Define "getting rid of resentments"

12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.
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Define "getting rid of resentments"

Postby Susan68 » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:34 pm

One issue that has eluded my full understanding is how we, in AA, are to deal with resentments. Obviously, we know we are not supposed to hold onto them, for selfish reasons (if we remain resentful we will get drunk).

We have to do really soul-searching self-analsyis in terms of wrongs we have done. We then have to ask God to remove our "character flaws." We ultimately have to seek out those we have harmed and seek to make amends (not just apologize). This has the result of humbling us, gives us peace, emotional equilibrium, removes shame, all of which lead to drinking etc. All sounds good.

However, I have heard more than one person in meetings say "you don't have to be their friend" or "you can take him/her off the Christmas card list." (Let me digress for a moment with an anecdote: when I went to that hardcore "strict constructionist" BB meeting, and was dismayed by the tone of the fellow conducting the "study" one of the things that really turned my nose up was this fellow, all knowing, all powerful, fully sober, so sober and sprititual he was sponsoring priests who, while they knew their faith well were not nearly as spiritual as he (I'm not kidding, btw), told a story about a guy he was pal-ing around with, with whom he was planning to do some "AA" stuff, who started going around town "scum-bagging" him (his term, not mine), and how angry he was, etc. He said he decided he had to make that amends, make things right, went over shook his hand, said "hey man, we have to stop this, etc."). This fellow then said "now don't get me wrong, he's off the Christmas card list, but I shake his hand when I see him, etc.).

This seems incongruent to me with the other tenets of this program. It seems it gives folks the ability to continue to "punish" someone who has harmed us by being cordial on the surface, doing that person no ostensible harm, yet maintaining, and letting him/her know deep down in theirs, that there is no redemption for that person in our heart.

This can't be right. It isn't right in the eyes of my HP, and I just know it can't be right for AA, but I hear variations of this theme repeateded all the time.

If we want redemption from our own alcoholic wrongs (both from our HP and from those whom we have harmed (presumably we are seeking legitimate forgiveness from those we've harmed and not just some sort of freedom purchased by orally broadcasting a recognitiion of the harm)) how can we not freely give that to others? Real forgiveness means second chances, putting them back on the Christmas card list, no?

What say you? (as Bill O'Reilly would say)

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Postby Susan68 » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:06 pm

post script . . .

If we are supposed to be of maximum benefit to others as opposed to ourselves, wouldn't true forgiveness of others fit in with that? For instance, I'm sort of anticipating what folks would say in response to my query and I presume perhaps one response would be something along the lines of not having to remain in toxic situations where someone is abusing you, etc. That's legitimate. In other words, if someone makes you feel bad then you're probably best off not having that person in your lfie (this is something I over the course of my life became expert at and took to an extreme, which led to dangerous drinking). However, if we are honest with those who hurt us, tell them honestly the impact their behaviors have on us and let them know, yes, I totally forgive because I need people to forgive me, but if you continue to do X, Y or Z I have to distance myself because it is detrimental to me, wouldn't that be a better way to deal with that situation? Because I truly believe the old license "take 'em off the Xmas card list" only give us, in our human weakenss, a more passive-aggressive means of retribution.

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Postby tim-one » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:51 am

Thanks, Susan.

"Fake it till you make it" is very important and much misunderestimated. (as Dubya would say)

It's very simplistic, but very important.

Bloviating (O'Reilly) as I am wont to do (yes I spaylt "wont" rite), faking it mean "practice", not perfection ... YET. Fake it with purpose like running drills till it's a habit, till you get it right. That's why athletes have coaches. That's why I call my sponsor Coach. Practice to excel.

TRUE letting go of resentments is from the heart. No human can get there just by saying it or acting it. It's still in there, just being ignored for the moment.

I know that I, just I, stuffed a whole bunch of resentments all my life. I acted like they weren't there until I forgot they were there. But they were still controlling my thinking. Then I gave booze the wheel and I started re-acting on them again.

