The Topic is Resentment, and Boy Does That Tick Me Off

I don’t think I’ve done a Monday meeting wrap-up in a while.  We have been holding steady… today we had 9 attendees, and several are newer “regulars.”  One gentleman had been with us a while back, and is now resuming his attendance.  People who come back to meetings after having been absent always provide excellent insight, at least to my way of thinking, so I got a lot out of today’s experience.

Today I selected a reading called “Watching Out for Anger and Resentments,” from the book Living Sober.  I had a specific reason for picking this chapter.  Over the past week, I have had 5 very different, very disturbing dreams that, one way or another, referenced my time in active addiction.  What’s most troubling to me about these dreams, other than that they are recurring, is that I have no conscious disturbance in my life.  Each morning that I woke up from one I spent time reflecting on what can be causing the subconscious turmoil, and I have yet to pinpoint a reason.  Life is still really, miraculously good… so what is the problem?

In AA, we are taught that resentments are “the number one offender,” so I picked that chapter from the book, and we had a meaningful discussion after the reading.  Here is what I uncovered for myself at the conclusion of the meeting:

  1. As always, I have more resentments than I realize.  After reading all the different ways resentment can manifest itself (hostility, contempt, rigidity, cynicism, to name but a few), I have more going on than I realize.  What’s been missing from my personal equation is taking the time to figure out all that is going on in my head, talking about it, praying on it, and listening for His answer.
  2. Bringing a resentment to a final conclusion.  It is not enough to just figure out, “oh yeah, I have a resentment about that.”  I have been doing that with certain things in my life for months on end now.  Once I figured out that I have a resentment, I need to Let.  It.  Go!  And that is the one I thing I have refused to do on a number of issues.  I guess there is some progress in acknowledging the resentment, for most of my adult life I did not have the skill set to do even that.  But now I need to take the next logical step, and remove the resentment from my life.
  3. A woman in my meeting was telling me how much her marriage has improved.  She said to her husband, “What made you change?”  He replied, “I didn’t change, you did.”  So we talked about how his behavior had really stayed constant, but her acceptance had increased, and thus the entire relationship improved.   Kudos for her!  Unfortunately, the same thing can happen in reverse, and I’m afraid I am guilty of it.  One small example:  my son has been severely testing my patience for close to two weeks now.  It seems as if there is an argument of some kind at least once a day.  In reading the chapter today, and digesting the sharing afterwards, I realized that his behavior has been consistent, it is my attitude that has changed.  So until I can get my head on straight, he is going to drive me crazy.
  4. Finally, and this is an off-shoot of point #2, I need to take the time to figure out how to resolve the resentments in my life.  There were several alternatives discussed in today’s reading, but the one that resonated most with me was:  ask yourself how a reasonable, well-balanced person would solve this problem, then act as if you are that reasonable, well-balanced person.  This made me laugh out loud, because I can’t tell you how many times I have said exactly that to myself… “how would a normal person handle this?”  Where I fall short is the acting as if part, and I realize, yet again, it is not enough to think my way into right acting, I need to act my way into right thinking!

Today’s Miracle:

It is a picture-perfect fall day here on the East Coast, and I am grateful for the beautiful season we are having!

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Posted on October 14, 2013, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. What a great post! I relate to every one of these. I especially like #3 because kids do tend to stay consistent in the way they project their emotions until a better way is explained to them or a better way is mirrored to them. It’s a picture-perfect day in Arizona too. Almost like a second spring!

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    • Glad to hear the whole country is experiencing this fine weather, and today looks like another great one for us. Ooh, Arizona, that sounds awesome, I have only ever driven through! It’s so true, isn’t it? I would love to melodramatically declare how much my son has changed, and that is why he is driving me insane, but he’s the same 10-year old boy he’s been for the past almost 365 days (his birthday is this Friday, which may account for some of his hyperactivity!). On a positive note, I refused to give in to his temper after school yesterday, and remained calm and consistent, and I went to bed A LOT more peaceful than the night before… so there’s some progress!

      Thanks for the comment, Karen, hope your weather stays beautiful!

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  2. for me, the best way to get rid of a resentment is to make an amends. I was taught you only make an amends once you are ready to change the behavior and after you make an amends, you can’t go back to the old behavior, otherwise your amends meant nothing. WOWZA, but it works.

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    • Thanks for commenting! And you are not alone in suggesting that an amends is the way to go. Not coincidentally, the last time it was suggested, I completely ignored the suggestion, and guess where it got me? More of the same discontent. So I am going to take your advice a lot more seriously. Thanks so much for your insight!

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  3. I get jazzed up about this topic because I can yap about it all day. #1 killer amongst us, inventory, 10th step, etc. I mean, it’s so easy to cop a resentment, isn’t it?? happens often, or not so often – depending on how spiritually fit I have been as of late. Or that moment. lol. Depends on my experience with that thing or person. Depends on a few things, but I know that when I get it, I *do* have to work step 10, or I start to carry it. And I do carry some sometimes. I still have a handful of amends that still need doing. Daily amends I don’t do often because i do the things I need to do so that I don’t need to make an amends …ha ha. But I have my days.

