Now, writing a screenplay for someone who writes screenplays for a living is hardly a shock.  Noble, indeed, but not something that involves going to the party section at Target for. Singing Telegrams need not apply. But our friend does not write screenplays for a living.  She has three children, a husband who has been renovating their house since they bought it years ago, and works non-stop teaching, working, and running her own business, and a mother who is very ill.  So, to me, writing a screenplay amidst that madness is an achievement – in the way that making polenta with chantrelle mushrooms, Stilton, tarragon and home made crème fraîche is an achievement for a border collie.  With lupus.  And webbed paws.

Now it’s not that she wrote the screenplay that has had me gawking (well, part of it is – we are thrilled as Grasshopper Pie for her) – but in how she found the time to do this.  How? When?  When does someone carve out space within the vortex of modern, uptight living to breathe life into the blank page?  How did she do it without the heavy needs of her family and business pulling her each way like a Gumby doll caught between two escalators?  Certainly she found a mysterious, yet pleasing way of bending space and time to accommodate the written art form to her already bustling Oprah-like Titanic schedule.

Bending it like a boss, indeed.

Or bend it like him.  Ain't he dreamy, gals?
Or bend it like him. Ain’t he dreamy, gals? Even the rain obeys his steady, sexpot gaze.

I seem to be surrounded by these supermom types. My wife is one in many ways (to me), but even she will admit she is not in the same category as some of our friends and neighbours are.  As a parent, I am not cut from the same cloth as my screenwriting friend, or the one who knits entire menageries and runs half marathons while raising three boys, or the one who is on every school counsel and bakes cakes that would win TV competitions in between vomit patrol at home with the wee ones. Or even the one who coaches every single girls team (of any and all sports) within a ten kilometres radius of her house and builds cathedrals in her spare time while juggling an orphanage and a second career in air show jumping.  (Okay, I may have stretched that last one a bit…but you get my drift). In terms of parental cloth, I am more bleached Walmart burlap to their Nepalese cashmere.

That’s because for this hombre, I can barely find enough hours to work and sleep and perhaps interact with other human beings (like my family).  Add into that the necessities of living and the care of two young boys, then there are -15 hours left in the day. (No one told me math would be involved here). Nothing new, of course – all parents have the same issues.  Except for those who write screenplays, score symphonies and paint murals the size of Burger Kings, whilst taking care of junior and walking Spot.

When I was in high school, I had one English teacher who always seemed to just run out of time before he could end the lesson.  He always declared “Time is my greatest enemy, gentleman”.  Really?  Greatest Enemy? Darth Vader always seemed like a good candidate for that title. But it seemed that the line in the sand had been drawn many moons ago.  Mickey Mouse’s small clock hand was ready to arm wrestle for world domination.  Playing with anti-matter and the forces of physics doesn’t apply (I tried for 25 drinking years to do that – hint: it didn’t work). And you know what?  That teacher was right, because I always felt that the cloaked speedster known as time was also my greatest enemy.  Or maybe it was just me, and I blamed time.  Blaming time is safe, isn’t it?

Best. Enemy. Ever.
Best. Enemy. Ever.

When asked how in the hell she was able to write a screenplay, our friend simply stated that she got up at 4 am every day and just, you know, wrote. Boom. Just like that.  Full Monty with the sheer simplicity of it all – get up early.  That’s it?  That’s all one has to do?  Mind blowing.  Because in my mind, she and the other superstars have some voodoo up their sleeve.  Some sort of black magic that needs to be sorted out via sacrificed Armenian lamb and ancient shrunken heads.  Because in my mind, the number of hours in my day is much different the hours that are in your day.  There has to be, as I can hardly get a litre of milk at the store and do a load of laundry in the same day.  And they are getting F-16 pilot’s licenses while taking Jane and Jeff to the orthodontist’s and making homemade mac and cheese.

Now, when I stand back and take this all in, I have to shift my perception a bit.  Yes, I am in many ways in awe of some of our friends who can pull this stuff off.  Proud of them to persevere and do what is in their hearts.  My perception in all this is that I am seeing what my ego wants to see – that everyone has perfect lives and that it would be easy to get into comparison and ultimately, self-pity.  Ego loves a good pity party.  Now go to Target for one of those Droopy The Dog pinatas to whack at.  But the reality is this – that those folks who do the things that amaze me, find the time to do it.  They carve out the time as needed.  They chunk time.  They plan.  They organize.  They take advantage of opportunities as they come up.  The do it because they are compelled and passionate and enjoy what they do.  They do it because it is vital to their growth.

