Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Sponsorship and Working the 12 Steps

I am thinking of trying the PA steps.  I've about hit bottom, and its time to start crawling out of the hole.  I've tried time management tricks, lightening up, buckling down, accountability calls, and checking in.  I'm finding these to be temporary stop-gaps that do not root out the core issues.  (Granted, I'm still new here.  Perhaps I should be more patient?)

Have any of you worked through the Steps for PA?  Have any of you experienced recovery from procrastination, as a result of working the steps?

Is anyone available to serve as a sponsor?  If you are willing and available to be a sponsor, please let me know.  I'm finding it difficult to match people on the phone line with their screen names.

If you haven't worked the steps but are ready and willing to give them a try, perhaps we can encourage each other.  Please let me know if you are interested.



the touch of the master's hand:

"fall down seven times, get up eight" - japanese proverbs

cross post--another 12 steps working the steps thread


the touch of the master's hand:

"fall down seven times, get up eight" - japanese proverb

Step Study Resources

A generic Step-Study guide that may lend itself to a rapid working group:

A more detailed step study guide:


Step Study Resources

Thanks, firefly.  I have downloaded the worksheets and will try working these questions.  My 12S work has not yet become focused in any one direction, and I need to get some flow going.

Thanx a ton firefly!!!

Thanx a ton firefly!!!

Steps for tracy-la


I am very interested in working through the steps and have been doing so in a haphazard way meaning not in the structured way in typical programs.

With respect to Step 1 on acceptance, my thoughts for the day (which I also wrote about in my daily post but I wanted to come back and review it later) are as follows:

Procastinators can do anything once, or even occasionally.  The challenge is
to do things consistently - like getting to work on time twenty-nine
out of thirty days.  My goal is to help me be more consistent.  I also want to procrastinate less.  Notice the word is
"less," not "never".  No one can be perfect.  So even with my best
effort and best program, I will still blow it sometimes.  

I've seen other people post topics on "what does abstinence mean
in this program?"  I was looking for a black and white to define my
abstinence at first and I realize that isn't working for me due to my
own ADHD (which I know is a neurological developmental disorder but I've
never accepted its limitations in total).  Now I am finally learning to
accept that on some projects it will take me 3 times as long to do
something as someone else -- and it's not just perfectionism that takes
the increased time, it's my way of working [needing some breaks, being
susceptible to distractions like other phone calls or seeming

I will be happier starting with reasonable expectations and flexible
objectives.  If I have unreasonable expectations or set objectives carved in stone, I'll
be disappointed (or worse in terms of my own self view). How can I ever be satisfied with the results of
my work towards procrastination if my attitude is, "If I achieve my expectations, I
will be satisfied with myself; if I fall short, I have no choice but to be dissatisfied and hard on myself or unhappy"?

A better approach for me and my guiding philosophy, is:

  • Change what I can.
  • Accept the rest.
  • Surrender
  • Progress not perfection.

I can develop strategies to help me be more consistent, effective
and efficient, but there are limits to what I can
achieve.  The good news -- and what I MUST remind myself -- 
is that perfection isn't necessary. Even a little progress can make a
major difference in my life, work, finances, self-esteem and
relationships.  So progress not perfection is my thought for today and

example, my employees and clients may be quite happy if, instead of me
being twenty
minutes late to meetings three times a week, I can reduce it to being
minutes late once a week.  I won't be batting a thousand, but everyone
else may be more understanding if I'm doing well otherwise.  Or if I
don't get my billing timesheet done every day but instead of going a
month before I do them, I go no more than a week -- everything will run
smoother and the billing will get out in a timely manner.

These type of goals are more attainable, and more
I've tried the perfectionist schedule, unrealistic goals (that are not
in touch with my ADHD brain). I spent yesterday afternoon in a meeting
where I was very creative and impressed the others in the meeting. Was I
late for the meeting? Yes. I was working on the other late project.
[Big surprise there.]