    It’s what you say here though – action. We can see it and recognize it, but going forward in it is what helps me. I ask God to remove the resentment (and I will tell you – that works about 80% of the time right then and there), thank Him for being in my life, talk to someone if need be (doesn’t have to be a sponsor), make amend if needed, then turn my attention to someone else. I don’t always do this, and the first year and half it was hit and miss. But it’s just been through trying to be conscious of it all the time that I am now starting to catch them. Same as fears. And dishonesty. And selfishness. i still need work on those, in terms of catching them. Sometimes I catch them later on. But I still try.

    So letting go…hmmmm…easier said than done at times, but I like the idea of doing it regardless. That’s a step 7 kind of thing for me. Act as if what I have asked for has already been lifted, ya know? Act my way into better thinking, etc.

    Anyway, great topic. Love it. Great outlook there too, Josie!

    Blessings,
    Paul

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  4. I read, and read and all I could think of was “the pay-off.” I have a pay-off that I am not willing to give up. When I look at my resentments I see I am pissed at someone because they are doing something I allowed them to do. I have this feeling that they are doing something ‘to me’ rather than ‘doing what they choose’. There is a reason (the pay-off) I engage and then resent … What is it? That’s my problem, You said it perfectly “until I get my head on straight”

    IMO, it’s not the resentment I need to give up, It’s the pay-off. The pay-off is where my power lives and letting go of resentment means letting go of a measure of power.

    As always, just my opinion, my take on recovery. I realize lately I’m getting bolder with my comments, and you, my beautiful one, are the last person I want to offend. I adore you.

    Me

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    • First of all, I sat and thought about any possible way you could offend me, and I came up with zero ideas. I look forward to your comments so that my current ways of thinking are challenged, and boy did you hit the mark this time!

      The pay-off. So amazing that I would read this comment this morning, yesterday I had yet another round of incidents where I repeated the same action but expected different results, and I said to myself, “WHY!?!” So I get to read this comment and realize, yes, there must be some gain, although Lisa, I’ll tell you, off the top of my head I have no idea what it is! But I agree there must be one, even if the gain is sheer laziness because I don’t feel like trying something new.

      I am really, really, really going to take some time today as I make my son’s birthday cake (remember the Pac Man cake from last year?), and try to ponder what exactly is my pay-off.

      And I will appreciate your insight and generosity as I do so!

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  5. Fabulous Post!!! Thanks for sharing… Happy 24!

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  6. Thanks for this! i’m going through some issues with my daughter (16, if you remember!) and talked to my sponsor about it and he suggested i do a 4th Step with her. i nodded and said i would, but now this post has reminded me i have no idea what he meant! So, i’ll talk to him on Saturday morning at our weekly meeting after the meeting. Thanks for the reminder, i’ll be sure to let you know any wisdom that may drop!

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    • Oh, Al, please please share what your sponsor says. Because I would really need to hear the rationale behind the plan of doing a 4th step, right now I am ready to murder my son!

      Thanks for commenting, and seriously… please share your sponsor’s insight!

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  7. Big Hello Josie,
    I haven’t been here for awhile 😦 But we got all moved to Sunny Arizona. This is a REAL Big one for me! OH, I love the little CAT PIC TOO! This was one of my Worst Character defects I had to work one Big Time, resentments always ADDED FUEL To the fire of my gambling addiction. Sounds kind of dumb, but for some reason I always said that Resentments as Fuel gave me Entitlement to keep on the CYCLE of the disease. Not ANYMORE! We need to learn to “LET GOD” and “LET GO”….my HP is G-D, then when you let go, DON’T TAKE IT BACK FROM HIM…..hard lesson to learn, but we all are a Work in Progress, and with the Help of AA or GA, we can get there! Great Post! Hugs & Blessings, *Catherine* 🙂 🙂

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  8. So much good stuff in this post. Troubling dreams seem to hit me in waves, and often when I don’t have much outward stress or inner turmoil going on. Maybe it’s just that our subconcsious is too exhausted to dream weird stuff up during really stressful times. But like you said, even during peaceful times, I always have resentments brewing. I’ve felt lately how dangerous they can be if left to feed and grow.

    And if there’s one helpful, simple tool I’ve taken away this week, it is to ask myself “what would a reasonable, well-balanced person do??” haha, I really loved this. Like most people, I don’t think clearly when I’m upset over something, and this new way of looking at a problem helps remove the emotion and should get better results!

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  9. “Make it your practice to withdraw attention from past and future whenever they are not needed. Staying in the NOW allows you not to be trapped by your mind.”

    Love that from the Power of Now. Just takes lots and lots of practice.

    Like

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