Often I want to know, “how I’m doing?” I want to do a quick check-in.
Simple as this sounds, I’ve found for an alcoholic like me, this is dangerous.
Self-Assessment is Hard
This danger is because, often, I am not correct when I do a self-assessment (especially in my head, by myself). I can draw conclusions that are way off base.
I get overly influenced by whatever just happened at the moment, without a broader context. Plus, it is all from my point of view. The old self-centeredness.
Then there are my irrational beliefs and projections I love to engage. Instead of taking into account all the good that happened in my life across the past day, week, month or year I can panic and think, “OMG, this is a crisis!”
And worst of all, “This situation will never change!” Here, not thinking that more good is in my future.
All evidence of the cliché, “Alcoholism is a disease of perception.”
What is the Solution?
So what to do to safeguard around an irrational thought spiral to Negative Town, should the ticket be issued?
Well, first, work the steps. Clean up the past. Ultimately you’ll learn about yourself and get free from bad behaviors that became habitual. This is the ground floor for recovery and cannot be overstated how critical it is that you actually go through them. It’s astonishing how many come to AA and never do them.
Second, work the program. As a reminder, a good program includes regular meetings, a sponsor, and work with other alcoholics. Having these will offset some of the self-centeredness that is the root of an alcoholic’s problem.
Then, Check for These!
Finally, you can watch out for three things.
- Anger – Do I have any inappropriate anger expressing itself.
- Dishonesty – Has the occasional lie or half-truth slipped into my life?
- Bad Relationships – How is the quality of my relationships. Do I get along with people or am I “hard to be with?”
If they are popping up, then you can conclude that something is up that within you that needs some attention. Being angry, dishonest and not being able to get along with others is a sign that something inside you is awry, most likely below the surface, that needs attention.
What’s great is the steps can help (even if you’ve done them, great to work them over and over). You can write some stuff down, look for your part in it, talk it over with your sponsor (or other AA) and make amends (if needed).
Then you can get some freedom and peace.
So, to summarize, “how am I doing?”
If you not angry, or lying, and have a life full of loving relationships (and sober, of course) then you’re doing great! This is irrespective of what the head might be telling you.