Damn you time with your smugness and your tilty-ness.  I will defeat you and save the princess!
Damn you time with your smugness and your tilty-ness. I will defeat you and save the princess!

And believe me, when I listen a little bit more to these same people that I am easily putting on pedestals, I hear more of the full story.  I hear about houses that are unkempt because there is no time to clean up properly.  I hear about lacklustre social lives, or missed vacation chances or unearned money from “real” jobs because they are pursuing what their heart points them to.  There are balances going on.  There are sacrifices.  There’s unfinished business behind the scenes.  I am highlighting the things that make me feel like garbage because ego wants me to feel less than.  I am pointing to their amazing so that I can point back at my mediocre and fancied failings.

Being aware of this is what saves my bacon, though. While I celebrate at other people’s fantastic goals and achievements, I look into self and see where I need to do the work.  This is one of the jobs in my recovery.  This is where the work is.  This is where I stop, drop and roll, spiritually and mentally speaking.  I need to see that where others are is where they are, and that they create that space that they require to do their own work.  And here’s both the enlightening and difficult part here – I take a moment and look at things from the other point-of-view.  How do I see where I am at?  How would a stranger see me?

Here is a dude with a great family.  He has a fantastic job that doesn’t seem to stress him much.  He writes a blog.  He has time to read other blogs and interact with others in the sober community – online (social media, forums and other) and face-to-face.  He works on his recovery daily.  He journals, prays, meditates. He keeps a clean house, pays bills, cooks all the meals and works for a treatment center doing their newsletter.  He jogs, rides his bike and reads a lot about spirituality and recovery.  He talks to other men in recovery.  He is always finding new music and passionate about new artists.  He finds the time to organize things and to meet up for coffee with friends.

Gather round family.  Let's find out if Daddy gets deported or not.  I'd hate to see you turn out to be a swell kid, Jimmy.
Gather round family. Let’s find out if Daddy gets deported or not. I’d hate to miss seeing you turn out to be a swell kid, Jimmy.

So, doing this exercise in taking the glasses off, wiping them, turning them around and coming from gratitude and self-love brings a new truth. A new way of looking at things.  The impulsive envy and sarcasm and comparing all start to fall by the wayside, dripping off like spring rain water.  Appreciation for self and for others grows.  Understanding where I can be and how I approach my own day and week and month takes on a new complexion.  Seeing my place in the world and of being of service to others – friends, family, co-workers, alcoholics – comes into a clearer focus.

When I think back about what my English teacher said, I get where he was coming from.  I also see time differently now, though.  I see it not as a foe, but just as it is – something that is to be used and spent.  And being used properly doesn’t necessarily mean pedal-to-the-metal to-do lists.  Some of the best time I have spent was staring at the stars and being in awe and wonderment of this universe.  Time is what I make it.  My priorities in life manifest themselves in how I spend my 24 hours.  Today, I am writing.  Here, and for several other places and reasons.  Hitting a meeting later.  Perhaps chat with my sponsor.  Going for a run, perhaps.  Self-care, recharging, taking care of my family.  Nesting and regrouping.  Getting ready for the next onslaught of to-do’s and need-to-get-done’s.

This guy's glasses are the least of his worries.
This guy’s glasses are the least of his worries.

This is my screenplay right now, and with the help of the Great Author, I get to play the role I was meant to be doing right this moment.  No understudies required.  This is the role I was born to play, as we all have our own roles we were meant to play.  And how will it end?

Time will tell.

Time will always tell.

How is your day being spent?

58 Comments Add yours

  1. It is so easy, yet so dangerous to compare ourselves to others, isn’t it? I think that is why writing a daily gratitude list is helping, because it takes me away from the point of view of my silly ego. Sometimes I feel that I spend too much time on distractions, like the Internet and TV, but then I remind myself that I gave up alcohol. There is always something to work for. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

    1. It’s funny how one will start with a post with one thing in mind, and how the readers see it in another light – love it! The comparing thing was a small part, but perhaps it ended up being a greater thing that seeped in, yes? Coolio. But absolutely – the comparing thing is a dangerous path for a dude like me. And what you said about looking at the big pic – no booze, right? That’s counts for a little something, doesn’t it (and by little I mean HUGE). I love how you looked at this – flipped it around for me!

      Thank for for this, Jeni!


      1. Ha! I think we take what we need. Have a good one, Paul! 🙂

  2. Casey says:


    Husband and I went to go to a pediatric neuropsychologists today to learn some mindfulness games and strategies to help my almost 9 year old learn how to relieve her anxiety and depression and increase her resilience (yes, my 9 year old is depressed and anxious and it’s due to husband’s and my own dysfunctions).

