Thursday, June 17, 2010

Are You An Al-Anon-aholic?

Before Al-Anon, I had read checklists for the characteristics of adult children of alcoholics and never particularly saw myself in them. I remember one particularly memorable time when I friend sat me down and made me read a checklist off the back of a book. I was unimpressed.

"What about this?" he kept asking.

"That doesn't describe me," I'd respond.

He tried to insist. It only irritated me. Of course, he was right. That was my denial.

But the other day when I came across a quiz to determine whether I was a workaholic, I was astounded by well I recognized myself in the questions. Here's a sampling.

* I prefer to do most things rather than ask for help
* I overcommit myself by biting off more than I can chew.
* I spend a lot of time mentally planning and thinking about future events while tuning out the here and now.
* I get upset in a situations where I cannot be in control.
* I tend to put myself under self-imposed deadlines.
* I spend more time working than socializing with friends or on hobbies or leisure activities.
* I get upset with myself for making even the smallest mistake.
* I make important decisions before I have all the facts and have a chance to think them through.

As I took the quiz, I couldn't help thinking the quiz might as well have said "Are you an Al-Anon?"

Out of curiosity, I printed out an Al-Anon checklist. There were really only two questions that directly correlated.

* Do you overextend yourself?
* Do you have a need for perfection?


I held my breath and tried to take the quiz honestly, giving each question a response of 1 (never true) to 4 (always true). I could see that, if not for the program, my scores on each question would be much higher. This quiz would be a kind of "Does Al-Anon work for you?" test.

To my relief, my final score placed me in the category that said "You are probably a hard worker instead of a workaholic. You needn't worry that your work style will negatively affect yourself or others."

Phew. I guess I got my daily reprieve that day, because I know those character defects are still just under the surface.

The reading in "Hope for Today" was particularly pertinent. It said "[My shortcomings] are not magically, completely and irrevocably banished from my life. If this truly were the case, I wouldn't take them back on occasion. However, my Higher Power does separate my defects from me.... The concrete action of setting them aside becomes apparent as I work on the program on a daily basis."

It works if you work it.

BTW, the acronym for this assessment is WART, which struck me as appropriate. It's a kind of inventory of my warts.

I'm going to keep this quiz. I imagine coming across it at some future date. Then I will read the questions and hold my breath, and see how I do on that day.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the suggestions that accompany the article could also have come straight from Al-Anon: Manage expectations, Breathe (as in meditation), Practice mindfulness.

Good advice.

Hubby and I will be practicing just these things up at the land. I hope you all have a great week, and I'll stop in for a visit on our return.


  1. I definitely recognized myself in those questions!

  2. A few years ago I would have said yes to all the questions; today I say yes to three of them. It is great to see in writing some of the ways I have been making strides in my recovery. Hope you enjoy your time away over the weekend.

  3. Right under the surface....yep. Its a fine line that I walk most days. Freedom or choice.

  4. my home group we call ourselves "alanonics." :o)

  5. Perfectionism is something that I think I have finally given up.

  6. Yes, I know that person as the one that I once was. But fortunately, I have learned to loosen my grip on things. It helps a lot.

  7. Kathy, great message. As always, learning from what you write. Blessings dear one.

  8. My moment of clarity was two-fold: the first being the 12-question self-test in another program, and the second was the same test. Intellectually I rejected the first pass but I could not ignore the visceral punch of seeing 33 years of active addiction going up in smoke. A few weeks later I answered all 12 yes, flushed my stash, and got humble. That was about 118 months of one-days-at-a-time ago.