Assessing Progress in AA

The Challenge of Self-Assessment

As a recovering alcoholic, I often want to gauge my progress with a quick self-assessment. Although this seems straightforward, I’ve discovered it can be perilous for someone like me.

Why? Because self-assessments, particularly those conducted alone and in my head, can lead to inaccuracies. I might be overly influenced by recent events without considering the broader context or only perceive the situation from my viewpoint, characteristic of self-centeredness.

Moreover, I can become engrossed in irrational beliefs and projections. Instead of acknowledging all the positive aspects of my life, I can exaggerate an issue and perceive it as a crisis, or even worse, an unchangeable situation. This illustrates the saying, “Alcoholism is a disease of perception.”

Taking Control: The Solution

So, how can I protect myself from irrational thoughts and the tendency to spiral negatively? Here are some recommendations:

Work the Steps

Firstly, it’s crucial to work the steps and clean up the past. In doing so, you’ll learn about yourself and break free from detrimental habitual behaviors. This is the foundation of recovery, and its importance cannot be overstressed. It’s surprising how many people come to AA and never work the steps.

Commit to the Program

Secondly, commit to the program. A strong program typically includes regular meetings, a sponsor, and work with other alcoholics. Engaging in these activities helps mitigate some of the self-centeredness that is at the heart of an alcoholic’s problem.

Watch for Warning Signs

Finally, monitor three key areas:

  1. Anger: Am I expressing inappropriate anger?
  2. Dishonesty: Are lies or half-truths sneaking into my life?
  3. Relationships: What is the quality of my relationships? Am I generally agreeable or difficult to be with?

If these issues are cropping up, they may signal a deeper problem that needs addressing. Displaying anger, dishonesty, and difficulty in maintaining positive relationships often indicates an internal issue, potentially unconscious, that requires attention.

The steps can provide help in these situations, even if you’ve completed them before. You can write down your thoughts, analyze your role in the situation, discuss it with your sponsor or another AA member, and make amends if necessary. Through this process, you can achieve freedom and peace.

Evaluating Personal Progress

In summary, if you’re not experiencing undue anger or dishonesty, maintaining healthy relationships, and staying sober, then you’re doing great! This remains true regardless of what your mind might suggest otherwise.

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