    I’ll be continuing to read the ACoA Red book. I’ll cook a little bit for dinner and I’ll be learning how to speak more kindly and compassionately from a book I’m reading called Verbal First Aid: Help Your Kids Heal from Fear and Pain and Come Out Strong.

    So…while I don’t know how to be a supermom, I do know I’m learning something better – how to build resilience and prioritize learning how to relax, have fun and take care of ourselves in good times and in stressful times instead of learn how do more stuff in less time.

    That’s what I’m doing today.


    1. I love what you say here, Casey. There is a lot of insight, warmth and wisdom here. You and I are the proverbial works-in-progress. And I understand that child can be depressed and anxious. I don’t think it’s unusual when there is some sort of emotional upheaval or addiction or such in the household. That’s what alateen, Alanon and ACoA is all about, isn’t it? And speaking of, I believe there is something about it being ACoA week around these parts. Was thinking of you when I heard that.

      I like your plan there. That can apply to pretty much everyone. Sound like a good deal – learn to slow down, enjoy and take in the moments. Be kind to one another. Show our hearts. Play.

      Works-in-progress…. 🙂


  3. jrj1701 says:

    I remember a friend always would say “yes you too can time travel. every second you are traveling to the future.” My reply was always “Does it have to be so fast?”
    Comparing myself to others is always disastrous, I am what I am and if that ain’t Superman, oh well, at least I ain’t got to worry about kryptonite.

    1. Dude – stop blowing my mind!! I love those first two sentences. Have to get them framed and make sure I have a hat on because my head will explode. What a concept – time travel, bit by bit, but holding onto the moment at the same time – is it possible? Does Dr. Who know about this?

      Kryptonite – love that line too. I guess we’ll have to settle for being the best us we can be. That sound like more than just settling, now that I think about it. Sounds like a Divine Plan to me, doesn’t it?

      Your comment, like you, rocks.

      Thank you.


  4. big mike says:

    ying and the yang ramblings

    I’m in total awe of folks who are masters of time frame compartmentalization.

    I’ve never been able to master living by the clock. Its massively ironic that I am a master at knowing what time it is physically by some kind of esp-esque awareness.

    But the thing that connects knowing when to do something at a certain time is lost on me. I’m always late. Always. Get up three hours before work, 15 minute ride to the job site, and still be at least a couple of minutes late. Why the fuck is that? I am oblivious to the time constraints our society is based on. Take the bus to school and still be late for class. I don’t know if its built in procrastination or what, but its been a major problem for nearly 6 decades. As a matter of fact, when I was a little kid, the old lady that used to take care of us was always yellin at me for being late. She used to yell: Micah! Micah! You always late!! You gonna be late to your own funeral, boy! So what gives?

    note: I have a million things to do today, but its already 4:30 in the afternoon and I’m still in my underwear typing on a sobriety blog. Some days are better than others….i guess.

    1. I was laughing about the being late to your own funeral…hilarious.

      Yeah, I get ya there. Work could be two minutes away and I can find a way to be running late to that. Going to meetings helped me with that – respect the meeting. Get there early. Help set up. Talk to others. Get chairs out. On the rare occasion I am late, I make sure to get in there quietly, wait if they are doing the serenity prayer, etc. That’s just me – I see folks come in halfway or at the last minute, literally. Still get to sit with the peeps and with God in the room. Not a bad deal.

      that’s okay about being in the briefs in the afternoon. If I weren’t expecting company later, I probably might be in the same boat. It’s my day off, so I can chill and just actually take it easy – what a concept! Not running around trying to “accomplish, accomplish”. Mental health day. Perhaps go for a walk, read, etc. Went to a mtg last night, and meeting after the meeting, so I am full up in the dept. Hanging out with you folks suits me just fine now.

      Thanks again Mike – you rock, sir.


  5. samara says:

    You’re AMAZING.

    You write comments that are sonnets.

    You love strangers unconditionally.

    You make me wildly happy everytime my orange light lights up and it’s you.

    And those people who get so much done? I know their secret. They require VERY LITTLE SLEEP.

    4 am, indeed.

    1. So glad to see you here in my little corner of the world, Samara!

      You are much too kind with the compliments…I am trying to smash my ego..ha ha. But thank you. I never saw myself loving strangers unconditionally – perhaps because I spent a whole life time holding them in contempt for something as silly as just *being in my way*. D’oh! Don’t they know who they are messing with? Oh dear, the big bad wolf is out again. Maybe it’s one of those things we don’t see. It would be one of the greatest accomplishments in my life if that is true – loving others without condition? What a blast. I ought to have that bronzed, like baby shoes. Or just hope that someone else passes it on. Like that Starbucks thing not too long ago.