So -- I realize that I need more realistic goals. These goals include:

(1) to create more structure in my daily life and schedule
[old way of thinking is to follow a strict schedule that's impossible to

(2) to be more consistent in sticking to my built-in structure and schedule [old way was to be perfect];

(3) , to decrease the number of times I let myself get
distracted, to procrastinate less, to lessen my impulsivity, to decrease
the distractions and temptations in my environment. 

Although I can find pefectionist challenges energizing, the reality is unachievable goals are
in the long run demoralizing.  Sometimes, less is more.  Less lofty goals can help me
give myself credit for the progress I make, and it puts me in a
better position to admit my shortcomings but still stand my ground.

For example, the old me would say that I will not use the
internet for nonwork purposes for 30 days.  Now I can tell myself, I
will use the internet less for nonwork purposes and set a timer and I
will spend less time on it than I did before. 

I can tell myself, "I'm
still spending more time on the Internet than I would like, but I've
been working on it and I'm doing
better.  I'll keep working on it, but I don't know how much better I'll
be able to do, at least all the time.  Besides, some of the time I spend
on the Internet is very useful to my business and myself (like this



Step 1 - Breaking through denial: Consequences

Finally seeing, really seeing, the consequences of my procrastination are, for me, a genuine motivator.  It's just that I have such problem getting to the place of seeing (no surprise there, huh?).  In SA there is a list of consequences that is used to help break through denial, and I would like to attempt adapting them to PA. 



·         Failed efforts to control the addiction

·         Emotional instability related to procrastination (depression, discouraged, angry, feeling hopeless, etc.)

·         Loss of touch with reality

·         Loss of sense of time

·         Strong patterns of perfectionism which interfere with productivity

·         Loss of self-esteem as a direct or indirect result of procrastination

·         Loss of life goals because of procrastination

·         Acting against my own values and beliefs

·         Strong feelings of guilt and shame

·         Strong feelings of isolation and loneliness

·         Avoidance of tasks and/or people because of demand resistance

·         Strong fears about my future

·         Strong fears of failure

·         Emotional exhaustion

·         Other emotional consequences; specify 


·         Continuation of behavior despite risk to health

·         Extreme weight loss or gain

·         Physical problems

·         Failing to exercise because of procrastinating

·         Inadequate hygiene as a result of procrastinating and/or demand resistance

·         Physical injury or abuse by others

·         Involvement in potentially abusive or dangerous situations (e.g. not maintaining the car safely)

·         Sleep disturbances (restless sleep because of worry, insufficient sleep because of sleep avoidance, etc.)

·         Physical exhaustion

·         Other physical consequences specific to procrastination 


·         Strong feelings of spiritual emptiness

·         Feeling unable to be quiet and meditative

·         Avoiding reading, meditating, journaling, etc. because of demand resistance

·         Feeling disconnected from yourself and the world

·         Feeling abandoned by God or Higher Power

·         Anger at Higher Power or God

·         Loss of faith in anything spiritual

·         Other spiritual consequences; specify: 


·         Risking loss of partner or spouse

·         Loss of partner or spouse

·         Increase in marital or relationship problems directly or indirectly related to procrastination

·         Increase in problems with your children

·         Placated by partner or spouse because of prolonged patter of procrastination

·         Loss of family’s or partner’s respect

·         Procrastination has jeopardizing well-being of family

·         Loss of family of origin

·         Other family or partnership consequences; specify: 


·         Decrease in productivity at work

·         Demotion at work

·         Loss of co-workers’ respect

·         Termination from job

·         Loss of opportunity to work in the career of your choice

·         Failing grades in school because of procrastination

·         Loss of educational opportunities

·         Loss of business as a result of procrastination, perfectionism, demand resistance, etc.

·         Not working to capability (underemployed)

·         Other career or educational consequences; specify: 


·         Loss of important friendships

·         Few friends because of procrastination patterns

·         Loss of interest in or pursuit of hobbies or activities

·         Extreme amounts of time spent in non-productive activities (gaming, organizing, planning, etc.)

·         Serious consequences resulting from avoiding to plan adequately  

·         Financial problems directly or indirectly because of procrastination

·         Legal problems related to procrastination; specify:

·         Other consequences; specify:

Sponsorship and Working 12 Steps in Pa

I have pondered on this issue for awhile and my current thinking is the PA program is perfect as it is.

