Last Refuge Of The Unimaginative*


My children are the future.  And buffers against cars rear-ending me.  Yes, children are both.
Children are our future. And buffers against cars rear-ending us. Yes, children can be both.

Two things occurred to me as I dropped my kids off at school the other day. Two small, seemingly inconsequential things.  Blink of an eye type stuff.

The first was hitting upon a quote that I found while scrolling down on my Twitter feed.  It was something about committing to a daily writing routine.  I get lots of writerly quotes in my timeline.  This was one I had probably read several times before.  Yeah, I get it – find a time to write and just do it.  Gotcha.

The other thing that happened was when I was done dropping off the boys -I saw one of the mothers in her running gear, about to embark on a run.

That’s it.  Dull as dishwasher water stuff.  No fireworks there.  Duds.

But then it hit me – both these things were very well connected, and came to remind me of something bigger. You see, I had spoken to that mother a few months ago, when I was really starting to get into my running.  I noticed that she was often dressed in her outfit ready to head out, so I figured she knew a little something about the running game.  And she shared her story with me one day – she initially took up running to lose the weight from her pregnancy, and then just fell into it for good.  She runs 5K every day, except for Saturday, which is 20K.  So she clocks 50K a week. Every week.  Every. Single. Week.  Rain or shine, meteors or zombies, Spanish Flu or Godzilla attacks.  Every week she cranks out those kilometers, like a boss.  A champ.

What? No skyscrapers or cool bridges to destroy?? This is so ghetto.  I'm going to Dallas-Fort Worth.
What? No skyscrapers or cool bridges to destroy?? This is so ghetto. I’m going to Dallas-Fort Worth.

And as for the writing quote – well, yeah, I have heard that nugget of advice doled out by countless authors. Lately I have come to see that I am not a daily writer.  I should be.  My excuses spill out of me like diesel from a pump – I’m too busy, my work schedule is a mess, the kids always need attention, I have so much to do around the house, etc.  But hey, I certainly find time to play around on the interweb and watch bad 80’s music videos (which is a special good type of bad, if you catch my synth-laden, hand-clapping, hair-crimping drift).

So where is all this leading up to?

One word: consistency.

Consistency was never my forté.  Except for drinking and not being consistent.  I was consistent in those things.  Being an active alcoholic and inconsistency go hand in hand.  I was inconsistent in my lies, my truths, my work habits, my appointment making, my finances, my parenting, my hygiene, my moods, my temperament, my sleep, my eating habits, my judgement and many other things.  I had nothing even and level other than my need for alcohol.  My selfishness.  My need to be right all the time.  Inconsistency is part of an alcoholic’s life.  We cannot expect to lie, cheat, steal, drink, get drunk and live a life that is even-keeled and routine.  Our routine was lack of routine, for many of us.

(I understand that for those who functioned perhaps a little bit better than most while still drinking, may argue this point – that you were always on time for work, that you were where you said you would be, showered regularly, etc.  I put it to you that deep inside, there were many inconsistent thoughts and feeling tugging away at one another.  I put it to you that at some point, that shiny “functioning” veneer eventually would have broken down and the slide downward would have grown grimmer.)

What is the colour for "Morrissey - depressed"?
What is the colour for “Morrissey – depressed”?

When I was at treatment, they had us on a daily routine.  We had to wake up by a certain time.  Shave.  Shower.  Make the bed.  Fold your clothes.  Order breakfast.  Set the table.  Eat.  Do chores.  Read.  Go to class. And so on.  Every single day.  It was their way or the highway.  What this did was two-fold – to instill a sense of routine and consistency in our lives, where there was only chaos.  And to give us a sense of self-care and self-love.  That was it.  For many, bathing and vacuuming was something rarely seen.  Having to shave meant looking at yourself in the mirror, and for many of us, we shunned looking at ourselves because it reminded us about how much of a piece of crap we were.