It's easy to pray for an enemy through gritted teeth. Until you actually mean them well asking HP to do His best for them, you're still stuffing the resentment and a drink will boil it back to the surface.

The program is about psychic/spiritual change. It happens "sometimes quickly, sometimes sloooooooowwwwwlllllyyyy." The point is IT HAPPENS.

Doing the program is simple. LIVING the program, not so easy.

When I was 4-stepping, I kept coming to my righty justified childhood resentments. "I was just a KID, fer cryin' out loud. NOBODY can treat a kid that way and get away with it! I DESERVE this RESENTMENT!"

Truth is, being a child, I was selfish. OF COURE kids are selfish. IT'S THEIR JOB! So what ... I selfishly expected to be cared for and, by nature, that's what I expected. Simply, my expectations were too high. Had no control over that at the time. Tough. It's the truth.

Too bad. That po' baby grew up with an inner brat. That brat drank his due. Time the brat grew up into a responsible man.

Easy? HELL-FRIGN-NO! Necessary. You betcha! What do I have to do to dig it outa me? ONLY a Power Greater than ME can do that. TRUST. Oh, sure trust another authority like the one who treated me that way ....

NOPE! Trust the Father I wanted, not the dirt-dad I had. (human means "from dirt" ... not a hateful dig any more ... I understand now.)

I had to understand that he was a sick man and I inherited his illness. I understand his problem. He didn't have a choice that he knew of. I do have a choice and I made it. I chose life.

Not until I understood that, could I forgive him. Thus, I couldn't forgive ME. AND vice versa, until I forgave ME, I couldn't forgive him. That's totally an HP thing.

I began the process when I "got sober" 12 years ago as written in my poym posted under "Fake it till you make it".

Part of it:

Will I be judged grotesque inside?
A monster till the day I died?
Or by the things I’d said and done
Pretending to act like God’s own Son?

Give no thought to how I feel
When you’re in pain or need a meal.
I practice, practice, practice still
To heal my heart without a pill,
Till inside is as outside does,
Till monster is as Jesus was.

The brat in me revolts when prodded.
It’s him, not me! And God just nodded.
And so I bother, though it makes me wild,
To forgive my father and mature my child.

THIS time, I got it! I faked it till I made it. Done deal.

The final result is written in my poym posted under "Stepping out of dad's shoes". I MADE IT for real. I forgave my dad in my heart and soul. I understand and I pity him.

Part of it:

But older now, I understand
What dad so long endured.
The "beast" had stolen everything
He once found sweet and pure.

I feel his pain and loss of self
He lives still strong in me.
But even drink cannot make me
Be him. I’m kind and free.

I forgive my dad for all the wrong
He forced on me at length.
He owes me naught, the debt erased.
Oh, God, give me the strength.

Dad will not continue on
To cause me to be crazed.
With tools of love and sorrow sweet,
His grotto has been razed.

I AIN'T NO STINKIN SAINT ! No excuse. I can dam sure try to be one.


Re-read "How It Works" and "Into Action" slowly.
Replace all instances of "we" with "I".
Read each sentence twice and own it the second time

I'll point out a couple of quotes special to me changing we to I:

Pg. 66 -"This was my course: I realized that the people who wronged me were perhaps spiritually sick. Though I did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed me, they, like myself, were sick too. I asked God to help me show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience I would show a sick friend. When a person offended I said to myself, "This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done."

Now I have sympathy/empathy for them.

The brutal truth:

Pg. 74 - "The rule is I must be hard on myself, but always considerate of others."

It's MY JOB to not purposely offend anyone else. It's also MY JOB to be unoffendable.

I mean them well. I want God's best for them.

I've given them power over me far too long. The only one I hurt holding grudges was ME. It serves them right that I'm chewed up inside. I sure showed them!. I got everything they deserve.

Here's the really brutal truth:


Oh, man ... it hurts REEEEEEL GOOOOD ! For a minute. NEXT !