Most of us are involved in other 12 step groups. I am a Child of an Alcoholic (one of the many things I am) and although I have worked through understanding the disease and the sickness, I believe that PA is a place for me to "reparent myself".

Appartently, the ACA phone groups have regenerated with healthier , more meaningful meetings. In my area ACA died out because people did not know how to "reparent" themselves in a safe enviroment. CODA was born, but again, faded out.

Several questions in the ACA workbook step meeting tonight were:

Have my relationships created chaos, abuse, and predictable turmoil in my life (not conscious)?

Has my behavior in thinking affected my job performance and  ability to relate to others at work? (II am not good enough thinking).

In PA I can learn to reparent myself with the support of others.I can learn to "see" and what to do with "the predictable turmoil" that will work for me because others are trying as well.

I think sponsorship and working the 12 steps here will only create more chaos, abuse and predictable turmoil again and I do not want to lose myself that way again, not here.

For me, this is the onlyh place I can reliablely "show up" for me to "reparent; me" and change the "predicttable turmoil" with my HP and  then I try to work deeper in many of the other 12 step groups and be of more service "in all my affairs".

Step Study/Work

Step study, anyone?  Who's ready to commit?  Apparantly, not me.  :(

I looked for people interested in starting a step study, to work the 12 steps (not just to read and talk about them in the Wednesday night group, but to DO them).  A couple of people expressed interest.  But I have totally dropped the ball.

One person sent me several possible step guides (from a different 12-step group) and said I'd have to sift through them to see what worked and adapt them for PA.  That felt overwhelming, and I haven't opened any of the files!  Another person offered to send me the HOW questions, but didn't get around to it (I understand!).  One PA member emailed me about starting and I emailed her back, but when she emailed me again to say she never heard from me, I got stuck and didn't call her (still haven't done so).

My attempt at working Step One consists of one half-hour of writing by hand (yay!) and also posting here on the forums.  I keep meaning to transcribe my notes and gather all my forum posts into a Word file and organize it into a more coherent Step One, but that feels intimidating.

How do we, as chronic & compulsive procrastonitors, work the Steps??

count me in.

Ruth, I desperately need to work the steps on this stuff. I want to participate in a Step Study group.

My guess, given that we're procrastinators and that probably most of us are terrible perfectionists, is that it would be helpful to adopt a discipline of working a Step a week — or every two weeks, max. It might also be helpful to establish ground rules regarding minimum and maximum amounts of tiime an individual should spend working on on a given Step — say 2-5 hours per week, or 15-45 minutes per day, etc. 

Maybe what we could do is start a step by:


  • Collaborating on putting together some ideas about what the Step's function is (Step 1: How am I "powerlessness" and how do I experience "unmanageability"? What exactly is it that I realize I can't do any longer if I want a decent life — what am I going to be abstaining from?) 
  • Put together a handful of questions to write about.


Then write answers to those questions, then share (without cross-talk) about anything that's come up for us while reading the stepwork of other participants.

I dunno. What do you think? 

Step Study Discipline

You said the D word.  Inside, I'm running, screaming, for the hills.  My first goal is to stop posting in these forums during work hours and set aside personal time to address PA issues.  So for now, I need to get back to work.  I commit to log in tonight and re-read your suggestions.

Interested in Buddies or Group or Sponsor

Hello Smile

Not sure where to post this & I shouldn't spend too much time looking right now Embarassed Ooooops!

But I would love to find: an action or task buddy or buddies, a step study group & hopefully, even a sponsor.

Thanks to all! Kiss


Go to this link:

to find out about the phone meetings.  Mon through Fri has 15-minute check-in meetings, and bookends throughout the day whenever people agree to "meet."  Note that Wednesday night is an hour long step study, at a different phone number.  Further down that page is a description of the online meetings, too (I haven't tried them).

I'm interested in working the steps with others, but have been procrastinating terribly.

Thank you very, very much!