And that’s how others experienced us as well – unsure, unknowing, grasping onto the hope that we would start to turn things around and become some sort of normal.  You know, there are some folks at my work who struggle to get into work at their scheduled time.  The reasons are varied – sick family, missed the bus, not feeling well, forgot to check their shift, etc.  These folks are the ones I think about when I go into work.  Will they show up?  And if so, what time?  Should I be making alternate plans?  Do I need to talk to them – again?  And this is just one tiny thing.  I can’t imagine what the spouses and loved ones of us knuckleheads who were in full blooming alcoholism went through.  I am sure my wife would wonder if I got fired that day, or if our son was fed, or would I turn up at that birthday party as promised (again).  Or if I was dead. Having that inconsistency in their alcoholic loved one’s life led to major inconsistency in theirs. We turned their lives upside down.

And we say that we’re not hurting anyone else but ourselves when we drink.  Really?

So coming into this new found sobriety, I found myself getting consistent, and finding myself with capital gains from all that investing of time and effort.  I hit meetings, I started doing the work, I went to after care, I went to therapy, I did readings and meditations – all regularly.  Huh?  For a slug like me who only drank regularly (shall we define “regularly” when it comes to alcoholic drinking? ha ha), having this scheduled self-love and self-respect was way out of line.  You might as well have asked me to speak Korean and fly backwards.  But then again, I didn’t want to drink and die, so I would have done whatever it took.  And I did.

Who knew that even putting on a few pounds would give me the self-confidence and glow that the fellas like.  Beach, here I come! Hubba hubba.

Consistency in my recovery and doing what was needed gave me a shot of self-esteem.  It gave me hope.  It gave me the outlook of someone who was on the mend, not going around the bend.  It charted a new course of contentment and steered me away from the craggy shores of self-loathing, laziness and settling for second best.  It brought me value in putting in the effort and reaping the rewards of it.  It reminded me of how I used to practice my band instrument in high school – day in, day out.  I dedicated myself to it.  I did it when I didn’t feel like doing it.  And it brought me to a place where I felt good about myself, about my performance, about my place on this dirt road life.

Consistency in my day-to-day life now is a blessing.  My wife knows that when I say I am going to be somewhere, I am going to be there…at the time I said I would be.  I am consistent in my feelings and attitude. I am not pulling an emotional “Where’s Waldo?” like I used to. I am consistent in being present.  I am consistent in getting to work on time, in performing to and above expectations. I am consistent in being aware of others and respecting them.  I am probably consistent enough to be borderline dull.  But I’ll take that any day over the wreckage of ol’ Hurricane Paul.

If you’re a parent, you’ll know that all parenting books preach a few vital keys in how we raise our children.  And one of those things is, you guessed it, consistency.  Being uniform and constant in our dealings with the wee ones gives them a soft place to land.  It gives them direction and order.  It gives them a safe space, and knowing that we will follow through with what we say – whether it be reward or discipline. And those are the things I never really offered in any way, to anyone.   Not even myself.

My training seems to be going well, don't you think?
Speaking of a soft place to land…this kid’s gonna be a champ, I tell ya.  A champ.

There was a blogger (I can’t remember who – my apologies) who talked about parenting ourselves (was it Karen? Kristen? Anyone else that starts with the letter K? Oh wait, I think it was Amy.  I’ll figure this out.)  And that comes to mind now as I think about how being undeviating and steady in my own life allows my wounded self to find that safe place.  It allows me to foster a light of gentleness to myself and consideration for growth.

The great thing about being consistent is that it also helps me overcome my fear of commitment.  Now that’s a topic for an entire post (or book!), but suffice to say committing wasn’t something I was fond of (unless committing a crime, or committing to another drunken Charlie Sheen kind of day). My fears of committing to any sort of routine fed my self-loathing.  Who was I to commit to something that would improve my life, or my feeling of self-worth?  What if I failed spectacularly? Tell Dr. Phil to cram it with walnuts too, while you’re at it.

So being consistent also means I am putting a healthy sense of being into my being and doing.  I am taking action.  I am telling myself and others that I am going to do as I do, not as I say I do.  There’s a cosmic payoff in this.  A jackpot that springs forth shiny coins from within.  Being part of a community, being accountable, being responsible, being presentable…all these things to a productive, serene and comfortable Paul.  Not a Neurotic Ned with jars of urine underneath the bed and a weathered copy of “How to Build the Perfect Atomic Bomb Shelter in 30 Days”.

Wow, looks like nothing but fun and games in there.  I'll take the blast, please.
Wow, looks like nothing but fun and games in there. I’ll take the blast outside, please. Maybe even the toxic zombies.