Hey, if I can heal a childhood trauma, the world is the sky. I can forgive ANYBODY if I can forgive myself and my dad.

Well, that's how it worked for me ... owning the program. Not just working it. Working it in.


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Postby ccs » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:35 pm

Susan68 wrote: However, if we are honest with those who hurt us, tell them honestly the impact their behaviors have on us and let them know, yes, I totally forgive because I need people to forgive me, but if you continue to do X, Y or Z I have to distance myself because it is detrimental to me, wouldn't that be a better way to deal with that situation?

chapter 6 INTO ACTION bottom of pg.77 - top of pg.78

We go to him in a helpful and forgiving spirit, confessing our former ill feeling and expressing our regret.

Under no condition do we criticize such a person or argue. Simply we tell him that we will never get over drinking until we have done our utmost to straighten out the past. We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worth while

can be accomplished until we do so, never trying to tell him what he should do. His faults are not discussed. We stick to our own. If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified with the result.

In nine cases out of ten the unexpected happens. Sometimes the man we are calling upon admits his own fault, so feuds of years' standing melt away in an hour. Rarely do we fail to make satisfactory progress. Our former enemies sometimes praise what we are doing and wish us well. Occasionally, they will offer assistance. It should not matter, however, if someone does throw us out of his office. We have made our demonstration, done our part. It's water over the dam.

LUV YA Susan :wink:

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Postby ccs » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:43 pm

OOOOOPPPPS :oops: :oops: sorry wrong step in above post but its still a solution that works :oops: :o

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Postby DiggerinVA » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:46 pm

When you follow the steps as they are laid out in the Big Book (or old Oxford Group stuff). You develop a conscious contact with God. When you do this, the guidance you receive from God will guide you through these mine fields. You learn to listen to God.

Now I will give you an example. My estranged wife of 2 and a half years at one time was my major trigger. She could send me out in emotional tailspins of epic proportions (some were really good benders). So the resentments were solid and guess what she still does the same things all the time. Now I see it, I can talk about it. But I don't FEEL IT, I Let God deal with it. If I did not do this I would be drunk today. I just cannot teach myself a Step sufficiently well to behave that way.

To me those folks are either faking it till they make it or maybe look at my example don't feel the resentment. So it is easy to be cordial to some one and just shaking your head about them the next (Puzzlement is what the head shaking is all about, I'll let you figure that one out).

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Postby Dallas » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:42 pm

Chapter 13, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 647 p.c. : How to think about it!

"No one likes the work involved... So, the heck with it! Just think about it! Yep! And, just fake it till you make it... no nead to do the real deal if you can wait long enoughl!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Might as well just pretend we're sober, too!!! :lol: :lol:

And, if you drink before you make it... as a result of still faking it... you can always come back and do it like the book says to do it! Unless of course... you end up like one of Bill's early sponsee's... that didn't make it! :lol:

Cruel and

Still spells "curd" but we can pretend it spells cured! :lol:


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Postby garden variety » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:55 pm


This is an excellent question, and you used a perfect example from your observations.

I heard a real SIMPLE quote, and I took it to heart. This says it all:

"Forgiveness has no degrees."

I prayed and meditated on that for a long time. It was really hard for me to accept. I either forgave someone, or I didn't. Plain and simple - there were no "varying degrees" of forgiveness. This is a hard thing to accept and to practice. It's not something I could have "faked it until I made it". Plain and simple: It was something I DID NOT WANT TO DO AT ALL. Period.

During the time in my life this "mental dance" with willingness went on, I heard another confounded angle to forgiveness:

"I can forgive, but I cannot forget" is another way of saying "I cannot forgive."

Lord have mercy! God, as I understand Him, wanted me to understand with absolute clarity, a totally honest visual of forgiveness. I couldn't escape this. If I forgive, I have to forgive completely. The reasoning behind it is just as simple:

"How do I want to be forgiven when I ask for forgiveness?"

But how to put this unpleasant tasting medicine into my consciousness? How in THEE HELL do I practice this?

