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“Keep It Simple”

“Keep It Simple”
“Keep It Simple”

“Keep It Simple”, also known as “keep it simple, stupid”, has been an important slogan in my recovery. Especially in early recovery. I don’t know about you, but I have a knack for complicating the simplest of tasks. Even today I have to remember to “keep it simple”. Constantly reminding myself that I am overcomplicating something, and I need to stop, step back, reassess.

In early sobriety this slogan came in handy when I was starting my 4th Step. The 4th Step is:

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”

I had the Big Book as a reference tool, but looking at the description given there, I didn’t know where to start. Looking back now, it’s not complicated at all. But, at the time, my brain was still foggy, and everything was complicated.

Thankfully, the internet was available, and I found a great website that explained the 4th Step quite well. That site is here if you are interested.

As time went on my brain slowly de-fogged and I was able to think more clearly. But I still ran into small problems along the way. Things would crop up at work, at home, anywhere, and I would turn a molehill into a mountain.

But then I remembered “Keep It Simple”. By remembering this simple slogan I am able to look at the problem in a different way. Instead of trying to tackle something head-on, I can break it up into simpler steps, thus making the problem not so big.

A few months ago, I faced a challenging task and had to remember “Keep It Simple”. I had been looking for ways to share my experience, strength, and hope with other people, other than just in meetings. I love to journal, and writing has helped me so much over the years, so I got the idea to start a blog. I started the research, read blogs about blogging, looked at web hosting, etc. I even wrote a piece here on Medium called “To Blog or Not to Blog”.

After I felt like I had done enough research, and had enough information, I decided to take action. I started an account with BluHost, got a Word Press account going, and went in to start laying out my website.

What I didn’t realize is, Word Press is easy, but not at the same time. Ugh. I quickly learned I was in way over my head, and I didn’t think the whole blog thing out very well. So, in my very alcoholic way, I decided to scrap the whole idea. Whenever I face a something that’s more challenging than I like, I throw the whole idea away and call it a bad job.

Not a good way to get by in life, is it? No. Thankfully I’ve learned to recognize that as a pattern, and have started working on changing that behavior.

So, when the “this is too difficult so I’ll just quit” attitude popped up, I took a step back. “Keep It Simple, stupid”.

I talked to a couple of my friends about my troubles. I looked at other ways I could fulfill my blogging dreams. And, I took a step back from starting my own blog by deciding to “blog” on medium.com.

By breaking my problem down into steps, “Keeping it simple”, I tackled small chunks of my project instead of taking it in one big bite. I’ve also learned that this simple slogan works for a myriad of problems, big or small. I don’t have to be facing a crisis in order to put “Keep it simple” into practice. Everything can be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks.

So the next time you are facing a dilemma, or a problem, remember to “Keep It Simple”. I promise, your brain will thank you.

Originally published Nov 30, 2016 – medium.com

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