Clancy’s Seven Questions

For Sponsors, Sponsorship and Newcomer’s

The original Clancy’s Seven Questions was something I wrote down, while I was talking with Clancy I., on the telephone during one of my weekly check-in calls with him.

To keep the story short — I wrote down the questions WRONG! And, I had already posted them online in a private closed group that I was using to help some of the people I sponsor. The following week — on my check-in with Clancy — I let him know how it was going — and I mentioned about giving out copies of the Seven Questions at the local meeting where I also gave a Big Book Study and 12 Step Study — and, that I had posted them online in the private group.

As I was talking with Clancy on this call, I mentioned one of the questions. And, he yelled at me “I never said that!” 🙂

If you’ve ever misquoted Clancy — you know the kind the energetic discussion that we had! And, I immediately corrected what I had posted online and handed out in the meetings

Well. As things happen on the Internet — Someone else posted them on a public site — and said that Clancy had given them to him. Then, about a dozen other sites posted them on their websites — claiming that Clancy had given them to them. Each time, most of them had posted copies of the wrong questions and answers. 🙂

Then, about a month later — another Fellow posted them (the almost correct one) in a Facebook group — which he had invited me to join.

This fellow was not aware that Clancy is my sponsor, and that I was the original guy who wrote these questions down — which were now getting mutilated!

He went so far as to say “Yes. Several years ago — before I started drinking again — I was at a workshop in Texas, and Clancy was sitting next to me and he gave me a copy of these Seven Questions.” 🙂

I know for a fact that this could not have been true — and I offered him a tip: “Why don’t you check with Clancy on what you posted and ask him about it!” (I don’t think he could have handled the butt chewing that he would have got, had he asked him!).

Why is this important to tell you?

  • 1. I assume if you’re going to take the time to read it — you want to get it right.
  • 2. This is a powerful tool to help others — when used correctly.
  • 3. NEVER misquote Clancy.
  • 4. Clancy DOES NOT use these questions to substitute for a 4th Step. (which I have heard others say he did, and they are wrong).
  • 5. And, be careful about what you read and hear — not only on the Internet, or Facebook — but, even in AA meetings!
  • 6. ALWAYS — tell the truth! 🙂

REMEMBER: These Questions are NOT to be used as questions for the 4th Step!

And, they are NOT to be a substitute for the 4th Step.

Clancy’s Seven Questions

Guilt, Resentment, Fear, Feelings of Personal Inadequacy, Loneliness: The five areas that seem to cause the most serious problems for people in recovery.

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 writing.

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 Clancy’s Seven Questions:

  • 1. In looking back over your life – what memories are still painful, guilty, dirty?
  • 2. In what ways do you consider yourself an inadequate person?
  • 3. Who do you resent – and why? Be specific.
  • 4. What do you conceive to be your defects of character – as you see them today?
  • 5. 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?
  • 6. In what way do you believe that A.A. can help you with any of these problems?
  • 7. 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 begin to apply some solutions 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.

In gratitude and in service,
Dallas B.

P.S. Thank you Clancy for all of your help, and for the structure, responsible behavior and discipline that you taught me, and for all that you do for Alcoholics Anonymous! My life would not be so good without you!

NOTES: 1. In the forums here at, Dallas B., wrote a extensively about the Seven Questions and different ways that he used them and what his results were. 2. If you have a question that you would like to ask Dallas B. about this topic — use the contact form here on Step 12 .com — and, we will be sure that your question gets delivered to him!