For others, my consistency means they know what they’re getting with me.  I have boundaries, I have an even temperament (for the most part!), I have an active sense of empathy and humour, I am approachable and I am dependable (for the most part!).  They don’t feel they are juggling vials of nitroglycerin, TNT and tiki torches.  It’s like going to Starbucks or McDonald’s- you know what you’re coming for and you know what it’s going to be like.  Always the same.  And that’s what I try to aim for.  Without boring the bejesus out of you.

I am always consistent?  Hells nah.  No way.  I am inconsistent with a lot of things still – my meeting attendance, some of my step work, my meditation, my punctuality, my emotional engagement with others, my eating habits, my writing…and then some.  But it’s a Goliath’s (or maybe David’s?) stone’s toss better than I was before, where I was rightly filed under “Impressively Destructive Hot Mess – Male”.

These days, you’ll find me filed under “Work in Progress”.  Hopefully I’ll stay consistent in that.



* The post title comes from an Oscar Wilde quote.  Wilde, quite cheekily, was poking fun at those who would rather declare themselves “imaginative” rather than putting forth the effort of being consistent.


53 Comments Add yours

  1. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Consistency is a huge issue for me right now and you are right, there is a definite tie to that and recovery/relapse. Perfect timing as always, my friend.

    1. Hi Sheena – so glad this resonated with you. I would be lying to think that those who don’t suffer from an addiction / mental health issue doesn’t also have issues with consistency, but for those of us that do…I think it’s strikes a different chord with us, as many other things do.

      I am very glad to have you here. You bring a wonderful energy to this little corner of the world.

  2. Lauren says:

    Yup…love this. My treatment was similar in that in made me want to emotionally vomit the excessive consistency. Seriously, it was just as traumatizing as stopping the drink and drugs. I loathed every second. Of course, I could see the meaning behind it but didn’t enjoy it…one teensy bit. It makes me think of where I try to overdo my consistency so as to make up for other areas where I am lacking it. Like, I am never late for anything…ever. Like never ever! I try to arrive early. I think that is to deter people from the fact that I can’t figure out how to organize a single corner in my house. My spacial skills are pathetic. I am, however, a very excellent time organizer. I pride myself in making sure my whole family gets everywhere they need to be ON TIME. Again…you have made me realize my rogue wave patterns elsewhere. Hmmmm…my over thinking brain is going to be all over this.
    Also, I would like to let you know I will now be referring to myself as and “emotional Where’s Waldo” because that is pretty hysterical! I also need to point out that I, too, am consistent enough to be borderline dull. I seriously can’t stop laughing at that and will be quoting you on my facebook page because I feel like people around me will be afraid to “like” it but will be secretly thinking “holy crap, that is totally true about her.” I guess the good thing is that I’m oddly comfortable with it and chuckling at myself! Thanks for the insight…and laughs.

    1. Lauren! Yay – so happy to see you again here! You have been missed 🙂

      That’s another story of mine – I told myself and others that I was ALWAYS early and on time at the very worst. Now, at work, I am. It’s different. But in all other aspects of my life – not so much. Even my wife was telling me yesterday that I tend to lollygag when we are heading out somewhere. I do. I don’t prepare as quickly as I think I do. But it works out because it takes her forever to say bye to people and we always leave late 🙂 So I can identify with what you say about being on time to things!

      yeah – the borderline dull thing. I mean, I do take a bit of self-deprecating humour to myself. And there is some truth to it, but I would rather be a bit dull than rip-roaring drunk and causing unnecessary drama. And like you, I am okay with that. Comfortable with the moniker.

      Glad you’re doing well, my friend, spacially inept or not. We all have our things, don’t we…lol.


  3. You know you actually are consistent in your writing. Your just most generous in it than most of us. You write countless encouraging comments on other people’s blogs. That counts. Really, that counts more.

    The paragraph that begins, “I’m sure my wife would wonder…” That hurts. Whenever I read something like that I feel a wrenching, sickening pain at the bottom of my chest.

    1. Eric – I am thinking of you, hoping that you are having a safe flight home. Anyway, thanks for the kind words, mate. I am glad to be of service – and as you know, that helps me just as much as it may help others. Reading your blog and the others helps me in such ways that I can’t explain. I get an energy and that pushes me, even when I am not centered.

