A Checklist of Symptoms Leading to Relapse

[Take a Weekly Inventory to See If Symptoms Are Present]

1. Exhaustion  Allowing yourself to become overly tired or in poor health. Some alcoholics are also prone to work addiction (maybe they are in a hurry to make up for lost time). Good health and enough rest are important. If you feel well, you are more likely to think well. Feel poorly, and your thinking is more likely to deteriorate. Feel badly enough, and you might begin thinking that a drink couldn't make it any worse.

2. Dishonesty  This begins with a pattern of unnecessary little lies and deceits with fellow workers, friends, and' family. Then come important lies to yourself. This is called "rationalizing": making excuses for not doing what you do not want to do, or for doing what you know you should not do.

3. Impatience  Things are not happening fast enough. Or, others are not doing what they "should," or what you want them to do.

4. Argumentativeness  Arguing about small or ridiculous points of view indicates a need to always "be right". "Why don't you be reasonable, and agree with me?" Looking for an excuse to drink?

5. Depression Unreasonable or unaccountable feelings of despair may occur in cycles, and should be dealt with and talked about with sponsor and or professional.

6. Frustration  Toward self or others because things may not be going your way. Remember: everything is not always going to be just the way you want it.

7. Self-Pity  Why do these things happen to me?"   Why must I be an alcoholic?" "Nobody appreciates all I am doing." In other words, "Poor me, poor me, pour me a drink."

8 Cockiness  Got it made. No longer fear alcoholism. Going into drinking situations to prove you have no problem. Do this often enough and it will wear down your defenses.

9 Complacency  "Drinking was the farthest thing from my mind!" But, NOT drinking was no longer a conscious thought, either. It Is dangerous to let up on disciplines because everything is going well. To have a little fear is a good thing. More relapses occur when things are going well than otherwise.

10. Expecting Too Much From Others  "I've changed; why hasn't everyone else?" It's is plus if others do change, but, change or not, the business of recovery is your business. You cannot expect others to change their life-styles simply because you have.

11. Letting Up on Disciplines   In other words, letting up on prayer, meditation, daily inventory, AA attendance, etc. Letting up on these things can stem from complacency or boredom with your program. But the cost of relapse is always too great.

12. Use of Mood-Altering Chemicals  You may feel the need to ease things with a pill, and your doctor may go along with you. You may never have had a problem with chemicals other than alcohol, but you can easily lose sobriety starting thins way, about the most subtle way to have a relapse. Remember: you Will be cheating. The same is true for drug-dependant persons who start to drink.

13. Wanting Too Much  Do not set goals you cannot reach with normal effort. Do not expect too much. It's always great when good things happen that you were not expecting. You will get what you are entitled to, as long as you do your best, but maybe not as soon as you think you should. "Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have."

14. Forgetting Gratitude  You may be looking negatively on your life, concentrating on problems that still are not totally corrected. Nobody wants to be a "Pollyanna," but it is good to remember from where you started, and how far you've come already.

15. "It Can't Happen to Me"   This is dangerous thinking. Almost anything can happen to you, and it is more likely to happen if you become careless. Remember: alcoholism is a progressive disease, and you will be in worse shape if you relapse.

16. Omniscience   This is an attitude that results from a combination of many of the above: you now have all the answers for yourself and others.* No one can tell you anything. You ignore suggestions or advice from others. If such is the case, relapse is imminent unless drastic changes take place. ("Omniscience' is derived from two Latin words: "Omnia Scit," meaning: "He knows it all.") 

In addition to the above, ask yourself:

Do I have a recovery plan?
Am I carefully following that plan?
Have I let up on any part of that plan?

Return to the A. A. Links Page

Return to the A.A. History Page

Return to the West Baltimore Group Home Page