Analysis is Paralysis – not…..

One of the more attractive and also one of the more unattractive elements of meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous is the propensity for people to use sayings or phrases which sound quite simple and concise but tend to block any real discussion of issues around them.

Anyone entering a rehab is likely to be exposed to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous either in the rehab or in the nearby area. The rehab itself is also likely to use many of the techniques and procedures of a therapeutic nature that can be found either in the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous or in the sayings heard at meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

One of the most famous and most used sayings often heard in Alcoholics Anonymous is ‘analysis is paralysis’ . The implication of this saying is that people should not think or look to analyse what is going on either in their life, their head or that sobriety, and should simply follow the AA lead in terms of their AA program .

Often the intent or thinking behind phrases such as analysis is paralysis is actually meant to be quite helpful.

The phrase itself was originally meant to help people not worry too much about the level of fear and intimidation and pressure that they might feel upon getting sober, and simply to trust the process of going through the steps as a way of helping them clear their head. At that level this phrase works fine and can be a help.


The problem is quite often that this phrase is used to block any meaningful discussion of issues that are connected with individuals dealing with their emotional sobriety . The reality of the 12 step program is that its whole focus is actually one of self analysis and self-awareness.

The self-analysis ranges from an individuals initial analysis of their reality about being sober, through taking a detailed inventory of their life and analysing their resentments fears and sexual conduct through to making amends to the people they have hurt and understanding how they may have hurt them and others .

The nature of any analysis can be done at different levels and in different ways. The analysis itself should be done without any self judgement either from the individual or from anyone else.

There needs to be a degree of objectivity concerning of the character and actions of the individual in order to allow them to gain a real measure of self acceptance, and a real understanding of what their life is and was and what their motives were.

When used correctly any self-analysis of one’s character and behaviours is the absolute route an cornerstone of sobriety, and of a real freedom to move your life forward .