      I am sorry that the wife parts hurt. I know a guy at a meeting who would leave the room whenever we would read the chapter “To Wives”. It was hard for him still to deal with and remember how his wife suffered. My wife still has echoes from the past. she has been hurt by me, no doubt, and yet she is still here. My best advocate and ally. That’s a keeper, no doubt. Time does heal – time and actions. It does time time for trust to come back. But it does.

      Safe journey


  4. jrj1701 says:

    Not consistent in your writing??? Wut??? Before you took your little break you consistently put out a good post, weekly. After your break you have been right back at it consistently. Remember BALANCE, don’t think that because ya ain’t pumping out a novel a week that you are slacking off. You are doing better than other folks who shall remain nameless (hint: the name begins with a j and ends in a 1).

    1. You’re right – as usual, JR. I tend to be a hard on myself. I was the same with my recovery – if I wasn’t herding 12 sponsees, reading 23 chapters of recovery daily, praying until my hair fell out, etc. then I didn’t think I was working the program, or improving my recovery. Stepping back and taking in the big picture – balance, as you say – that’s the key. I just have to take my own advice sometimes (we suck at that, don’t we?) and be gentle to myself.

      I hope you’re doing well, my friend. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy you and your energy and you being here. You are a true friend.


  5. You must be a mind reader! Was just thinking today, making my lists and lamenting to my husband about not being able to get any kind of regular, consistent work/run/write/garden schedule going. I NEED a schedule or I flounder like a fish and wallow in unproductivity. What you reminded me about was the need to be self-compassionate (we talked earlier about this, didn’t we?), meditation and empathy. You said so many valuable things, but your last paragraph was my favorite:

    “I am always consistent? Hells nah. No way. I am inconsistent with a lot of things still – my meeting attendance, some of my step work, my meditation, my punctuality, my emotional engagement with others, my eating habits, my writing…and then some. But it’s a Goliath’s (or maybe David’s?) stone’s toss better than I was before, where I was rightly filed under “Impressively Destructive Hot Mess – Male”.

    These days, you’ll find me filed under “Work in Progress”. Hopefully I’ll stay consistent in that. ”

    None of us are perfect, but it’s a comfort to find the folks making a gallant effort.
    As always, love your insight Paul.

    1. Thank you, Michelle. You always have the kindest things to say, and with such compassion and gentleness. I need a schedule too, and yet, when I have one, I pout thinking that I don’t have free time – time that I sometimes fritter away…ha ha. Insane thinking, isn’t it?

      I was saying in another comment that one need not have addiction or addictive qualities to merit having these problems of consistency. Look at people lamenting not going to the gym on a regular basis. or those who pick up a sport or hobby and go gangbusters at first and then have it fall to the wayside. I think it’s just a human thing.

      And yes, we’re not perfect…but putting in the effort. Well, I’m down with that. As I am with you being here and making this place a much cooler one.


      1. Right there with you! Another pitfall of a schedule? When you don’t/can’t keep everything that’s written on in it. In fact, you’ve probably already discovered the perils of a written running schedule. I used to feel GUILTY when I would drop a mile or 400 yards or, heaven forbid, WALK! I knew it was a problem when I started to stress about a stress relieving hobby!
        Speaking of running…hope you had a great training run yesterday and looking forward to hearing about your race!!
        As always, thank you for your gracious and thoughtful reply:-)

        1. Thanks Michelle – I had a groovy run. A new route (I always take a new route), and got a bit lost, but in the end it was about 20K. I ended up taking the subway at the end, because I was tight for time. Talk about feeling guilty! But I was slowing down by then anyway. 20K is my body’s limit. I am hoping to get past that sooner than later. Just need to train differently, which means…a schedule. sigh. ha ha.

          Hope you have a wonderful weekend, my friend 🙂

  6. nowine4me says:

    Hi Paul, I hope you are doing well!!! It is so nice to read a post from you!! I just have to say that I have missed your wonderful comments. Thank you for doing what you do!!! I started a new blog, Finding Bliss. I’m trying to shift to a positive, happiness seeking focus.

