K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid

Image: revivedmedia.net

Keeping it simple may seem pretty, well, simple for the average human being, but for us alcoholics and addicts, it can be anything but.  We just have a way of complicating the most uncomplicated things. Things like: working, driving and even food shopping become daunting because that’s what we do. Where this becomes a danger is when we complicate our sobriety.  Complicating life complicates our sobriety.

I was at a meeting last night and one of the gentlemen there used this phrase.  I wrote it in my little notebook because I felt like, “yeah, I want to talk about this.”

When I first got sober, I did not keep it simple.  I would create drama, over-analyze things and make problems out to be bigger than they actually were.  I was still stuck in the, “Poor me, look what I have to deal with!  Why can’t everything just be easy?” phase.

Living life on life’s terms is definitely a struggle for someone who always escaped with drugs and alcohol.  The reality of an active alcoholic/addict is that they abhor reality.  The cycle is: we screw up, we get drunk, we feel resentment, we screw up, we get drunk and we wind up doing dumb stuff.

I am no longer new to sobriety, and yeah, in the beginning I was trying to hold onto the old way of thinking (complicated) while maintaining my sobriety.
When I realized keeping things simple made my life simple, I started catching on.

Ways to keep things simple:

Plan ahead

Write up a budget

Go to work

Tell the truth

Do the next right thing

Taking a break

Keeping it simple isn’t just for people in recovery.  What are some ways you keep it simple?

Dear Me – A Letter to My Fifteen Year Old Insecure Self

So I came upon this post courtesy of the talented Jeff Goins.  Listen to me, I “came upon.”  The truth is I follow his amazing blog and even bought his book “Wrecked.”  Check it out.  You can thank me later.

The gist is this:  Write a letter to your fifteen year old self.  Simple!  What would you say to yourself?  What would you tell you to value?  What would you tell you to not get in such a tizzy about?

After you write your letter, link back here to the Friday, September 14, 2012 post.

Annnnd, one more thing before we get started… Check out Emily Freeman’s book Graceful (for young women).  I plan on it!

Dear Me:

Hey.  I know you’re sad and you feel misunderstood and you’re lonely. I get it.  But I have to tell you that you looked for love in all the wrong places.  Turns out, you may have been an ugly duckling (all skinny and gangly) but you filled out quit nicely.  You always had a problem with anger, but it suited you well and really calmed down after 30.

Oh, and by the way, you’re an alcoholic.  Yeah, it turns out, after a serious run in the dirt, it is a blessing in disguise.

So here are my tips to you, lassy:

1. Boys are not everything.

2. Follow your dreams, no matter what your dad says!

3. Stop frowning!  Gram is right, your face really does stay that way.

4. Please stop cutting yourself. The emotional scars heal, but those scars on your wrist will be there for life.

5. You have great thoughts, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.

6. No one is watching you.  Okay, maybe one or two people here and there.  But not everyone all the time.  Get over it and be silly!

7. I know you like to think you know everything.  You don’t.

8. You should listen to the adults in your life more.  They’ve been there and are so not blowing smoke up your arse.

9. Stop being such a people pleaser!

10.  You have an amazing smile!  Smile more. Frown less.

With much love and admiration,

The still crazy head banging chick you grew to love.

Bridges & Starlings

Covered Bridge

Bridges. We build them.  We burn them. We travel across them to new destinations and we let them carry us home.  We stand on them to stare at the awesomeness of water or to watch fireworks in the sky. If we are superstitious, we hold our breath as we cross.

I love bridges.  I love to look at them, travel across them, stand on them and take pictures of them.  I’m not sure if there is any significance of bridges in my personal life.  I tend to look at things in-depth and over-analyze everything.

I had a rough morning, and for some reason, bridges popped in my head.  My desktop is a picture of a glorious black train bridge (aren’t most train bridges black?) printed in black and white.  Sometimes I honestly just sit and stare at my desktop for a good three minutes.

So after bridges popped in my head, I started thinking about why bridges popped in my head.  I had just spent the morning on the front step with my coffee and cigarettes watching about forty starlings communicate in their “squeaky swing” chirps and sounds and I thought about how they were behaving as a group. I had some old crackers so I crunched ’em up and scattered them on the ground.

Granted, before my time with the starlings, I had just had an argument with someone who insisted on bashing me.  This took me back to my computer to look up the starling animal totem, which is relevant to working in groups of people (starlings are rarely alone) and I started to wonder what the heck bridges and starlings had to do with one another (in my mind).

Starlings
Starlings (Photo credit: Sergey Yeliseev)

And then, it clicked.  “By learning starling’s behavior, I can live peacefully with my friends and family” is what it says on the totem site.  Clearly, if I keep insisting on being right and dwelling on the problem instead of working in the solution, I will burn bridges.  But my pride gets in the way and I stray away from the group (or person) because I’d rather sit in my crap than find a solution.  Thankfully I can see this relatively close to when the situation arises, instead of further down the line after the damage has been done.

The other interesting thing is that I just started reading “Drop the Rock” which is a phenomenal book about working Steps Six and Seven.  For those unfamiliar with AA literature:

Step Six: Were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.

Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove out shortcomings.

Now, we all have character defects, and most (if not all) of us like to hold on to many of them.  I hold on to them more often than I  think I want to.  Which is why, when I am ready to have my defects removed, they will be, and not before.  I pray every day for my defects to be removed.  God, however, cannot live my life for me and I have this stinking thing called “free will” floating inside of me constantly. It takes awareness to be entirely ready to have my character defects removed.

I am now aware of the significance of the murmuration of starlings this morning.  I have to think before I speak.  As far as bridges go, I don’t have many left to burn.

Do you like bridges?

Do you have any character defects you don’t dig much?

Let’s talk about it! 😀