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[ Staff Picks ] [ Opinion ]

Keeping It Simple

“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them.”  ~ Paul Coehlo

Looking back, it is quite amazing the amount of self- care I neglected when I was in active addiction. 

Dentist? Nah, I am good. 

Doctor? Uh, no thank you.  I did that four years ago and I am *sure* I am fine. 

Balance my checkbook?  Why?  I have checks and an ATM card… it will sort itself out.

Oil change?  I don’t smell smoke and it’s still running, let’s wait another month.

When I first got sober, I was able to witness the beauty of many things as well as deal with a swath of destruction that I left in my wake.  The clean up was not for the faint of heart and I can completely understand relapse; all of a sudden you have all of your nerve endings existing on the outside of your body, your life as you know it has completely changed and more than likely has gone to hell and a hand basket.  On top of all of this, you are having moment to moment epiphanies of how things are REALLY messed up and the ONLY coping mechanism that you have used for the last decade is no longer at your disposal. To say the least, it is ROUGH.

Once the initial shock wore off and I started unpickle-ing, I started taking small and simple steps to have some semblance of control amidst the unraveling that was happening around me. Here are a few things that I did to get on solid ground.                                                          {This is by no means an exhaustive list or one that you should follow; unless you haven’t done ANYTHING. 🙂 }

1.  Make a dentist appointment.

2.  Make a GP appointment.

3.  Make an OB/GYN appointment. 

4.  Get a check register (paper or online)

5.  LOOK at my last bank statement.

6.  OPEN the mail and pay the bills.

7.  ANSWER the call from the credit card company.

8.  Get the oil changed on the car.

9.  Get some exercise

10. Fist bump my bad self for doing the above 9 and noticing that the earth did not swallow me up.  I survived.

Joy comes from places you least expect it. It’s usually the simple things, like watching my son play basketball or going through Central Park when the blossoms are blooming. ~ Dave Gahan

I look at this list now and it seems ludicrous that I didn’t do these things.  But when I look back at the period of time it was truly insane.  No person, in their right mind, would actually CHOOSE to live the way I was living.  So, in hindsight, it does make sense that I didn’t participate in the simplicities of life.  I wasn’t participating AT ALL.

So, if you are 4 days sober or 4 months or 4 years and you haven’t done the above list, pick one.  Start today taking care of the only life you are ever going to get.  Take care of the sacred Soul that you are.  Baby steps.  Keep it simple; *that* is where the Joy lies.