    Sending you tons of well wishes!! – Heather 🙂

    1. Heather!! I am so excited for you! I tried to find your blog – what is the URL for it? I look forward to reading it. I am all for positivity and happiness.

      Well wishes back to you and can’t wait to mosey on over there 🙂


  7. mishedup says:

    really good paul….
    thanks for this.
    i prefer consistency too, all the while hoping my imagination hasn’t disappeared.
    willing to risk boredom, eh? braveheart!

    1. Thank you, M.
      I am looking forward to having you back posting (I say that out of pure selfishness, to be honest!). But until then, chillax. Do your thing. Imaginations never go away…they sometimes hibernate for a bit. Mine does. in that regard, I do have to cut myself some slack. Even a masochist like me needs to be gentle to myself now and then…ha ha.

      And yeah, boredom…bring it on 🙂

      Blessings and hugs,


  8. mike says:

    Hey Paul

    Writing is like being an active alcoholic. Its not that you wanna write, You HAVE to write. All the great authors (like me) write for themselves. Others however may edit for someone else.

    Running 50k a week? Not unless you are delivering a note for pharaoh or got an orthopedist in the family, There is consistency and there is anal retention. You dont seem like the puckered up type to me. If you want real exercise, do 45 minutes with your lady love at least once a day. She’ll thank you. Your knees will thank you and nothing compares to being rocketed to the 4th dimension of love with the woman of your dreams.

    Consistency somehow reminds me of of one of my greatest all time friends that helped me get sober. I ran into him at a meeting a couple of years ago. He was bumming cigs and pocket change. I hadn’t seen him in years. We got to talking and reminiscing. He hadn’t been sober in 28 years and had spent some 18years of it in and out of prison. Thats consistency. He told me that the 2 1/2 years he was sober was the happiest time in all his life. Life on life’s terms can be a bitch, even in sobriety. No guarantees Pauly. But for the grace of God, its one day at a time. We are the lucky one day at a timers. The fact that we (can) go from being the dog shit of the earth to living life on life’s terms makes me grateful as all fuck. Even if it is only for today.

    1. You made me laugh with the lady love stuff. Cardio is cardio, right? ha ha. And the pharaoh line got me too. You make good copy, as they say.

      As for your friend – you’re right. Consistency is not always attributed to positive stuff. Good point. I was consistently at odds with the Creator’s will for me, and things went to shit quite right and proper when I went the self-will run riot way. I should have added that to my consistency list. I hope that your friend there has found recovery again. Sounds like it’s been rough for him.

      And in therms of life on life’s terms…hell ya, it’s rough doing it sober sometimes. that’s why we drank in the first place! Better to run and hide in the bottle than [gulp!] deal with stuff as it came up. What horror! But like you said so wisely – we have come so far and it brings a level of gratitude that only people in our position can have, Mikey. I don’t forget for one moment that I am one of the luckiest, blessed and grace-given folks around. Most of us don’t make it. We’re a small percentage. We’re in the minority. We get the chance to live this life over – a cosmic mulligan as my friend Marius would say.

      Blessings to you, kind sir. You are a special lad.


  9. BRAVO! Standing ovation. Paul, this was the best post you’ve written to date, IMO.

    I got tickled when I read this:

    “It reminded me of how I used to practice my band instrument in high school – day in, day out.”

    Oh how I hated practicing scales. Talk about boring. 😉 I played the clarinet from 6th through 12th grade. But you are right — the more I practiced — the more consistent I was at practicing and the better I got at playing the clarinet — which moved me up to 1st Chair status.

    This is a 1st Chair post. Paul, you Rock!

    1. Oh Victoria – so glad to see you! I printed up and read your second last post – still need to comment. You are one writer, I have to say. Very thorough and thought provoking. Thank you for what you do.

      You played the clarinet? I played the flute. We would have probably sat beside each other in the front row there 🙂 We probably would have gotten in trouble for yapping so much to one another.

      Thank you for the kind words…you are very generous with your spirit. I am glad it resonated with you. I don’t always know if it will. sometimes feels a bit self-indulgent…but then again, we ARE bloggers…ha ha.

      Thanks for rockin’ it out here.


      1. Paul, thank you so much for your encouraging words. I have to tell you that I’ve been thinking about your post all day. I just think it is such a powerful message. One that deserves to be Freshly Pressed. One that deserves to get world-wide exposure. I hope it does.