      Well, I have to say that like energy seeks like energy, my friend. And here we are, paths crossed and voila! Energy starbursts everywhere…fireworks! And that’s how it goes – a new connection, a new thread in our lives that brings us that much closer to where we need to be. You are here to show me something, Samara. Not sure what, but your enthusiasm and your writing and your loyal readers bring me something that touches me.

      Thanks for being here…and yeah, I guess 4am is where’s it’s at, eh? <—my Canadian is showing.

      I'll try setting my alarm that early and get my glowstick and pacifer going. lol.


      1. samara says:

        I should have gotten here sooner.

        Your blog is even more delightful than your comments. Did you say something about Starbucks? I’d like a chai tea latte, please.

        Time is my enemy, too, particularly when it comes to reading all the amazing bloggers whose paths I’ve crossed.

        What a cozy place you have here. So glad I stopped by.

        1. You arrive when you need to arrive, my friend 🙂

          Glad you enjoy the coziness here. The folks who swing by have really done the work for me. Bodies create their own warmth, and everyone is very good at taking their shoes off when it’s wintery, and keeping the fire stoked. I just make sure we have enough hot chocolate and chai lattes for everyone 🙂

          Looking forward to your next goodie over there from my fave Buick 🙂

  6. It’s funny the things we take for granted that we do that other people would look at and say, “How does he/she do it all?!” I’ve been guilty of compare/despair but the truth is that no accomplishment is effortless. I like the idea of looking at my life from the outside. I’ll try to remember that the next time taking a shower is my big accomplishment!

    1. “No accomplishment is effortless” – love that. Putting that in my little blue book. I think the idea that comes up for us is that of being gentle with ourselves. I don’t mean let everything slide and being apathetic, etc. I mean, for me, it’s about not trying to conquer the world. About not keeping up with the Jones’. And that is something that gets on my radar now and then and then I wonder why I am out of sorts and exhausted. Ugh.

      Thanks for this, Karen…and congrats again on your guest blog spot!


  7. REDdog says:

    Playing the best you you can in your own screenplay of life is exactly what will give your kids the chance to not have to start from behind the 8 ball like we did mate. Here’s to the next generation getting off to a great start because we chose to break the cycle and stop being doodle-heads. Respect, as always. REDdog

    1. You said it about as well as one could say it, kind sir. I love the idea that my sons don’t see me drink and always have a present dad with them. As with your brood 🙂 We get the good stuff too, REDdog. We get to see them enjoy it, and hell, we get a good laugh from it. Enjoy the world as it was meant to be enjoyed.

      Respect back, my friend. I am glad to see you back at the keyboard these days 🙂


  8. Tracy says:

    It’s always not a good idea to compare ourselves to others…of course I do it all the time!!!:-) But I’m learning….behind every superwoman and superman are the things you talked about and sometimes other hidden things. I’ve learned that no one is perfect…especially not me!!!!!

    1. Thanks Tracy – you speak truth. It’s just one of those things that I know will happen, but get on top of and stand back and check in with myself in terms of why I am doing it. It took me a long time to realize that behind these people I put on a pedestal is something that I don’t know about. I still forget that sometimes, but I have spoken to enough people to realize that not one person has it all…inside and out.

      Thank you for your lovely comments 🙂


      1. Tracy says:

        We are all human Paul:-) Which means we are flawed! But how lucky we are on the journey that we can learn and grow!!!

    1. I read this a while back, and conveniently forgot about soon after…ha ha. Thanks for this, Margaret – this takes on a new complexion now for me. Good for what ails me.

      Thank you for sharing this 🙂

      Love and light,

  9. lifecorked says:

    Ugh. This reminds me of when I used to get up at 4 a.m. to workout at the gym. I’m so glad I’m not that person anymore. Everything looked great on the outside, but I was miserable! Great post, Paul.

    1. Thanks Chenoa. I guess if it’s important to go to the gym and it brings you joy and all, then it’s a good thing to be doing. If it’s because it’s the only time and it’s difficult, then perhaps it’s not meant to be. I don’t know – we are all the barometers of where these lie for us in our lives.

      I guess we are all learning that it’s not the externals any more. We spent too much time doing that nonsense, yes?

