Monday, October 17, 2011

Resentments

As I endeavour to work through the steps again, this time focused on the topics of resentments, I am surprised at how much space the big book devotes to the topic of resentment. On page 64 of the big book, in the opening paragraph on step 4,  it states "Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions." The book goes on to discuss the various manifestations of self by stating:
Resentment is the "number one" offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.
On page 66 resentments are further discussed:
It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.
Someone penned the idea that resentments are a form of suicide. They hurt us deeply, can be fatal in nature. Can take us out. When I am resentful, I am retaking control of my life. I trust no one. Humility is long gone.

The humility that is needed to stay sober, stay clean disappears when I become resentful. On page 21 of the Twelve and Twelve:
We know that little good can come to any alcoholic who joins A.A. unless he has first accepted his devastating weakness and all its consequences. Until he so humbles himself, his sobriety -- if any -- will be precarious. Of real happiness he will find none at all. Proved beyond doubt by an immense experience, this is one of the facts of A.A. life.The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we fist admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole Society has sprung and flowered.
When I was deep into resentments earlier this year, I was sober but emotionally ugly. No love to give, just feeling deeply selfish and depressed. I needed to get out of there or I would drink.I could no longer trust in my Higher Power or in A.A.

I became open and honest about what was going on internally, and in doing so I gained perspective. Others could point out the delusions in my thinking. Others that patiently supported me, giving me space to work out my resentments, to see them for what they really are. If you are struggling with resentments, reach out and talk to someone, even if you can't seem to trust or hope. If you hold them inside, nurture them, help those resentments grow, it leads to very dark places. Stay in the sunlight!

Rumi wrote a wonderful poem on humility:

Love whispers in my ear,
"Better to be a prey than a hunter.
May yourself My fool.
Stop trying to be the sun and become a speck!
Dwell at My door and be homeless.
Don't pretend to be a candle, be a moth,
so you may taste the savor of Life
and know the power hidden in serving."

Psychology Today has a good article and self-test on resentment.


4 comments:

Annette said...

So much wisdom here! Thank you for sharing that. resentments are a killer...I do agree. Hope you are well.

indistinct said...

I am well, Annette. Working the program is changing how I think and behave. I feel so much gratitude for how much my thinking has changed over the last couple of months.

Mary LA said...

Love that Rumi!

Syd said...

Resentments made me an ugly person. I was passive aggressive. And when the anger came boiling out, I said some ugly things. I am glad to have found a different way in recovery. Thanks for the Rumi. I read him and listen to CD's of his poems.