        Oh, and no doubt we would have been yapping our chops on that first row. 😈

        1. that’s very kind of you to say 🙂

          1. I speaketh the truth. 😉

  10. cando055 says:

    This is so helpful! Especially the relationship between consistency and fear of commitment. I’ll explore these issues for myself a little more. Beautifully written.

    1. Thanks for being here – and welcome to the blogosphere! I was just on your site and left you a comment. I am so glad you are here. And thanks for the kind words. Feel free to check out all the other awesome bloggers out here – I have a list up near the top, on the right hand side. Click away and find the folks that speak to you the most.


    1. Thank you very much 🙂

  11. fern says:

    My dear friend-in-blogging, Paul,

    You’ve come so far that from here on out it’s time to enjoy the ride. Being consistently sober is enough! Never mind running to the ends of the earth or writing on a daily basis.

    You are perfect as you are right now and only getting better.

    Peace and serenity,


    1. Short and sweet and hitting the nail on the head, Fern. Sounds like something I would have said to you on your blog…ha ha (except for the “short” part. I do like to prattle on). So thanks for giving that back.

      I needed to hear this, is all I can say.

      So thank you.


      1. fern says:

        You’re lovingly welcome! Hugs back 🙂

  12. Laurie G.F. says:

    The only thing consistent in my life is inconsistency! And this gives rise to another of those fears which have been haunting me lately. In leaving work to go back to school, I am going to have to buckle down in a lot of the areas that I’ve been letting fly a little too loose lately, especially when it comes to finances. And Dave Ramsey can tell you, the first thing you need to get your finances in order is consistency in life. So, yeah, there’s that. :p As far as emotional and spiritual consistency – I’m doing pretty well. My little inner addict loves to act out in so many other areas of my life, though, that have put me off track in more areas than I care to admit. Thank you for the reminder that consistency is about taking care of ourselves and providing us security through routine. Very nice post. Now let’s try applying it to my life… :/

    1. Oy vey – it’s easy to unearth things and be aware of things, but not so easy to apply them. I can sound all wise and lovely, but if I am just pointing to the dog poop on the back deck without cleaning it up, well, then there’s not much I can say when I step on it on the way out (been there, done that!) I write these post pointing out my character defects and such, and it’s only when I can apply them do I gain much. Sure we share with one another about our internal dialogues, etc. but I guess I’m at a point where I don’t want to be giving lip service to the program. But it’s all about that darned progress and not perfection 🙂

      Thanks again for all that you bring to this place…I am richer for your words.


      1. Laurie G.F. says:

        Well, even if we don’t yet have the balls to pick up that axe & hammer away at those defects, the public acknowledgement is a manner of praying for the willingness to be willing. Often when I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels, I’m really preparing for a huge growth spurt. And sometimes we just have to step in that dog shit a few more times before we finally get sick of it enough to bend down & pick it up. 😉

        1. Touche. You see, this is why I need folks like you in my life – those who have been on this path longer than I have who can point things out that I would have missed. My sponsor once told me that spiritual breakthroughs are usually preceded by resistance. Sounds like you’re both on the same page 🙂

          Thanks again for showing the way!

  13. byebyebeer says:

    I remember when you commented on a post I wrote about meditation and how I was struggling with traditional practice. You gently suggested other things can be meditative, such as running or writing. Likewise, I struggle with consistency, and my answer has been flexibility. I do write daily in one form or another, but lately it’s been journaling. I run consistently, but not daily because rest days are just as important to me. This all ebbs and flows, but I feel consistent recovery. We are consistently sober, which is key. Thanks for this post. It has stayed on my mind and really got me thinking.

    1. Flexibility – well, I’ll take that any time, Kristen. I like that. I like that we need not be constricted or rigid. And for me, I need that lesson and outlook. Writing can certainly be blogging, journaling, stream of consciousness, etc. That makes complete and utter sense to me and didn’t really look at it that way 🙂

      As for the running – can’t run daily either. I too need that rest period. Not sure how that woman does it day in day out.

      Consistently sober – now THAT I can live with 🙂

      Thanks – I will have the word “flexibility” in my mind for a while now 🙂

  14. One thing I learned in my recovery is how ununique I am. All the weaknesses and lack of disciplines I thought were all mine? Seems as though a lot of drunks and even normal people have them. So do writers.

