Category Archives: The Roustabout Heart




When I focus on something, I’m leading my mind in a specific direction, where life will be impacted by the decisions I make. Wow. What a trip.

But sometimes, I don’t realize I’m going the wrong way. And even if I do, my pride prevents me from stopping the vehicle. People, trees and buildings keep whizzing past, and I just continue on. I can get hopelessly lost before I know it.

Having God along for the ride is smart planning. Because even though I’m responsible for my future, not everything’s gonna proceed as outlined on the map. There will still be disappointments and bumps in the road. Weather conditions and potential car trouble.

God is the ideal companion. He is level-headed and knows exactly where I’m going. He takes up virtually no space. When I include Him in my thoughts and actions, the smallest things become more meaningful.

“Take a look at that sky,” he might suggest. “Isn’t it something?”

“Did you notice how pleasant that clerk in the gas station was?”

“Why don’t you let those kids cross the street first? We’re not in that big a hurry.”

My journey can be a beautiful experience. And there’s never a reason for me to travel alone.

* Artwork: Custom Steering Wheel by John Clemmer

Stay Calm

Stay Calm


Tying a load on helped me go somewhere else. It got me outside of my own thoughts and took me to a place where responsibility wasn’t a priority.

That’s not an option anymore. It’s crucial that I find ways to cope with those times when I have the urge to escape from whatever it is that’s got me feeling all squirrelly.

I can’t control the whole world. I share this place with lots of other people. I realize space is limited. It’s impossible to not be affected by a wide variety of attitudes and points of view.

When I am responsible, I give myself a chance to think more clearly about what’s going on. Recognizing this keeps me present and accountable. I can guide my own thoughts and behavior. Not everything has to be a reaction to what someone else has done.

Once I start worrying about what other folks say and do, I’m projecting into the future. If I feel sorry for myself because of something that’s already happened, I am stuck in the past.

It’s important that I try and focus on right now. I can deal with my emotions and push through those uncomfortable moments. I want to stay connected to myself and maximize my sense of calm. So I don’t get flustered and do something I’ll regret.

* Artwork by Diego Fernandez

Clean, Clean

Clean, Clean


I keep my side of the street as clean as I can.

I sweep and sweep and sweep the floor beneath my rugs, as well. It can get pretty gross under there.

Sometimes, I find myself on your porch, tidying up after you and your shit. What am I even doing over here? I belong next door.

So I take my broom and go back home.




I did not know which group to join… or who would have me.

Was I an addict who drank too much or an alcoholic who also did drugs every day? That decision was beyond me.

I didn’t want to be both. That seemed like way too many meetings, and I was already very busy getting loaded around the clock.

So I did nothing, for a bunch more years. And not surprisingly, things continued to get worse.

Today, I am so grateful for the countless resources available to me, whenever I need help. I always feel welcome in the company of my friends and neighbors in recovery.

I could not do this by myself.