      Thanks for being here…love seeing ya as usual 🙂


  10. primrosep says:

    using time PROPERLY. Yes! And comparing myself with others was one of the reasons I ran myself ragged then ran into a bottle of wine a night. No more of that for me, thanks. Btw that polenta recipe sounds amazing, could your collie friend pass it on?!

    1. Ah polenta! One of my fave things to cook. I don’t have a recipe per se, but I can certainly do my best to put one together. The great thing about polenta is that it takes on whatever it is you want to give it. And it’s nice, because it takes time to make…no rushing. Gentle stirring and loving is all it needs. Sort of like our recovery, yes?

      I know, bad segue, but it’s just one of those days 🙂

  11. byebyebeer says:

    I get up at 4 these days too and do some tinkering around. I don’t think I’ll ever get to a screenplay because frankly, I don’t want to. That feels a little like sour grapes, but I like how you laid out what you do accomplish on a regular basis. Because, yes, it is quite impressive by anyone’s standards. Envy is a sneaky beast and best for me to acknowledge and hopefully move out of its way.

    1. Getting out of the way of envy – I like that image. Usually I am trying to get myself out of the way…bad crap and all. But 4 am is a tough one for me, except when it’s work related. Even then…Paul needs a nap later on. So kudos to you on that. If I didn’t have the wee ones, I might be able to manage that, but it’s usually the thing about trying not to pass out between 6-9 pm.

      Glad you tinker around…I know a few others who are up regularly at that time and write and stuff. I wish I had that mental and physical discipline!


      lol – thanks for the comments, Kristen.


      1. byebyebeer says:

        Did I mention I am asleep by 9pm? Many days before that. There is a tradeoff with every scenario. I don’t think I can keep up this schedule long term because I hardly get to see my husband anymore.

        1. I DREAM of being asleep that early! Oh what joyous days!

  12. Great post. Time is what it is. And frankly, it’s relative. Enjoy it and it will slow down. Stress about it and it will speed up. At least that’s what I’ve found anyway.

    1. I am learning that…and practising that as we speak. Don’t have much on the “to do” list, so just chilin’. Going to take myself out to lunch, light window shopping and take a nap. Maybe make pizza. I have a parent-teacher interview later and gotta take the oldest to karate…but really, lovely lazy day. I am going to do my best to enjoy it 🙂

      Thanks Rebecca again for being here 🙂 Have a wonderful day yourself!


  13. stacilys says:

    Wow! Really. Wow! My hats off to you Paul. You’ve outdone yourself this time. Excellent, but excellent post. Very well written and thought out. And I can tell you really took the glasses off and turned them around. You do have your plate full. Just like your friend writing the screenplay.
    “Time is what I make it. My priorities in life manifest themselves in how I spend my 24 hours.”
    -Well said. And food for thought. I know that as a mom, and with the rest of my life, I definitely need to schedule out my days. I am probably the most unorganized person in the world. It’s not that I don’t appreciate organization. On the contrary, I would love to be uber organized. I’ve tried and failed too many times. But I do have a very full life. And a very satisfying life. I too, believe that I am doing just what I should be doing during this phase I’m in right now. I’m at peace because I’m living out God’s plans and purposes for me right now. And I’m growing where I’m planted.
    Thanks for enriching my life today.
    Blessings =)

    1. I love hearing that your life is full and maxed out…in a good way. I don’t think I need to be a clock nazi, so I am with you on this – planning isn’t my forte. Sounds like you are doing quite well, and that doesn’t come from daytimers and schedules. Just living as needed – what a concept!

      “I’m growing where I’m planted” – that’s gold right there! I love that line. Thank you for that image / analogy. Brilliant.

      Blessings and thanks for the wonderful comments 🙂


      1. stacilys says:

        “A clock nazi” lol. I love it. I’ll have to remember that expression. I live in a hot climate country, which means people are generally not on time. I can see how I could use this expression in the future.
        Thanks Paul

  14. It’s funny how social media has made me feel like a complete slacker. I get to see everyone’s achievements and milestones and I always feel like I’m lagging behind or I’m not as successful. I too often wonder, how the hell does so-and-so do it?? Why didn’t I get those superpowers? I am one of those people who requires eight hours of sleep, and I also enjoy taking my time with pretty much everything. Savoring moments, hours, days. And dammit, I enjoy my free time! I guess I’m not meant to juggle excessively. When I worked while getting my master’s degree, I was a hermit for two years. What’s the joy in that? I will continue to rack up my successes gradually, enjoying every step of the way. Who knows, maybe I’ll start running marathons when I’m an old lady? 😉

    1. I like your point of view here, my friend. I think things like Pinterest and FB and etc. have done a disservice to many of us. I am not on those things, but that is how much I hear about it – how the “beautiful lives” play out there. But I think that enough people know that much of that is BS. There is a sacrifice, a breaking point for all that stuff. That’s the stuff that doesn’t make it to people’s pages out there.

      Keep enjoying, savouring…that’s something that I need do more of 🙂

      Thanks for the wonderful comments, as usual 🙂


  15. sobermalarky says:

    Whew the blogs are on fire tonight! This is your new best one 😉 stunningly on the money. I work in a support role for researchers/academics and am surrounded by high octane high flyers. There’s allllwayss a trade off, just as you say. I quit my own doctorate to take this job, the gremlin superego wants me to compare and compete and self flaggelate about this. For my sobriety, through my sobriety, I see the thoughts occurring and let them go. I have worked all day, come home to hide from storms, fed myself and my husband and we are warm and safe for another day. Now I’m going to make herbal tea and watch another episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. These are not guilty pleasures they’re just pleasures, damn straight.

    1. Aw, thanks! I am glad that this resonates with you. You certainly have experience with this, and have seen it in others….always that trade off, yes? Good for me to know, or to at least re-affirm.

      I love that you let the thoughts come and go. I think that is how I operate most of the time myself. Now and then I get caught up in the snare of a certain thought. No biggie – I have the tools to deal with them. But that is how we go in this awareness that is so vital to us.

      And can I say that your last line is one my faves…not a guilty pleasure, but just a pleasure. Brilliant!!

      Glad you had a groovy night with hubby…sounds lovely 🙂


  16. This is the first time I’m hearing a man wonder how Super So-and-So over there does it. My house has not been very visible under the mess since I started blogging. Something’s got to give. And we all have our own boundaries. Ps. 116: “The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me.” Our unique responsibilities – often to our own body – wlll dictate a path away from the well-worn trail of the masses.

    Love your rich posts, P.

    1. There’s a first for everything, I guess eh? Ha ha. You are absolutely right something has to give. That “give” is different for everyone. For me, I need to have the house in order, or my brain doesn’t function. A work-related thing, frankly (I am a chef, and it’s important for us to work in a clean and organized manner). But I do have my “gives” for sure.

      “Our unique responsibilities – often to our own body – wlll dictate a path away from the well-worn trail of the masses.” I love this and will cherish this line. It speaks to me on many levels. Thank you for sharing this with me and everyone here. What a blessing.

      Thank you for being here and sharing your kind and generous words as usual.


  17. Yes, yes and yes. I get it. I used to be one of those achieve everything sorta moms – queen of this, czar of that, grand poobaa of the other thing — all done while making fresh-from-scratch meals and all done so I could cover my alcoholism, boost my ego and make you think I was the most wonderful mom in the world. Then, my world crashed and I became the mom at the drive thru ordering burgers and fries for her kids because I didn’t want to sit at the dinner table with one empty chair. I became the mom who never spoke, never volunteered, never scheduled playdates, never introduced herself. I averted my eyes and ducked out the door quickly so you wouldn’t ask me where my husband was, how I spent my time, or why my son was wearing the same shirt he wore yesterday.

    Now… when I see parents out in the real world — shopping, volunteering, sitting at the drive thru at McFastFood — I see just parents trying to make it in this world, doing the best they can with what they have, and sometimes writing screenplays along the way.

    It’s all good.

    And how was my day spent? I packed lunches and got my kids to an all day activity. I wrote — for my blog and for my personal writing. I answered phone calls. I talked to recovery people. I chatted with the new beau. I went to yoga. I went to a meeting. And, now, I’m getting ready to wrap up my day and enjoy a blissful, fulfilling sleep.

    1. “Now… when I see parents out in the real world — shopping, volunteering, sitting at the drive thru at McFastFood — I see just parents trying to make it in this world, doing the best they can with what they have, and sometimes writing screenplays along the way.

      It’s all good.”

      That is fantastic – love this. Because that is what I see as well. There is no judgement when I see other parents doing things just to get through the day – whether it be drive through, etc. I have been there, and will be there again. Sometimes just getting through the day is the crowning achievement of the day!

      You sound like you live a full like, Dorothy. I know you from your writings over at your blog, and even amidst the chaos that descends from The Wizard, you are showing (and that’s important – SHOWING) your kids how to manage with grace and dignity. That is more important that the home cooked meals and all that stuff.

      Thank you for being a beacon of light.