    In her book, “bird by bird”, Anne Lamott writes, “People tend to look at successful writers, writers who are getting their books published, and maybe even doing well financially, and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her.

    Obviously, I spend more time reading books about writing than I do writing. lol I do one thing routinely almost every day though. In the book the Artists Way, the author says to get up every morning and write three pages of random thoughts. Pen to paper, no thinking just random thought. I have gotten about 800 pages of a what I think is a pretty good story this way. The hard part is putting it down in an orderly manner and finding that fine line between putting down too much and editing too much.

    Happy writing Friend! Glue to the seat of our pants is what they say we need.

    1. You just mentioned probably my favourite book about writing (I think my second favourite one is Stephen King’s “On Writing”). So thank you for that. I love Lamott’s humour and spirituality in her books. And yeah, she can write. And inspire to write.

      I applaud you for doing the daily writing thing. That’s amazing! We tend to talk the game, but don’t always do it (well, I am going to speak for myself strictly on that one!). I think we all have to find that line between writing too much and editing too much. Each can come with its own pitfalls, but in balance, we can find that level point. I actually like editing. Makes me feel in control…ha ha. And we know how that works out for an alcoholic…ha ha.

      Ass-to-seat indeed, my friend!!

      Thanks for being here – love seeing you around 🙂


  15. Art Mowle says:

    I’ve always been interested. However, I find myself reading more blogs today than ever and I’m getting mad at my disease again. I’m hoping it’s an inspiration from God, to do something about it. Starting now, I will research and write and do what ever I can, to educate parents as well as children about addiction.

    I’m retired, on disability and have nothing but time. People like you, inspire me to move forward and not be comfortable in my sobriety.

    Thank you Paul


    1. Hi Art and thank you for stopping by here! I have enjoyed what you have been writing about on your blog, so thank you for your service – shows us new guys how it’s done 🙂

      I often need a kick in the butt regarding recovery too. And I get that from the bloggers around me here as well. It’s a nice addition to the guys I get to meet face-to-face.

      Lots of wonderful folks out here in the blogosphere, as you know, and I am just very happy to have crossed paths with you.


  16. uncle Goke says:

    Reblogged this on Uncle Goke's Blog and commented:
    We’ve all been guilty of being inconsistent in doing the needful at one time or the other.What’s important is to realise our inconsistences and strive become consistent in doing the needful in order to attain our maximum potentials.

      1. uncle Goke says:

        You’re welcome

  17. stacilys says:

    Heyyyyy Paul. I see you have your humor (especially in the pics) on full blast in this one. You are such a funny guy. I really appreciate your humor, and the depth of your writing.
    That said, let me comment on this one. I SO NEED ROUTINE! Did I get my point across (hehehe). If I don’t have routine, I lose control. My diet goes out the window, I don’t know what to do. Really. It’s awful. I strive on routine. And when I don’t have it, I get anxious, upset, frazzled, and try to do a whole bunch of stuff, other than maybe what I should be doing.

    I have something to say about the ‘skinny’ pic. Isn’t it funny how the times change and cultural expectations of beauty. This woman is skinny, I think. But she didn’t want to be skinny. She wanted meat on her bones and the men liked that. Hmmmmm… What the heck happened?

    Blessings Paul.

    1. Gahhh! I missed this. I have this thing for making sure I get to all comments, and I hate when I miss one. Glad I got this now…so sorry!

      Thanks for the lovely words – as per usual. You are a generous spirit, Staci. Why does Brazil need you all the way there? Oh yeah, because they did something great to have you. Oh, and that lovely family of yours. Ok, I get it. At least we have part of your citizenship 🙂

      I get it with the routine. As I said, sometimes I crave it, sometimes I reject it. i just know that I do much better with it, as much as I hate to admit it. Why hate to admit it? We are taught that routine is for squares. Unimaginative folks. But I do enjoy a routine, even if I resent it in some quiet manner. Strange, eh? i think we are all like that. Adds meat to the day, yes? Like that girl’s figure? Strange how our ideals change over time…well, that’s another post for another blog…I am very much out of my league there…ha ha


