Keep It Simple Stupid
By Ken Gregoire
I would like to add some comments about my favorite
slogan….KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). I am frustrated with much of what happens in our world
today and more specifically what has happened to
treatment for the chemically dependent
in our health care system. I prefer to use the
expletive UFF DA having grown to manhood in rural Minnesota.
Good treatment is not fueled by the mind. It is fueled by
the heart. Good treatment is not necessarily complex and
intellectual. The process can be incredibly simple (though
elegant). Good treatment is, however, extraordinarily
difficult to provide every day. That is because good
treatment requires that those who provide it consistently
bring great energy, great commitment, great attention and
great love to their work every day. And the nature of teams is
that frequently when one team member falters so does the
entire team. It is also the nature of love that it doesn’t matter
much if those providing treatment have a general love of the
alcoholic and addict. What matters is if those providing
alcoholism treatment can love the unique alcoholic or addict sitting right
in front of them--the alcoholic who is vomiting in the
the addict who can think of nothing but how
to extinguish the craving and the dark voices inside, the
patient who complains about everything, the know-it-all
“Big I” who can tell us how to run our
and who can work out treatment plans for every other patient in
treatment, the patient who can’t quell the shakes sufficiently
to drink a cup of coffee without help, the patient who can’t
yet find the path to the dining hall, the patient who
desperately needs a bath or clean clothes or a tooth brush.
Good treatment for these maladies is simple but requires we
love as St. Paul would have us love. You know the
words…..Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does
not put on airs; it is not snobbish. Love is never rude. It is not selfseeking.
It is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries.
Love does not rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices with the truth.
There is no limit to love’s forbearance, its truth, its hope, its power to
So…if we want to make our treatment better we don’t
have to make it more complex. We do the basics of good
treatment better. We do the simple but effective things well,
over and over again. We do the difficult things with as much
passion as the easy things. We love each person entrusted to
our care even when they are at their most unloveable. Good
treatment is simple to provide. It is just difficult to provide.
You can’t take time off.
Sometimes people think that if something is simple it has
no value. But simplicity is valued in most of our human
endeavors by the most brilliant of our species.
In the field of epistemology, there is the concept of
Occam’s razor which asserts that all other things being equal
the simplest theory is the most likely to be true.
In religion, the Quaker’s believe in the testimony of
simplicity which instructs its adherents to simplify one’s life
in order to focus on things that are most important and
disregard or avoid things that are least important.
In science, the principle of parsimony holds that the
explanation of a phenomenon which is least involved is of
superior value to a more involved one.
advises all those who seek recovery to Keep It Simple,
Stupid (KISS). Sound counsel, indeed.
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