For me it's always a matter of willingness. If I want to do this, I make a choice. I have freedom of choice now that I'm sober. I can choose to not forgive completely, or I can choose absolute forgiveness. What is my choice to be?

It's not a matter of "faking it" for me. I have to make a decision to do something I don't want to do. I have to make a decision which seems to go against everything inside of me. I have to make a decision that most folks would hold up to ridicule.

I still have to make those decisions today. Forgiving is something that requires that I think about my options. Usually, I don't want to forgive when I feel that I've been wronged. I go through the motions. I embrace the hurt - the feeling of betrayal that happened. I feel angry, sad - I often cry. I allow myself to fully experience the hurt. I work hard to do this without attaching guilt or shame - for example if I have a fleeting thought of vengeance. If I don't fully experience my own feelings, I risk that my feelings will express themselves regardless - probably at a time and place that I wouldn't want.

So I exercise my "freedom of choice" and do something I don't want to do. I walk through the hurt. I ask God for the Power to get through the hurt without causing any more harm to anyone else. I've been told this is "living life on life's terms".

After I have my time with my feelings, I'll reach a crossroad. I'll either choose to move ahead toward forgiveness, or I'll put it off until another time. Which means that I'll harbor a resentment. I still do it both ways today. I still harbor resentments, but not for a long time. That's how my "thinking apparatus" works. I have spiritual limitations which I'm essentially forced to live within which is spiritually wherever I am today - or whatever moment.

It's not comfortable at times. Sometimes I have to do a full-blown written inventory. I need to reflect. For me, forgiveness is a process.

The "final step" of that process happens on my knees. I've "worked through" my feelings and emotions and am ready to "move on" to make spiritual progress. I face the undisputed fact that I am completely unable to forgive anyone unconditionally. I don't have it in me. This is where the spiritual principle of the 7th step comes into play for me. I don't have humility. That has to come from God, as I understand Him.

If I had the Power to forgive anyone, I wouldn't need a God of my understanding. So I humbly ask Him for His Power to forgive, so that I can forgive my enemy, or the person that wronged me. Once again, this is something I don't like to do, and it's something I don't want to do. But at least I now have the freedom to make that choice.

For me, this is sometimes painful and slow.

But this is also unselfish constructive action. As I've learned, CONSTRUCTIVE ACTION NEVER FAILS.

I pray, on my knees, for God to bless the man or woman in the very same way He blesses me.

Whatever happens after that is not my concern. God, as I understand Him, will manage the details and the outcome.

The resentment vanishes. It's also a place where life begins anew with that person. Sometimes there is necessary distance, sometimes there is necessary closeness. Either way, it becomes a new beginning for me where I am no longer the judge or jury of the person that wronged me.

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Postby GeoffS » Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:24 pm

define getting rid of resentments:

ok, simple.

seeing my part in them.

That never fails to start the process.

Work out my part, talk it through with someone and my HP.

Learn my part, talk it through, ask for my defect to be removed,
make amends...

Hang on this is starting to sound like a step by step process I've heard about somewhere...

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AA Getting Rid of Resentments

Postby Dallas » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:39 pm

Steps 4, 5, 6 & .... (what's that one... that comes after 6??? ) Seven???

Oh my!!! Did I hear that somewhere before? :lol:

define getting rid of resentments:

ok, simple.

Did Paul mention "full blown Inventory?" Yes! And, the answer is "Full Blown Inventory!" :wink:

"What is a full blown Inventory?"
And, the answer is: "More than just making a list!" -- "It's a process" (as was mentioned)

What's the process? It starts with Step One... :wink: Then, when we get to Step Four (after taking Two and Three exactly like instructed by the BB)... it brings us to page 63... BB. We read from page 63... up to pg 64:

1. I listed them on paper (using pen and paper... and, by the way... black ink... no word processor or PC's allowed here!)

Page 64.... BB the additions (these things) are mine...

"Resentment is the “number oneâ€

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