I am a newcomer and a chronic and compulsive procrastinator...
I am a newcomer and a chronic and compulsive procrastinator. I found this site mentioned in the latest edition of Burka and Yuen's "Procrastination" that I just bought this week. And yes, that's right, I am procrastinating right now.
At the end of January I joined my first 12-Step group and in March I joined my second 12-Step group. I have by the grace of God had excellent recovery one day at a time in both. In my first fellowship I have 3 sponsees and I am very active in both fellowships.
As part of my 9th and 10th steps (amends and character defects) in my first fellowship , last week, together with my wife I joined DA.
I am a compulsive debtor (I pay bills late, deposit checks late, file insurance claims late, rack up finance charges, overdraft fees and bouced check fees, delay paying back debts) and a compulsive underearner (I work in a dea-end job and procrastinate all day). My wife is a compulsive spender (most of the time she is paranoid over spending and then sometimes she will go on small binges for relief).
I was intrigued when, after two face-to-face meetings we joined a DA phone meeting for underearners and we heard a veteran speak about the concept of non-financial debting. She was talking about making bad decisions and paying for them "with interest" as being an example of compulsive non-financial debting.
Her particular example was how she had been speeding to get an advance on time and she was stopped by a cop, given summonses and she lost far more time and money than she would have gained - debting with interest.
It struck me that procrastination (on non-financial issues) is an excellent example of non-financial debting. I do believe that there is a home for many procrastinators within DA, much as I am finding a home there.
Lastly I would like to share my own feelings on this piece,
"The jokes about procrastination infuriate me. This is not a funny
problem - not if you are suffering from true, chronic procrastination.
Lawyers have been disbarred due to procrastination. Small business
owners have lost their businesses due to procrastination. People's
lives fall apart and are destroyed due to procrastination. This is not
a funny problem."
I know from bitter experience that procrastination is much more than a joke. I identify with every word in that paragraph. However AA's Rule 62 (search for "Rule #62" on that page from AA's 12 & 12) has been crucial to my recovery. I have lived 43 years of my life on resentment and frustration and I need to be able to set myself free and laugh about it, as the AA Big Book says,
"We have been speaking to you of serious, sometimes tragic
things. We have been dealing with alcohol in its worst aspect. But we
aren't a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our
existence, they wouldn't want it...
When we see a man sinking into the mire
that is alcoholism, we give him first aid and place what we have at his
disposal. For his sake, we do recount and almost relive the horrors of
our past. But those of us who have tried to shoulder the entire burden
and trouble of others find we are soon overcome by them.
So we think cheerfulness and laughter
make for usefulness. Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into
merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why
shouldn't we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to
The Family Afterward)
So most certainly we need to convey that procrastination is MORE than a joke, but 12 Step fellowships operate on attraction and not promotion and to thisnewcomer at least , it is very off-putting to hear that procrastination is NOT a joke, to me that's like a massive billboard announcing in bold flashing neon lights, "WE ARE A GLUM LOT".
Similarly the repetition of the word "infuriate" in the sentences below intrigues me:
"The jokes about procrastination infuriate me."
"The blindness of the psychological community in not recognizing procrastination as an addictive disorder also infuriates me."
Alcoholism is an addictive disorder and yet the AA Big Book authors did not hesitate to look for underlying causes,
"First, we searched out the flaws in our
make-up which caused our failure. Being convinced that self, manifested
in various ways, was what had defeated us, we considered its common
Resentment is the "number one" offender.
It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms
of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically
ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is
overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically."
(BB page 64, How it Works)
There seems to me to be a similarity between resentment and infuriation which suggests to me that I want to make sure that at least for myself I know,
"It is plain that a life which includes
deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise
extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have
been worth while. But with the compulsive procrastinator, whose hope is the maintenance
and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is
infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal... The
insanity of procrastination returns and we procrastinate again. And with us, to procrastinate
is to die."
(paraphrase of BB p 66, How it Works)
So, for me at least when I am infuriated it is my problem not the other guy's.
That's all I have right now, glad to be able to contribute some non-conformist thoughts and thanks for letting me share.