|This has nothing to do with the post except that it makes me happy.|
According to AA, our resentments are what can send us into our addiction and keep us there. In addition, those same resentments can also send us back even when we think we're "cured" (which we all know we will never be). In order to avoid that, the 12 Steps help us to uncover those resentments, address them, make amends where necessary, and let them go.
What a wonderful organization and how fortunate the world is that they exist and have helped so many. I used to carry a lot of resentment about AA itself. Baggage gained in my past with my family and how they interacted with AA left me feeling that they were all a bunch of judgemental whiners who allowed the sickest among them to come and go as they please and continue to drink and drug at their leisure.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
And, in the spirit of the 12 Steps, it took me overcoming my resentment and attending meetings to really understand what the organization was all about. I don't believe I have ever felt more accepted and less shameful than when I was in those rooms. What a blessing to the Universe.
Just because I overcame that resentment doesn't mean I don't struggle with the tenets and philosophies AND the Steps, because I do and, up until last evening, I didn't have a clue why.
Here's the thing. I really don't carry resentment in my heart with one exception which I will get to in a minute. I never have and hopefully never will. I kept listening to people tell their stories and thinking, "What is WRONG with me? How deeply is this stuff buried if I can't access it and deal with it?" It took my 4th Step for me to really realize that I just had nothing to give. Other people had pages and pages of resentments to get through and I had only a couple. Mainly my immediate family with a special focus on my sister. But as I read over those I realized they weren't resentments per say, they were just angry thoughts that I pulled from my memory in order to get something on the page. Don't get me wrong - it was cathartic - it just didn't feel like it was what the Big Book intended it to be.
So I carried around this feeling of failure and not fitting in (sound familiar) because I couldn't even get AA right (because some of those folks can make you feel awful if you don't buy in 100% to all of it - most don't - but the ones that do...).
As I sat down to write about my dad yesterday, I realized that I really don't have any resentment to him OR my mom (who screwed me up WAY worse than my dad). They did the best they could with what they had. They loved in the best way they knew how. I was fortunate that nothing they ever did was malicious or evil - it was just who they were. How can I be resentful of that? Yeah - it screwed me up and I've spent a lot of time undoing what they did, but it is what it is. I refuse to spend the rest of my life agonizing and rehashing the same old shit. It's a waste of precious time.
After all, the statute of limitations on parental crime runs out when you are about 25.
I did carry a lot of resentment for my sister and what she did to her kids. There really is a psychosis involved there and a special kind of evil that exists in that woman. But whenever I felt angry or upset about something she'd done, I would rant and rave and get rid of it - even if I and God were the only ones listening. I would have died a long time ago if I had let that sit in my head and in my heart and roll around and own me. I just can't, never could, and won't live that way.
In fact, I've always reacted to being wronged that way. First, and this is the root problem, I blame myself and try to figure out my role in the situation. Then, I try and understand where the person is coming from and why they would have wronged me. Then I rant and rave or cry and pout or lock myself in my closet AND GET OVER IT. It may take a minute or it may take a year but I do move on.
Maybe it's how I survived the looney bin in which I grew up...who the hell knows.
The only real resentment I carry in my heart is the one that says I never was and never will be good enough. That's the one that drives my addictive behaviour and all the other reasons I'm a hot mess. It doesn't matter how or why it got there. It doesn't matter who is responsible because I'm all grown up now and WAY past 25. It just matters that it IS and that I fix it - which is what I'm doing now that I'm sober and aware.
So now I am vastly relieved that I did not "fail" AA nor did it "fail" me. For now it's just not a good fit. Who knows what will happen later? I may return and I may not. I know I will not drink. I know I will continue to do as I've always done and choose to fill my heart with love and compassion rather than resentment and anger. I know I will reach out and help and love because it's who I am and I've begun to embrace that part of me as good.
What a relief to finally give voice to what's been going on in my head for so long. What a relief to finally understand why I'm not choosing not to attend AA meetings right now. What a relief to admit that I was and am still loved.
What a relief to know that I don't have to dig up a bunch of crap that is long buried in order to stay sober! I can just...well...not drink!