Keep It Simple Stupid
By Ken Gregoire
Alcoholism Treatment:

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 recovery room; 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 treatment center 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 endure.

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.

AA advises all those who seek recovery to Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS). Sound counsel, indeed.

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