I have come to realize lately that a phrase we hear a lot in recovery, “keep it simple” is not as easy as it sounds.
Life in or out of recovery can easily get complicated and its up to me to simplify things as much as I can. No one ever promised me that life would be easy, fair or even enjoyable all the time.
For me, keeping it simple means accepting that everything is not always going to favour my wants. I can’t expect to be happy and satisfied twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. If I believe that everyone should do what I want them to do, or behave exactly how I want, life becomes very complicated – messy and unmanageable.
I have to focus on the difference between what I think I MUST do and what things I have a choice about. Really, almost everything in my life is a choice. I can choose to stay sober and work on my recovery – or not. It is my choice, my decision. When I first returned to recovery, I felt that it was an obligation to my family and friends, but now I realize that it is still a choice I made.
I am very conscious of how often the word “must” pops into my mind. My “musts” have to be replaced by “I have a choice.” I can choose not to debate with someone I disagree with – that’s okay, it’s my choice. I can choose to go back to old behaviours (and we all know where that leads) or I can choose to re-build my life in recovery with a positive, adventurous outlook.
As long as I remember that almost everything I do is a choice, not a must, my life is less stressful. I am not being forced into doing things I don’t want to do. I have the freedom to choose – I can “keep it simple.”