Is Resentment the Number One Offender?

Is Resentment the Number One Offender?

What is at the core of your addiction?  I suppose everyone must answer it for themselves.   But I think it’s important to answer it.  For me it was a deep wound.  An emotional constipation.  A deep hurt that I didn’t know how to express  in a way that was healthy and appropriate.  Shame was at the core it surrounded the wound.

So when I finally got the spiritual and emotional laxative (therapy, 12 steps, God)  it took quite some time to cry it all out.  All that’s left now of my malady is a scar and a few old habits that die hard called character flaws.  Many of the character defects I acquired through the years of addiction, like resentment were nothing more than a distraction from my painful shame.   Resentment was a place to lay blame on how a felt.   I needed to lay blame because it was myself I condemned deep in my heart.
No, for me resentment wasn’t the number one offender, shame was. I mustn’t be ashamed and keep secrets. I try to stay clear of shame and be an open book. Writing and sharing…the truth sets me free. Shame….no one wants to admit shame.  People are ashamed of shame because it is perceived as weakness.  It’s a dirty little word.
It wasn’t the wound so much as the shame I blanketed it in that made me so self destructive.

I was taught to be ashamed of who I was, and that my feelings were wrong.   And that basically I didn’t even have a right to be on this earth. That’s a hard one to shake…so I drank.

Resentment is the acceptable blame based emotion that distracts me from my hurt and shame.  I am too ashamed of being hurt cause I see it as weakness.  So I cover it all up in a nice package called “blame” and put a big bow on it called resentment.  And I carry the package around with me never having to look at what is really inside.

That is until  I got sober nearly Ten years ago.  But for the Grace of God, But for the Grace of God.

THE CURE FOR MY  ADDICTION IS WRITTEN IN PART 1 OF THIS TWO ARTICLE SERIES-RESENTMENT THE NUMBER ONE OFFENDER.  http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/resentment-number-offender/

Is Resentment the Number One Offender?

What does it mean and who said it?  “Resentment is the number one offender”

Bill Wilson co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous wrote the phrase “resentment is the number one offender” in the Big Book.

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. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically. In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper. We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry. We asked ourselves why we were angry. In most cases it was found that our self-esteem, our pocketbooks, our ambitions, our personal relationships (including sex) were hurt or threatened. So we were sore. We were “burned up.”

On our grudge list we set opposite each name our injuries. Was it our self-esteem, our security, our ambitions, our personal, or sex relations, which had been interfered with?

It means that if we hold onto resentments then we will relapse and resentment is the cause of our relapse.  But really how true is that?  Well at face value it appears that resentment toward others and anger is the cause of our relapse.  It seems to be the most dominant emotion addicts have when going back out.

However, I am not so sure the resentment for others has taken the relaps-er back out.  I rather think anger and blame in the form of resentment is the survival skill which helps us live with ourselves when we step back into a life we know will kill us.  There is actually only one resentment that sends us back out if you look deeper into our hearts, which is a resentment toward self.

But what lies underneath our self loathing?  Our self loathing is at the core of all our other resentments.  Ask any addict in the midst of a relapse and he will most likely deny to you his self-hate.  Addicts carry much shame and shame is at the core of our deception to self and others.   Un-processed shame, and hurt are at the core of our addiction.  These are the feelings stuck in our crawl.  These are what carries us to the dope man.

Addicts suffer from emotional constipation and Shame is truly at the core of that stuck place.  Shame is my #1 Offender Resentment springs from Shame to cover it up.  SHAME SUCKED MY LIFE FORCE AND LIED TO ME FOR YEARS

Bill W. touched on it when he mentions “emotional disorder” he just didn’t elaborate or realize that emotional constipation which is disorder was at the core of most addictions. (At least that’s my theory.)

Hurt transforms into anger and we can’t cope with hating ourselves so we bury the hate into a thing called blame.  We are constantly on the look-out for new people, places and things to blame for the way we feel deep inside.  We deceive us and others.  We must resent people and blame them to deal with and cover up the way we actually feel about ourselves.  The only true resentment that sends us back out is the resentment toward ourselves.

Why do people claim they have a cure for addiction?  Why are some people cured and others sign on to the belief “once an addict always an addict”.  Simply because they don’t know the cure.  Or they have done one part of the cure and left off another.

What is the cure?

Find the core issues of the original hurt and pain, usually stemming from a very early age, and emotionally process them. (cry, scream, write, share).  Transcendental meditation will show us our core issues.  While at the same time we must develop new routines, new habits, new people, places, and things.  Find new goals and a new purpose for life that is healthy.  Work the twelves steps and learn how to use the steps when needed including the fear list and steps three, four, eleven, and twelve.  Work step twelve for several years or some kind of service work to build self-esteem.  And the big one (included in the steps) get a Higher Power by seeking with your heart and stay in contact with that Higher power as much as possible.

