Clarifying Questions for Relapsers

Can’t stay sober? Wondering why meetings aren’t working? Try working the program!

Here are some clarifying questions to get you started on your way back to recovery:

  • Has it been a while since you’ve taken another alcoholic through the Steps? How long?
  • Has it been a while since you have gone through the steps? How long?
  • Have you ever taken all of AA’s Twelve Steps?
  • Have you done more than one 4th Step inventory? Have you omitted anything?
  • Have you completed all your 9th Step amends wherever possible? What remains to be done?
  • Is there something wrong in your life that you will not face and make right? What is it?
  • Is there a habit or indulgence you will not give up? What is it?
  • Is there a person you will not forgive? Who is it?
  • Is there a wrong relationship in your life you will not give up? What or Who is it?
  • Is there a restitution you will not make?
  • Is there something God has already told you to do that you will not obey? What is it?
  • Are you working with the disciplines and practices of steps Ten and Eleven (self-examination, meditation and prayer)… consistently… EVERY DAY?

On pages 14 and 15 of the Big Book of A.A., Bill W. writes, “For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that.”

3 thoughts on “Clarifying Questions for Relapsers

  1. There is no doubt in my mind about the importance in A.A. of working with others. Nor is there there any doubt that sponsorship is a major vehicle in that picture, thought certainly not the only one. Thus speaking at meetings, serving at meetings, and welcoming newcomers as well as communicating frequently with them are of great importance in A.A. Even more, the old saw about "Come with us, go where we go, do what we do, and you’ll get what we’ve got" epitomizes the A.A. idea of urging the newcomer to get involved with the winners. This particular article on Steps and Sponsorship was just sent to me and is a good check list to remember regarding the practice of A.A.’s Twelve Steps–particularly continuing with 10, 11, and 12. The conventional, solid A.A. approach is to have the eyes on the Big Book pages and a good coach guiding you through the Steps according to the Big B Book. I hasten to mention my own major interest which is that sponsors, speakers, meetings, and newcomers should learn the roots of our program and how the early AAs achieved their 75% success rate in Akron and 93% success rate in Cleveland. "Old school" A.A. is applicable today, virtually forgotten today, and now increasingly well researched and articulated. God Bless, Dick B.

  2. I use this approach every time I work with someone who has relapsed or is trapped in active addiction, who, having worked the program in the past and has fall off the rails and wants to find a way back into recovery, these questions help the suffering addict pin-point where the weak spots are in their program and what specifically needs to be done in order for them to thoroughly follow our path. The results of this approach are most positive.

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