Keep It Simple

One of the last statements attributed to Dr. Bob (a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous) during his final conversation with his partner and co-founder, Bill W., was: “Let’s not louse this thing up. Let’s keep it simple.” Over the years, the phrase has been shared amongst AA members, and has been shortened into a program slogan that purely states: “Keep It Simple.”

The slogan is used often, and helps many members to recover from the need to control situations and impress others. Those who live in active addiction understand that everything they have ever done has been complicated. Addicts tend to over-think and over-do everything. No matter what it is, it is never enough. And, no matter how intelligent one might be, there is always someone smarter to try to impress. Therefore, everything has to be better, bigger, richer, more involved, and more notable. How does a person get to those places? He complicates the process by creating an impossible set of circumstances that will never fall together properly. What a great excuse to pick up a drink! Hence, the need for this slogan among those trying to recover from alcoholism – or any other addiction, for that matter. If complicated matters will lead one to pick up a drink, than keeping it simple just may be a saving grace not to be overlooked.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all the world took this advice?! We human beings do work diligently at complicating just about everything. From progress in technology to human relationships, it seems like anything human beings touch becomes extremely difficult to understand without a 50-page manual. Or, better yet, with no manual! (Have you noticed how many things come without a manual these days?!)

And, what happens when we don’t understand something? We get frustrated, annoyed, and shrink within ourselves just a little bit more than before we tried to connect a television to a cable box, or figure out why the boss isn’t happy with the project we recently completed. Simply stated: complicated things create tension. Is that really how we all want to go through life?

What if, today, we all just kept things simple? Tell the people you love that you love them. Ask for help when you need it. Do your best to give answers that are easily understood by others. Notice a butterfly and remember it was once a caterpillar. Be amazed by that instead of having to figure out how it works. I do believe that if we could all do these things for just one day, the world would be a much more peaceful place.


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