Several years ago, Clancy I., was explaining to me that guilt, resentment, fear, feelings of personal inadequacy and loneliness were the five areas that seem to cause the most serious problems for people in recovery.
He shared with me seven questions that he uses to help a person start writing and he emphasised that the questions and the writing are not intended to replace A.A.’s Step 4, they just help the person get started.
Most of the people who approach Clancy or are referred to him, are very hardcore cases who have tried numerous times and approaches to solve their problems.
I have been using these “Seven Questions” with the people that I sponsor ever since Clancy shared them with me.
I’ve discovered that they are very effective when dealing with rock-bottom newcomers and with the high-bottom intellectual types. I have also used them numerous times in helping old-timers who were struggling through a difficult period.
Here are the Seven Questions:
- In looking back over your life – what memories are still painful, guilty, dirty?
- In what ways do you consider yourself an inadequate person?
- Who do you resent – and why? Be specific.
- What do you conceive to be your defects of character – as you see them today?
- What is the nature of the ongoing problems you have with people close to you – in human relations – what seems to always happen when you have these things that blow up?
- In what way do you believe that A.A. can help you with any of these problems?
- In what way do you believe that A.A. can begin to change things?
I never give the newcomer the questions without also setting a time for them to complete their writing. Normally, I’ll give them the questions and expect them to be finished with their writing by the next day, and I’ll have them call me so that we can get together and discuss their answers and apply the solution to their problems.
If the newcomer procrastinates and doesn’t meet the deadline for the questions I usually consider that they are not yet serious enough to approach their problem and I move on to help someone else.
I pass them on to you with the hope that they will help you in helping others as much as they have helped me.
By Nancy O.