"We think it dangerous if he rushes headlong at his economic problems. The family will be affected also, pleasantly at first, as they feel their money troubles are about to be solved, then not so pleasantly as they find themselves neglected. Dad may be tired at night and preoccupied by day. He may take small interest in the children and may show irritation when reproved for his delinquencies. If not irritable, he may seem dull and boring, not gay and affectionate as the family would like him to be. Mother may complain of inattention. They are all disappointed, and often let him feel it. Beginning which such complaints, a barrier arises. He is straining every nerve to make up for list time. He is striving to recover fortune and reputation and feels he is doing very well.
Sometimes mother and children don't think so. Having been neglected and misused in the past, they think father owes the more than they are getting. They want him to make a fuss over them. They expect him to give them the nice times they used to have before he drank so much, and to show his contrition for what they suffered. But dad doesn't give freely of himself. Resentment grows. He becomes still less communicative. Sometimes he explodes over a trifle. The family is mystified. They criticize, pointing out how he is falling down on his spiritual program." (126:1–2, 'Alcoholics Anonymous')
"A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations, and affairs." (19:1)
"There had been a humble willingness to have Him with me and He came. But soon the presence had been blotted out by worldly clamors, mostly those within myself. And so it had been ever since. How blind I had been." (12:6)If I am not practising the programme in the home, I am in serious trouble. I am given inspiration, strength, and direction not to pursue my obsessions but to do God's will, which is my true heart's desire. And that will lie principally in my role in the lives of people around me, outside AA and inside AA, although I will probably not realise that at the time.
Trouble is, I have Little Plans and Designs (63:1). If I get over-involved in these Little Plans and Designs, I will neglect my true purpose. The harm that I do is always two-fold: I am doing harm in the place where I am but should not be, and I am doing harm in the place where I am not but should be. When the clamours of these Little Plans and Designs get loud enough, the voice of God is drowned out, and with it the connection with the spirit within me that will pull be back from the brink, from the drink, from the other 'stuff' that'll kill me in those mental blank spots.
This little inventory, based on page 126, can serve as a Worldly Clamours diagnostic tool—not by focusing on the Little Plans and Designs (as is the case with the Step Three Requirement inventory and the Step Four inventory) but on the knock-on effects in my home life of absorption in such plans. The inventory can also be applied to AA life, with a bit of adjustment: the family dissensions (117:3) can be in the AA family, too.
1. Am I tired at night and preoccupied by day?
2. Do I take little interest in my family/flatmates/close friends/AA family?
3. Do I show irritation when reproved for my delinquencies?
4. Am I dull and boring with my family/flatmates/close friends/AA family?
5. Do they complain of inattention? Are they disappointed?
6. Am I straining every nerve to make up for lost time? Am I striving to recover fortune and reputation? (Am I putting so much time into AA that I am neglecting my job, family, and other responsibilities?)
7. Do I make a fuss over family/flatmates/close friends/AA family? Do I give them 'nice times'?
8. Do I show contrition for the suffering I have caused them in the past—or am causing them now?
9. Do I give freely of myself?
10. Is resentment growing—on my part or theirs?
11. Am I withdrawing—becoming less communicative?
12. Do I explode over a trifle?
We are extreme people, and the pendulum can easily swing too far. This inventory, with any luck, will go some way to relieving the 'blindness' (or, more properly, deafness) caused by worldly clamours.