Friday, July 17, 2009



The other day I was hunting through all my literature for an index to topics in "Alcoholics Anonymous", our Big Book. I found it tucked inside another book, "Living Sober", a little yellow book I had when I left treatment August, 1985. In the same book I found many papers I was given while there. What follows is a synopsis of one set of papers I found in that book. I used it and thought about it frequently in the first years of sobriety.

The checklist follows:


While the individual himself must maintain the disciplines that insure sobriety, there are ways in which others can help. Others close to the alcoholic are often able to recognize behavior changes that indicate a return to the old ways of thinking. Often they have tried to warn the subject, who by now may not be willing to be told. He may consider it nagging or violation of his privacy.

There are many danger signs. Most alcoholics if approached properly, would be willing to go over an inventory of symptoms periodically with a spouse or other confidante. If the symptoms are caught early enough and recognized, the alcoholic will usually try to change his thinking, to get "back on the beam" again.

A weekly inventory of symptoms might prevent some relapses. This added discipline is one which many alcoholics seem willing to try.


(This inventory was very useful in the beginning while I was working the steps and learning through steps 10 and 11 how to inventory myself on a regular and immediate basis.)

1. Exhaustion

2. Dishonesty

3. Impatience

4. Argumentativeness

5. Depression

6. Frustration

7. Self-Pity

8. Cockiness

9. Complacency

10. Expecting too much from others

11. Letting up on disciplines

12. Use of mood altering chemicals

13. Wanting too much

14. Forgetting gratitude

15. "It can't happen to me."

16. Omnipotence

This checklist may have been in vogue 24 years ago, but I believe the items listed are as relevant today as they were then. I hope this will be helpful to someone who reads it.

Love you all,

Prayer Girl

P.S. - I really miss Mama Duck who became a part of our family for the month plus that she made her home on our front porch. I miss the ducklings too. I will keep my eyes open as I move about the "hood" for a glimpse of Mama duck with her little group of ducklings waddling after her.


Zanejabbers said...

Thanks for the "Symptoms of Relapse". Haven't really read them in some time.
In answer to your question about PG after my Right Eye. Yes that is you, some time ago you mentioned that I might add my Right Eye to my gratitude list. I had never thought of that until you mentioned and then I thought well DUH - yeah that is a must. See we never know how we stouch another's life just by a loving comment. So therefore, every time I post My Right Eye I think of you.
Last night I thought I should let everyone else know, but then they probably knew that from reading my blog.

Steve E. said...

Ya know, sometimes I get so humg up on that really wonderfull gratitude list--because I AM so grateful. I forget, unless I get to regular Step meetings, about inventorying my life often.

A Wake-up???

Mike Golch said...

This is a great message.thank you for it.

Cindy said...

Wow...and a great checklist for Al Anons. Thank you. Oh! I mean a checklist for US and OUR recovery! We're only to focus on our own selves! Whew, glad I clarified that, wouldn't want anyone to think that I'm taking their inventory! I have enough on my own plate.

Tall Karen said...

And we could increase the list ad infinitum...

Did the ducks pack up and move away just like that? I wonder if you'll recognize her (Smiley) again! It is sad that they left. Maybe they'll be back...

Lou said...

I have seen complacency with Andrew. It seems the most risk of relapse is when things are going good for him.

Andrew said...

Sure the list is as relevant today as it ever was.

Thanks for posting that. I have seen the list in one form or another over the years, but omnipotence is a new one to me.

Syd said...

PG, thanks for this list. I see some of these symptoms with my wife but there is nothing that I can do. I hope that she will recognize them and take action. Life with alcoholism is an adventure into dangerous territory.

Paula said...

HI, I have been in touch with Steve very briefly in February this year. He suggested to read your blog which I have done on several occasions. Whilst being spiritual I am not religious and sometimes have some trouble to then relate to your posts. I am sorry, there is no offence meant by it. This list is clear and I can relate to each and every word. He stopped rinking but didnt seek any kind of recovery. After He being dry (I dont like to say sober as this for me means not drinking plus some sort of program)for one year- that is as long as i waited before I followed him from Europe to Tampa. I can tick off all on this list - within 3 months I returned to Europe. I couldnt reach him at all. it was like watching him to commit suicide slowly and every day a bit. Inspite him not drinking! He has treated our love and future for his illness. I wish with all my heart he would find peace, however I have to focus on myself now. Obviously I returned to Europe and no have no job, flat, friends etc. Somehow this list gives me solace, confirming that I recognized the signs and that I have done what was in my "power". Even when I am now on the other side of the pond, I dont regret loving him. I have learned a lot, got taught to be a better person and learnt about my limitations. I am sorry to see how much he abuses himself and how many untapped possibilities are in him. Well, I am grateful for this particular sharing of yours.