Thank you very, very much! Smile I do appreciate your reply!

Useless Tasks

Been procrastinating quite a bit on Step One, and missing phone meetings, and completly forgot about the last Wednesday night step study meeting.  So today when I saw, "Nothing is so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all"  (Peter Drucker)   I knew that these would be good Step One questions for me to delve into:

How many tasks do I take on that don't need to be done?  Why?

How often do I add unecessary steps to a task?  (Often; because I'm a perfectionist.  But why?)

In my perfectionism, I tweak and tweak to get something exactly right instead of just good enough.  It makes tasks take way longer than they need to.  And it makes tasks seem bigger (and scarier) than they really are.

Now, back to work.

Pursuit of Leisure

Step One:  We admitted we were powerless over compulsive procrastination, that our lives had become unmanageable.

I don’t know whether or not to add the pursuit of leisure to my Step One inventory.  I guess it has to do with balance, motives, emotional/mental health, and service to God and others.

 I can pick up a fiction book and disappear every evening, staying up too late, until it is done.  That’s just plain greed (a character defect).  Or I can read it at a saner pace, if (1) it is not too gripping of a story and (2) I am in a better emotional state.

Sometimes I use TV when I’m avoiding tasks, and feel like crap later for wasting time.  Sometimes I get caught by a TV show’s story and stay up too late, wanting to complete what I started (or watch another show because the first one left me feeling unsatisfied).  Other times I watch TV because my time is freed up and I enjoy it, with no negative feelings about that choice afterward.

Sometimes I think I should be doing more for the world.  Volunteering, visiting shut-ins, etc.  Or at the very least I should be engaged in a creative pursuit.  I want to feel more useful, like I am contributing in meaningful ways. (Me, me, me!  Lol.)  I’ve been told I shouldn’t “should” on myself, but it’s hard to stop that thinking.

My hobby is creative writing.  I had to quit because I felt so frustrated and futile when I avoided it or made minimal progress.  Now that I’m in PA, I wonder if I should pick it up again and “work” the PA program around it.  On the other hand, my job is the real crisis, and I need my energy to focus on that.  Also if I have permission to not do my hobby, then I feel happier and freer, and I’m more available to my husband and young son when away from work.  But on the other hand, I am wasting time on mindless leisure pursuits and failing myself in the area of all this creative potential.  I just go back and forth, but I think the right answer is:

1       Focus on PA recovery at work

2       Be available to family

3       Give myself permission to enjoy my free time

4       Be aware of when I am going overboard on leisure, and seek God’s will

5       Cherish the thought of returning to my hobby later, when I gain some PA recovery and my son gets older. 

Can anyone else relate to this uncertainty about how much fun is appropriate? 

ruthb - Pursuit of Leisure

Hey ruthb, that's pretty much me in a nutshell. I overindulge in leisure activities, and I almost always give in to instant gratification. My drugs of choice are reading (in my worse moments I can spend up to 10-14 hours of almost non-stop reading if the book is gripping enough), playing computer and Playstation games (my family actually set up an intervention a few years back when I was hooked on World of Warcraft and frittering away my life), and TV (this isn't as big of a problem any more, but when I was younger I occasionally lived in between TV shows). I've realized that most of my decisions are the result of me trying to avoid facing stressful or difficult situations and choices, and most times even the smallest of tasks can give me stress, hence my chronic procrastination.

That being said, after coming across PA I *have* been trying to break the habit, but I'm sure I'm not doing things right because while I have reduced the insane amounts of time that I spend on "having fun" (sometimes I overdo it so much that it stops being fun, really), I still am spending way too much time on useless things that I'm not finishing things that I really need to do.

More often than not, I fall into the trap of rewarding myself with fun time after finishing a small portion of my tasks and then I end up wasting hours upon hours overindulging in my "reward".

Anyway, to answer your question, ruth: I mentally know how long (or little) I should spend on fun, BUT I struggle and nearly consistently fail to follow through with the time limits I halfheartedly set for myself =/ It just feels unnatural to "do the right thing" and stop reading/playing/watching when I know I "should".

Incidentally, I'm also into creative writing - something that I gave up almost four years ago because I became so frustrated with my inability to finish writing anything, and because I kept procrastinating on making progress. But I still want to write, and yesterday I started again.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action - Walter Anderson


How did you know? I was thinking same kind of stuff. Boy, I can relate 110%. That is why Step 2 is my favorte step. Keep coming bACK.Thanks for sharing your creative writing here.

Step 1 – Denial (Ruth)

Step One:  We admitted we were powerless over compulsive procrastination, that our lives had become unmanageable.

I am blessed with a patient boss and a compassionate husband.  They protect me from the consequences of my compulsive procrastination.  They are my enablers, who allow me to escape into denial.  Because I am so secure in these relationships, it is easy for me to forget that this is a serious problem.  For the most part, my consequences are internal.  Guilt, fear, depression, inertia, demand resistance, and feelings of futility from lost opportunities, low performance, and unmet potential—these are my pain.  I have many strategies to avoid the pain, to convince myself that all is well.  But they are self-destructive, and ultimately feed the downward spiral of internal consequences.  So my task in Step One is to stay real with myself.  I must identify the feelings, the consequences, the self-deluding strategies, and the errors in my thinking that drive this problem, to the best of my ability.  I really, really want to become a trustworthy employee and to live up to my creative potential.

I must also remember the flip side—workaholism.  For me it goes hand in hand with procrastination.  I don’t get my work done at work, so I take my laptop home and become impatient and unavailable with my family members.  I expend energy avoiding the work at home too, and end up accomplishing nothing.  At various times in my life, I have flipped into overdrive.  I have produced and worked so hard that I lost all perspective about the need for a balanced life.  I want to recover from procrastination, not flip the switch to jump to the opposite extreme.  My willingness to work Step One at both ends of the spectrum is reflected by my desire to live a healthy, balanced, emotionally available life.  

One thing I notice about what I just wrote—it’s all about me.  That is a big part of the disease.  The highest goal is to live in the service of God and my fellows (without falling into the pit of codependency, which is also all about me).  Maybe I’ll get there someday.

hey, that's MY story.

... except for the parts about an understanding boss (self-employed for 4 painful years) and spouse (my wife has flat-out had it). 

AA Big Book page 62: "Selfishness — self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we [choose ... well, poorly. We take the wrong turn at the fork in the road.]"

You've helped me remember something I really need today — to "take inventory" of my choices and feelings so far today (not good), work my way through a few quick exercises ( here's one example, more thorough than I use but easily modifiable.) that help uncover my self-centered motivations and fears, and then call my damn sponsor to report my findings and ask for some direction. Basic Step 4, Step 5 process, which — ported into a daily (sometimes every few hours) Step 10 — I know actually works. Changes my attitudes, every time. 

Hi Ruth

Hello Ruth,

I completely relate with your experience. Mine is pretty similar and like you, I have the blessing of an understanding husband and a patient boss. But I also sabotaged myself in previous jobs.  I started filing the first step worksheet and its hard work. Its natural to want to get away from all the "discomfort". After all, procrastination is a lot about avoidance and we have become expert at it. Morning and afternoon prayers help. I find comfort in one of the line of the Serenity prayer:

"Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace." 

Carpe Diem

AA approach

Thanks for your comment, Ian! I do want to use the AA Big Book. I've been in a different 12 step group in the past, and worked steps 1-7. I want to start over again at 1.

When I was in program before, I got into a really good space, spiritually connected, clear in my thinking.  I miss that.

my 12 Step experience

I absolutely want to work the Steps on my procrastination/perfectionism issues. 

I've been in other 12 Step fellowships for going on nine years. Here's my truth about it:

The thing that works for me about the Steps is that they are not a self-help program. They are instead a program of spiritual action. They are about slowly hacking my way out of a worldview that's all about me, and walking toward a way of life that's all about service, about being of use. They are about leaving behind a pervasive feeling of being apart from all that is, and embracing a pervasive sense of being a part of all that is.

All the good tactical guidance in the world — time management tricks, lightening up, buckling down, accountability calls, etc. — never helps me when I'm in that default "apart from" state, because I simply can't do them. Not with any consistency. On my own and trapped in negativity, I can't sustain any "program." I'm too wrapped up in my thousand fears and consuming self-centeredness. 

The only luck I've had with changing myself and my habits has come when I'm looking beyond the borders of self and ego for energy and guidance. I'm sure the same will be true with respect to procrastination, perfectionism, and being entirely too wrapped up in trying to control how others see me.

I'm finding this stuff extremely difficult to change, but my experience tells me that this simply means I have deeper surrender in front of me somewhere — if I work at it, there will come a point where I just ... let go of trying to manage these issues, and begin instead to let "god" direct me. (This ain't easy for me as I just don't relate to "god" as posited by the major theistic religions, but I'm finding my own way and slowly building a spiritual life.) 

So, for me Step 2 — "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity" — has been at one and the same time an eight-year-long odyssey and the essential key that opens up the possibility of change. I really believe that spiritual connection is the prerequisite for any kind of decent life for me. Working the Steps to find and maintain that spiritual connection is what affords me, as the AA Big Book puts it, "a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition."

Last word: I'm not a member of AA, and for years I thought "well, that's not really my problem so I'll just read my 12 Step fellowship's literature — I don't need to read the AA stuff." Now I know better. If you're going to work the Steps, regardless of the specifics of your affliction, I highly recommend grounding your program in the AA Big Book and 12 & 12, and in an old-school AA way of working the program. For me at least, the old-school ways work best because they're grounded in spiritual work, not psychological insight. Self knowledge is fine as far as it goes, but it can't carry me out of the hall of mirrors that my mind becomes when I've lost spiritual connection.

Here is a link to 12 steps

Here is a link to 12 steps worksheet that might help you. 

There is also a bunch of online versions of the AA big book. 


Carpe Diem


Thanks for sharing that, Marie :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action - Walter Anderson

Started Step One!

Well, I’ve started on Step One:  “We admitted we were powerless over compulsive procrastination, that our lives had become unmanageable.”  I made a commitment to write about all the ways my life has been affected by my procrastination.  I have a full page of handwritten notes, and I know I will discover more areas of my life as I sit with this.

 It was interesting that my verbal commitment during a meeting was to think about starting.  I also committed to write one sentence for a short story I have in mind.  I had an hour to do these things.  I only wrote 3 sentences for the story, and I only wrote one page on step one, and I felt like a failure because I didn’t write pages and pages in that one hour.  I felt like crap, that I had wasted that precious block of time.  This kind of thinking needs to be added to my first step!

Edited:  Now I have to add overeating to my list; I "use" sweets when I'm avoiding tasks.


I don't know if I'm coming down with something, or suffering from pre-travel stress, job stress, and "that time of the month".  I am trying something new. 

Yesterday a PA member made some very wise suggestions by sharing her approach to life:  Don’t dictate to God in my prayers, by asking (telling) Him what I need Him to help me accomplish today.  Instead, yield to God and ask Him to help me live and do according to His purposes, and leave any accomplishments in His control.  If I feel fear, then breathe in faith, trust and hope.  Relax in the belief that God is in control and has a plan, better than anything I can foresee.  These thoughts really resonated with me, because I was filled with anxiety to the point that I could not function.  Today I feel myself trying to take back control, and getting anxious again.  Must let go and surrender!


my internal censor squashes my creativity--how do I find balance?  Either going off in a thousand directions with new exciting ideas, or getting bogged down and stuck when it comes to execution.

Wish I had worked through the Artist's Way years ago, to learn how to free up my joyful creative side and also channel it into productivity (at least I think that's the goal of that workbook).

I don't have enough program

I don't have enough program to be the sponsor but am interested in working the steps. Vic told me about this site that sounds good:



Thanks tracy-la....

Thanks for the info.... do the Procrastinators Anonymous have their own workbook? KDZEE

Not yet that I know of!!

Not yet that I know of!! tracy-la


Thanks tracy-LA.... I see they are in the process of writing a PA Big Book....