The Walk

My routine has changed.

Tree limbs falling through car roofs will do that to a man (See “Murphy’s Law”). Miranda leaves at 7 a.m. for work. Everett’s pre-school doesn’t start until 7:30.

So we take the walk.


Always eventful, the half-mile walk to drop Everett off each morning is a mixture of humor and frustration. Some days he agrees to race me. Other days, he stands in the crosswalk and asks to play the “go the wrong way game.”

I try to explain that while that game sounds fun, daddy has to go to work.

“But I want to go this way!”

We stand and argue at the intersection of a child’s imagination and a father’s responsibility.

My favorite commuting game is when he pretends to be daddy. It involves a lot of hand-on-hip placements, I-told-you-so finger points, and lowered-octave commands.

Chaotic mornings have become routine. So has fixing one thing after another.





In this process, I was reminded how important routines are. My first sober routine was making my bed in rehab. Sobering up, I was disgruntled, stubborn and willful. I refused to make my bed the first morning for the simple reason that someone told me to.

“You can’t go to breakfast then,” said my counsellor.

“I don’t care,” I said as I marched to the living area and sat down with an acoustic guitar.

I started playing the chords to Bob Dylan’s Black Diamond Bay as loud as I could. My counsellor re-visited me after 5 minutes with renewed strength to break my will.

“Go and eat Mark.”

Amazing how—only 24 hours from a psychotic break—my will remained strong.

“No.” I stared at him as I played.

He ripped the guitar from my hands and said, “Get your ass to breakfast. Eat something.”

I thank God for the tough love I received in early recovery.

I started making my bed every morning after that. My counsellor added a prayer to my routine. (See “Prayer”) From my knees, I clasped my hands over neatly tucked sheets daily.

I began—both physically and spiritually—to feel good about starting my day. I established a routine.


I am a creature of habit. My habits used to bring out the creature in me.

My drug habit reduced me to an automaton of craving, a predator who preyed on my own morale.  

Today, my habits revolve around accountability. I haven’t missed a football practice in 8 years of coaching. I am responsible to show up for the team. I need that accountability in my life. It anchors me in purpose and fills my life with meaning.

Routines change. And my habits are constantly re-creating who I am. A daily routine of prayer, service, and accountability creates a better version of the man I will be tomorrow.

As long as the first priority in my life is other people, my routines are the engine on the road to a happy destiny.

15 Responses to “The Walk

  • keep up the good work my friend and stay blessed!!

  • It’s called walking the walk and talking the talk, good job.

  • Sounds all too familiar – willful and stubborn. It is amazing how things can shift toward the positive once we take those steps forward.

  • When my daughter was little, there was a part of me that was annoyed with her stubbornness and a part of me that was proud of the emerging strong spirit that was growing within her.

    Good post Mark. I think routine is good for all of us! <3
    Diana xo

  • Working with adults who have different abilities (most say “disabilities”) drives the routine piece home. Without a strong routine at my job, my days can include client meltdowns, and NOBODY wants that.
    It seems to me that the Creator likes order, and routine falls in line with that. Just a bit more of Step 3.
    Great post, as always. P. S. I resented being told to make my bed, too.

  • “We stand and argue at the intersection of a child’s imagination and a father’s responsibility.”

    I really love this line Mark. Yes, having that mindset of doing things for others is a good one… Cheers mate!

    • Thanks Soberman! I liked your line “If i go back to drinking then who am I?” That gets to the heart of the matter right there. Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Found your page on FB too! Stay in touch!

      • Thanks Mark – I’m often at that “intersection” myself. I never had to battle much with my eldest. But Miss 3 is a different story. A total firecracker she is! And she usually wins… Yes I saw you have liked the FB page. You are one of the five! There really is so much I can learn about social media. Mā te Wā (catch you later).

  • Keep up the good walk! Addict2016

  • Excellent post, Mark. At the risk of being overly banal (as if my “excellent post” isn’t vapid enough), I’ll say that the phrase you’ve coined about your creaturehood is perhaps one of the most clever I’ve come across. Sorry it took so long to get to this post. I’ve been so busy! – Danno

  • Love your writing!

  • Great stuff as always, Mark.

  • Both had tears and laughter at the stubborn person that had to grow up! Keep making me tear up and laugh a lot – both are good for the soul!

  • Great story. I love the line ” a mixture of humor and frustration” I walk my son to school as well, and know exactly what you mean. Congratulations on your sobriety!

Leave a Reply to Paul Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: