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Personal Craziness Index

"personal craziness index" or PCI (the people who use it call it "picky").

Carnes says on pg. 212:

"The Twelve Steps will help you learn the necessary skills, but you also need to develop a lifestyle that builds up reserves of strength and endurance.

Think of your life as having an addiction "set point" - the point at which the imbalance leaves you vulnerable to addiction, when you are too stressed or overextended to maintain your recovery.

By developing a sense of what your own personal set point is, you can be alert to maintaining the balance that makes you less vulnerable to the "friends" of your addict. The PCI on page 214 will help you develop some criteria for recognizing when you have passed that point of sanity and are at risk. The PCI thus can become a set of "training" guidelines under which you train for anticipated stress. In addition, by keeping track of your own PCI for a period of time, you will get better and better at maintaining lifestyle balance and having some fun."

There are then three parts to establishing your own PCI - preparation, recording/charting your pci, maintaining/tuning your pci. the book is set up in workbook style, so you fill in the blanks as you read (GO BUY THE BOOK! really, it will change your life!)

Preparation tracks 10 areas of your life and personal behavior that could have danger signs or warnings that you are close to the edge. he writes:

"Addicts and coaddicts are particularly vulnerable to the "insanity" of loss of reality from having neglected the basics. "Keep it simple" and "a day at time" are not shopworn cliches, but guidelines borne out by the experience of many recovery people. The PCI helps you to remember what you need to do each day. It helps you establish good recovery habits. Without a structured process to keep you on track, "cunning and baffling," self-destructive behavior patterns will return. You'll also find the PCI helpful during periods of stress and vulnerability."

the 10 areas are:

  • Physical Health
  • Transportation
  • Environment
  • Work
  • Interests
  • Social Life
  • Family/Significant Others
  • Finances
  • Spiritual Life and Personal Reflection
  • Other Addictions or Symptom Behaviors 
each person is asked to list 3-4 things in each area that are signs of danger.

Personal Chaos Index


  1. Hey! You're using my PCI -- I'm glad I helped!


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