      1. stacilys says:

        Ohhhhhhh Paul, you make me feel so special. Thank you for such kind words.
        Yes, I need brazil’s sun for the serotonin chemical reactions in my brain. Boy do I ever need them. For example, it’s started to get a little chillier here and cloudy. My attitudes and humor have been awful because of it. I am sooooo affected by drastic climate changes. Plus, my family is definitely a huge pull 🙂
        Hahahahaha, yes, meat on the bones. Like the girl? Doesn’t look like she has that much meat though. 🙂 But she looks like she’s healthy.
        I actually just wrote a Haiku poem about routine and the need for order and reasons for that and all. It’s going to be in a guest post of a blogger friend’s blog soon.
        Thanks again Paul. You Rock!
        Hugs and blessings 🙂

  18. How did I miss this post? Oh yeah, not consistently getting my alone time to read blogs lately, which is vital to my self care. It wasn’t me who talked about parenting ourselves but I could use consistency in that too! I struggle with healthy consistency versus inflexible routine making. Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell the difference!

    1. Funny – I was just posting a response to someone above lamenting missing their comment and you were doing the same for missing the post. difference is that I should be tidying up the loose ends on my property. You aren’t required to visit every time I vomit on the keyboard…ha ha. (Sorry for the visual).

      I love what you say about reading blogs being a part of self care. THAT’S what I am missing in figuring out why I do this and why it’s important to me. Self care. You nailed it. Thank you for that. Gold star points on that alone for me.

      I am with you on the healthy consistency vs rigid routine task making. Does it get boring at some point? It must, must it not? is that when we change? or it all about that stick-it-to-it-ness that is all the rage? Good questions. I guess we’ll figure out our answers in our own ways…

      Until then…thank you once again for your wonderful comments.


  19. Fantastic stuff, as per usual my friend. Coincidentally (or not, if you’re the sort who doesn’t believe in coincidence), I just wrote out a list of things I would like to do every day. I do most of them every day, but I find that sometimes they just slip my mind. I wrote them on the bottom of my little whiteboard in my kitchen. The top has my gratitude list on it. Hopefully this will help with my consistency 🙂

    You mention boredom and predictability as sort-of synonymous with consistency, or close relatives anyway. I used to feel that way too. I would whine and say that the only way to really grow was to be uncomfortable, and how could you be uncomfortable if you lived in routine. Keep in mind this was when I partied every weekend. I think you’re right: aversion to consistency is leftover from boozing.

    On an unrelated note, crimped hair is not just an ’80s phenomenon. I rocked that all the way up to 2010 I think, until my crimper (from the ’80s) finally died. Love that look! And next time you’re watching a synthed-out ’80s youtube video, tweet it at me. I could use the distraction 😉

    1. I DO believe in coincidences!! I am still working on this thing of organizing, and it’s getting better. I bought a tablet (I am so behind on these things) and I am hoping to use it as a back up reminder thingy (technical terms). I love that white board gratitude list idea 🙂

      As for the hair synth videos..don’t tempt me!!

      Thanks for being here, my friend 🙂

  20. You are certainly whistling my tune in this post, Paul! I remember, in early sobriety, when I realized I had gotten in the habit of changing my sheets on the same day each week (instead of thinking, hmmm, when was the last time I changed the sheets?), and I was as proud of myself as if I had just received a degree.

    For changing sheets on a regular basis. Geez.

    But there are many who will understand my pride in this, and in coming down the stairs each morning and taking my vitamins, every single day. Or in arranging the kids breakfast dishes the night before. Consistency brings me such joy these days, and who would have thunk it!

    Thanks for reminding me of something else to be grateful for this fine evening, Paul?

    And, ps… isn’t your soberversary coming up? And the half marathon? If I haven’t missed it… GOOD LUCK! Can’t wait to read about it!

    1. Oh i get it, Josie! I am not even consistent in my vitamin taking! I had to throw an expired bottle out the other day, because I had stopped taking them – once again not being consistent on something. So I understand your pride (the good kind – is there a good kind? lol) But hey, doing the training for the running was good practice, as I am now going to need it as I get deeper into training.

      Thanks for remember my soberversary! You’re a true friend 🙂

      Blessings and hugs – so nice to see you here and there 🙂


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