That all sounds like allot.  Isn’t there an easier softer way?  YES AS A MATTER OF FACT THERE IS AN ‘EASIER SOFTER WAY’.  But it’s not something you can buy or special order.  You can put yourself in a position to get it but there are no guarantees if you do get it how long it will last as your only source of recovery.    The white light experience straight from God is the only easier softer way.  Usually people who receive white light experiences go on to carry the message of Jesus Christ or God while not doing any of the 12 step work on their character flaws.  And why would they?  They are riding a pink cloud.  But pink clouds don’t last.  God will remove some flaws during this experience but seldom, well I have never ever seen God make anybody perfect…ever.  So usually these people fall into some flavor of character flaw.  Most likely they delve into judging others, get their resentment back and relapse.  Then they really hate themselves even more because now they are turning their back on a God they know exists.

I know, sad story…I am talking about myself during my first bout of recovery.  And I have seen this same pattern manifest often in others, usually Christians in recovery.  Never the less it does not mean God fails or Jesus has abandon us somehow.  It just means God clearly WILL NOT TAKE A HUMAN’S SELF-WILL.  He will enlighten us, but it’s up to us to go out and get fulfillment once we are enlightened.  Hence step eleven and why it works, it fulfills us spiritually.  Step twelve builds our self worth, and fulfills us spiritually.  Step Ten, well I have found that Ten really isn’t enough, but instead it’s step four that I need to revisit every six months to a year and do thoroughly.  When fear of relapse slips in, I remember two things, I have turned my life and will over to the care of God.  And the program works, I can turn to the program, work a step.  This is what keeps me sober after countless lapses.  Sure if I rely on me I will fail.  I rely on God, the steps, and the fact that I am being healed and healing by processing core issues.

So can I really call this a cure?  ABSOLUTELY! There are many things that humans have to do to stay well.  Such as eating, sleeping, nurturing and being nurtured.  We do not call ourselves sick because we require food.  why would I call myself sick because I require a spiritual program?

I DO NOT NEED TO CALL MYSELF SICK TO BE RECOVERED.  THAT’S RIDICULOUS!  CALLING MYSELF SICK AND AN ADDICT IS NOT WHAT HEALS OR KEEPS ME SOBER IS IT?

NO.  I WAS AN ADDICT FOR 35 YEARS I KNOW WHAT SICK IS.  I WILL NO LONGER CALL MYSELF SICK UNDER THE ILLUSION AND FEAR THAT IF I SAY I AM HEALED I WILL RELAPSE.  THAT IS A.A. SUPERSTITION AND LORE WHICH IS DERIVED FROM FEAR.

The 12 Steps- every resentment, shame, every guilt, every hate, every prejudice, every intense hurt, every theft. We do this till a light goes off and we then recognize our character defect patterns.  I recommend at least 1 page of writing for each offense. Repeat the process every year and when we get bungled up.

New fellowship either church, AA people, somewhere we can start a new social life.

Therapy honest and thorough, we must go back and feel the pain and process it out in an emotional way.

God-find your God

Set goals

We can change who we are but it takes work.  So what Life is work.

Be Sure to read part 2 “Is Resentment the #1 Offender?”

Entitlement, Expectations, and Gratitude

Gratitude is the opposite of entitlement. I have heard in the rooms that expectations are premeditated resentments.

One thing that can make me dissatisfied often if I allow it to creep into my life is an attitude of entitlement. Entitlement is a feeling of being deserving of certain things. My entitlement issues could spring forth in any area of life really. Maybe I feel I deserve romance, sex, Love, cars, boats, money, decent family, certain behaviors out of others, even good health. But what am I really entitled to? More precisely, upon which areas of my life shall I invest my deep feelings of entitlement? Best answer: None.

Naturally we are completely valid in expecting many things. Things like getting paid for a job we are hired to do. Or, to be treated with respect and with loyal regard by those who are named as loved ones and friends. If we buy an item from the store, we expect it to do what is advertised. These are valid expectations that are natural to have. However, the fewer and more cautious our expectations the happier we will be. Hope is the spiritual replacement for expectations.

Assuming and expecting are pretty much the same thing. When we “assume” we expect without having all the facts we should but when we “expect” it’s supposed to be “based in” fact.  Some situations are highly predictable and others are not.  Some people and situations catch us totally off guard.

Firstly, we should expect human beings to act like humans

that way we won’t put too much stock (trust) where it is unwarranted.  People will mess up repeatedly, intentionally and unintentionally including ourselves.  Keeping an open mind especially were dating and commitments are concerned will save us from emotional crash and burn. If all we see in our potential life partner is the good, then we probably don’t know them well enough to marry them- yet. Granted there are exceptions to every rule but going into a relationship commitment with a well balanced view of who we are committing to is better than going into it with eyes half shut. Sometimes we want something so bad we white-wash it and then when the fairy tale phase is over…it all comes crumbling down. Addicts are famous for marrying prematurely.

Alcoholics and addicts tend to see things in an all or nothing, good or bad light sometimes. But truly good people do bad things and bad people do good things and even more appropriately,

human beings should not be labeled good or bad but rather just human.   And humans have a good side and a bad side.