  18. big mike says:

    So Pauly
    Have you become a supermom? Only kidding.

    I see you are enjoying your present. With the gift of sobriety and the proper balance…..all things are possible….

    Some days when nothing seemed to be going my way, I would talk to my sponsor and he would ask if I drank that day. I would say of course not. He would say I was a winner, I was batting a thousand for the day and to give myself a pat on the back. In my book, sometimes just staying sober for the day is more important than writing a screenplay.

    Kinda rhymes doesn’t it?

    So anybody that is reading this and you are sober today…….push your chair out from your computer,,,,,,get up,,,,,and do the sober gratitude happy dance…..because you deserve it.

    Lest we forget.

    1. Mike! Damn you and your down-to-earth, level headed perspective! ha ha.

      You’re a good tonic to my day, Mike. You always know what to say to bring it down to brass tacks. I was just mentioning to another person that sometimes just getting through the day is an achievment on it’s own. Just going to bed with another sober day under my belt is often the crowning glory of my day. When I do my nighttime prayers, it’s always a Thank You prayer. Gratitude stuff. And it alway starts with thanking the Creator for my sobriety. Without that Mike, it’s all nothing. I have nothing without that first and foremost.

      Thanks again for making this corner of the world a kinder, gentler place.

      (doing the happy sober dance)

  19. Liked the post.

    What is it that makes us draw comparisons of ourselves with others? Is it that need for us to always win and look better. Or is it the need for us to rationalise our own shortcomings? Either ways, by doing this, are we not displaying an uncertain self belief?


    1. Great questions, Shakti. For me it always comes down to ego and self-centeredness – either I need to be the best at everything, or I need to feel less than others and feeling self-pity. Either way, it’s all about ME. I have come to a point where I can actually be happy for others. I could never admit that for most of my life. Jealousy ruled and so did self-sabotage.

      As for uncertain self-belief, you have a point. I am where I am when I believe in being my authentic self. When I don’t feel my authentic self, I am either looking above me or below me. For either validation of being the best, or of being the worst.

      Thank you for getting me to think, Shakti.


  20. risingwoman says:

    I was up at 4:30 this morning, writing my second book. Then I got the boys up at 6:15, got my husband in to the shower. Made breakfast for the boys, made my lunch and packed it up, jumped in the shower myself, got the boys dressed. My husband cleaned up while I did hair and makeup and got myself dressed. Out the door at 7:30 – dropped off one boy at school, hubby dropped off the other one. To work – now it’s my lunch time and I’m catching up on the blogs I follow. And it’s just past noon now, so I have a whole afternoon of work in front of me, before picking up one boy at 17:30, and heading back home for dinner, bath, and bed. And I’ll do this all again tomorrow…

    This is how every Monday to Friday looks, really. Action-packed, and organised and energising. And yes, it takes energy. Good thing I have my first coffee at 5 a.m. 😉

    What I have learned (after getting envy-provoking glimpses in to the lives of my single and childless girlfriends), is to not compare my life to others’ lives. I am happy with my life as it is, and although I’d love more time to write, it is what it is. I get it all done, in the end. It just takes longer than it would if I lived alone. But if I lived alone, who would kiss me awake, and give me giggles and hugs at bedtime? Who’d tell me how much they love me, and draw pictures of me with eight fingers?

    I’ll take it all; it’s a pretty great trade-off to writing my book at a decent hour…

    1. I just got winded reading your schedule. Then again, it’s not out of the realm of what goes on in the house here with two young boys with school and after-school activities. As you said, in the end, everything gets done. Some things we have no choice but to get them done. My big takeaway from you comments is what you said about who would kiss you awake, who would give you giggles and hugs…that’s the big stuff. The important stuff. That stuff that you look fondly at when they are grown up and gone. The stuff that brings a smile to your face when everything else seems to be going pear shaped.

      You are one of my heroes, Michelle. Not only for the book writing amidst the lovely chaos, but in your unwavering devotion to both your family and your craft.

      Thanks for shining the light here for me today.

      Blessings and hugs


  21. Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon says:

    What a nice way to “Compliment” a woman Paul! Great Post. First, the pic of that guy with all that Gross stuff on his face? BOY is he going to have many “Regrets” one day…..LOL…Isn’t it interesting HOW we look at others? She sounds like a Beautiful, Strong woman in every way. The writer in her was similar to my own experience writing my first published book. I read this darn article about a woman who committed suicide in a Indian casino 40 miles north from my home.

