Over the course of my life, because of my size and mannerisms, especially before I get to know someone or they get to know me, people have used words like intimidating, scary, and controlling to describe me. I have recognized that I have anger issues but have resisted identifying as resentful. I did find it kind of odd though, that if asked, I probably wouldn’t be able to remember what I had for lunch yesterday but I could remember specific things that were said in an argument months ago that made me angry. That’s not resentment though, right? The first time a sponsor suggested that I was allowing myself to be dominated or controlled by others through anger or resentment, I became angry and resentful towards him for months.
Often, as I am walking through a relapse with a client, the story will start with a minor event that has taken place recently, but the theme will quickly turn to several events from the past. Sometimes the distant past. In my own recovery, when I would act out, my focus was usually on some injustice I had suffered in the past. Something would happen today that led me to remember an event or events from the past that I hadn’t dealt with.
The Resentment Prayer from AA’s Big Book tells us that when we cling to anger or resentment we are allowing other people to control and dominate us. The sad thing is that many times these people that we are allowing to dominate us aren’t even thinking about us. The prayer goes on to say that the wrongdoing of others, whether imagined or real actually has the power to kill me! Even though I am convinced That I’m in control of my life and my situationI am allowing my anger towards someone to push me deeper and deeper into my addiction. What others do to us is sometimes wrong. I’t sometimes harmful and deliberate. But I can choose how I respond to it.
You may have heard someone talk about living life on life’s terms. What does that mean? It is to say, “Ok, Life, I see you. I don’t really like what you’re saying or doing, but I am choosing not to ignore you. I’m going to take you at face value and just do the next right thing.”When I woke up this morning, I made a decision to live in today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. I’ve had to recommit to that decision several times already but doing so allows me to process angering move on. It keeps me from allowing resentment to build up and control my behavior. The 4th Step Resentment Prayer helps me to do this in a real way. Thank you, Jesus, for providing freedom from anger and resentment.
If you are struggling with releasing anger and resentment let’s talk about that. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. he initial session is no charge. I’d be happy to talk with you.