It’s important to understand and know ourselves in depth so we can know others. Working the 12 steps is one of the best ways to gain wisdom and understanding of ourselves.

As children of God we deserve good things. As recovering addicts, we can’t afford to plant our hearts in entitlement. And so- we cautiously hope for good things and when they don’t happen we keep our eye on the prize which is meeting our maker. And we stay grateful for that which we DO have.

CHARACTER ASSASSINATION ON FACEBOOK

FACEBOOK IS A PRIME PLATFORM FOR CHARACTER ASSASSINATION.

So what is the legal definition of defamation of character and who does it really hurt.
Defamation of character occurs when someone makes a false statement about you that causes you some type of harm. The statement must be published like on a Facebook page(meaning some third party must have  heard or seen it).  It must be false, and it must result in harm, usually to the reputation.
Defamation of Character Lawsuits happen all the time.

In recovery, if we are in a 12 step program that means we are trying to live by spiritual principles.  It means that we have put our life in God’s care and we are making an effort to trust God with our well being.  This spiritual recipe for living takes revenge and doing harm to others off the table.  It means that when we are wronged we pray for our enemies and try to understand that when someone trashes us on Facebook they are a sick person and their actions are rooted in fears of various flavors.

WHERE THERE IS A RESENTMENT THERE IS A “MY PART” GETTING TO THAT CORE FEAR IS WHERE I FIND MY SOLUTION TO HATE

So when I see my picture plastered all over someones FB wall with lies and vicious comments and I want to destroy the person I don’t  Furthermore I may want to call their parole officer and report them for this real crime of defamation of character.  But I don’t.  Also this is a man that I have done many good things for.  I helped him in many ways and with charity.  So, I pic up my prayer tool and pray for him.  I ask for  all the blessings of heaven and earth to cover him.  I never argue and engage in defensive strategies.  I call another person in the program and vent my anger.  I write a Step Four resentment grid that might look something like the following.  And remember just because I know that I am right and good in my intellectual mind my feelings have a mind of their own.  My heart does not have to be either logical or reasonable.  To expel the resentment I examine my own core fears.

“I resent John Doe because he told lies about me on Facebook.  He said I am bad and a liar.  He said that I have stolen from the most innocent and needy of victims.  He said that I am greedy and a pirate thief. ”  I ask myself “what is my core fear behind the resentment?”

FEARS

I am afraid that others will believe the accusations.  This fear is rooted in my own insecurity.  My heart thinks I am not good enough and not as good as other people.  I fear at my core that somehow what this man said about me is true.  (illogical but real and important to recognize).  My carnal reaction is to run to my own defense and argue and send out messages to the people reading the lies.  I fear I am not good enough. I fear that God will not protect me and that certain and sure damage will be done to me by these evil posts.  My society fear kicks in (reputation), my security fear kicks in because he is also crucifying my business websites as being unfair, evil, and dishonest.

Although I have taken no wrong action since I have resentment and want revenge I now have a “my part” that needs addressed before I can let it all go.  So what is my part?  I am not trusting God and I have certain insecurities called “fear of what people think of me”.  This is why the mans sin angers me and I am resentful.  I want this man to be righteous and he isn’t.  So I have some “controlism” in there also.  Please know that at the same time my anger is just and my feelings which want my reputation clear are just as well.  Nevertheless I want the resentment and obsession over it to be gone so I….

KARMA AND POWERFUL LOVE

I ask God to remove my character defects of fear, control and distrust of God. and to replace them with Love and understanding  I DEPLOY LOVE IN DEFENSE OF EVIL AND FEAR.  I ask God to help me trust Him and to give me understanding toward the man.

Jesus said pray for those who despitefully use you.  It is also written In Proverbs that to “return evil for good” is one of the most dangerous sins because of the karmic laws in place.  I helped this man and had good motives and actions toward him.  He took my charity and crushed it under hate and fear.  So me and this man bot have fear it’s the actions which define us, not our fear.  Without fear their is no such thing as courage and overcoming.

Proverbs 17:13

Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good.

My anger is valid and the proper reaction to being attacked.  But I am responsible for processing my anger.  The man that told the public lies cannot relieve my anger and resentment this I must take action to relieve.    And so I have done the work to fend of bitterness.  I am no longer hurt by the wrong done to me.  However the man that did the deed, unless Grace intervenes to block the karma of “evil will never leave his house” he is majorly squittled.  His hate and wrong actions toward me will never relieve his feelings of fear and wrath.  By his actions he intensifies his short-comings and he works on separating himself from his God.  He is making a spectacle of himself to the people who see through his actions.

NOW THEM BY WHO THEY SHOW YOU THEY ARE, NOT BY WHO THEY TELL YOU THEY ARE

A good and spiritual man will rarely engage in rallying support for the direct punishment of another human being.  Good people know that if we are wronged we pray for that person not trash them on Facebook.  We recognize that if someone is trashing another person on Facebook it is most likely the man doing the trashing who is actually the guilty party.