    I felt that woman’s Pain when I read about her. It lit a fire in me to write what I had been through in life, and when I started to write, it just all came pouring out of me. Now, as I’ve been writing my next 2 books, I have to say, it is MUCH harder the 2nd and 3rd time around!
    For awhile I was thinking I’m going to be just “a one BOOK Wonder”!! I’m like you said, hard to be disciplined to care out the time to get them done. I’ll get there I’m sure. All in “God’s” time darn it, not mine….LOL….And yes, having a heart of “Giving & Gratitude” in recovery is the only way to GO! Great writing my friend!

    Hugs & Blessings your way always,
    *Catherine* Xo 🙂

  22. This piece really spoke to my soul, Pauly. At least to the raggedy shreds of it that are left. “I can hardly get a litre of milk at the store and do a load of laundry in the same day. And they are getting F-16 pilot’s licenses while taking Jane and Jeff to the orthodontist’s and making homemade mac and cheese.” I had a small tear form in the corner of my eye when I read this. So proximal to my domicile it struck.
    Of course, I blame time (it’s perfectly safe to blame your personal woes on a theoretical concept) for being more generous to others. I could blame my own lack of time management. I could blame myself for the lavish quantity of time I spend sitting on my bed, lost in thought. Or the countless hours I murder by writing things I eventually delete. Or the fact that most prison inmates are more active and productive. But I don’t want to do that.
    I prefer to blame the injustice of Life. And the injustice of Time.
    But seeing as what I “prefer” tends to land me in a world of shit, I will probably just wind up taking a look at myself. See if my priorities are in order. After all, if writing a screenplay means that much to me, I can forsake some time watching documentaries about Russian gangsters or alien abductions, and write one. If it isn’t, I shouldn’t resent the people who do manage to carve out the time.
    But I so want to.
    It’s easier.
    And saves time–time I could spend pacing the living room floor, wringing my hands over the fact that I’m not working on a screenplay even though I have a degree in writing for film and Final Draft software. You know, quality time.
    Anyway, thanks for writing this. I needed it. You pulled my covers. And I didn’t even see you grab for them.
    That’s the stage magician in you.
    Just great stuff.

  23. I am late to this party, and it astounds me that I am the first to say this… I will honestly say I have had the same thoughts about you, Paul, that you have about the screenplay-writing friend. I often think, “How does Paul find the time to reply to all the blogs, and still prolifically write on his own TWO blogs?!?!” I am in the same awe of you that you are of your friend.

    Which is to say that everything is relative. There is probably someone out there thinking something as kind about me, and someone thinking kindly of that someone, and so on.

    Everyone brings something to the table. My grandmother could not clean her house to save her life, but she was the best hostess I knew. I have a friend who has a house straight out of the pages of Pottery Barn, but it is quite intimidating to enter the house. I could give a thousand more analogies, but you get the picture.

    This was a really wonderful read, and a powerful reminder for me compare self to self, rather than self to others!

    1. Never too late, Josie! You arrive just when you are needed to be here 🙂

      And if it makes you feel any better, I killed the second blog (you can remove it from your blogroll at miracle…lol) It wasn’t what I was looking for. I felt it wasn’t speaking to where I needed to speak from. So it did teach me something – that I shouldn’t force something that needn’t be forced! It’s all good. I will come up with something else (and not make a spectacle about it next time…ha ha). But that does free up some time and mental energy!

      I like the examples you give – we all bring something different. As mentioned, I know people who do everything under the sun, but their houses could be rendered as disaster areas 🙂 And that’s all good…we all have our thresholds and our limits. We all have the things that we attend to and not attend to do do the things we feel are important.

      Comparing self to self…Josie, this is one of the hardest things I will probably do on this planet…but it’s worth it 🙂

      Thanks for being here


  24. lucy2610 says:

    I’m late to the party too but I agree with everything that themiracleisaroundthecorner said. I am in awe of you so it’s all relative 😉

    1. Thank you Lucy – always a party when you get here 🙂


  25. Glenn says:

    Comparison is the thief of joy, is in not Paul? I get caught up in judging how poorly I have managed my greatest resource, time, in relation to the time management employed by people who I not only admire but of whom I am in awe. That, as it turns out, is a shizzy neighborhood for my head to be living in and I am continually looking to move on up to the east side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky. Thank you G. Jefferson.

    The point in this article when you turn the glasses around and take a look at yourself meant the world to me. Identifying your strengths, being aware of all that is good about you and not stewing in the stinky pot of unreasonable expectations is an difficult exercise but beautiful to see you undertake. Goodness knows that I, that a good many of us, could stand to do the same.

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