Resentments: Praying for others or looking at ourselves?

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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Resentments: Praying for others or looking at ourselves?

Postby ceedeells » Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:43 pm

For my part, I would like to keep my question as brief as possible, yet detailed where necessary and I would value the opinions of others greatly. I am not a newcomer - more of an old timer in fact, however, one thing niggles me and its practices in London UK, where I live,continue to this day.

If I pick up a resentment, then I was taught in Step 5 how to deal with that resentment immediately - I am an alocoholic and I could not afford such infestation for any length of time. In the beginning, when I first went thru the steps, I voiced my resentment(s) to my sponsor. I gave him MY (distorted) perception. He listened and in turn, began to tell me what HE saw....from another persons point of view etc. Thru him questioning me on these resentments I became aware of how I had exaggerated times/events I had lost sight of the truth, of what really happened. I had invented stories, deluded myself and had cleverly managed to always clear my side of the street and blame others. Together we went in search of the truth.....we tried as best we could, to get things back to their normal size (mountains out of molehills etc) whilst also looking at a given situation from another persons point of view (from many different points of view infact). Somewhere, in all this was the truth. From there, for the first time I was helped in seeing my part in these events. Thru the Step 4 columns, I was now looking for where I had been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, frightened or inconsiderate. Only one of these things had come up, in order for me to pick up the resentment in the first place. That was my introduction to handling resentments and over the years, very seldom am I disturbed by a resentment in the first place, if I am, an immediate programme begins in me, to see my part and quite miraculously peace of mind is returned forthwith.

However, there is a growing group(s) among us that have quite differing views in handling resentments, or as they say, if one is upset or annoyed with anyone. Upon their own leaflets, alomg with a list of things they must do daily, is set the following: Pray for him/her. EG: 'Pls God, b;es XXX and let him/her have health, prosperity and happiness', or. 'Pls God, give me the tolerance, pity and patience I would cheerfully grant a sick friend', or 'Pls God, give XXX everything I would wish for myself.'

These words are not knew, I learnt some of this BEFORE I had the tools (given in Step 5) to deal with such problems.

My own view on this practice is that in recovery, one continues the 'Old Behaviour'. One continues to look outside of oneself and blame others, for their received upset. One misses an ideal opportunity, if one looks within oneself, to find our more about oneself and to correct ones own shortcomings etc. One is far less inclined to be judgemental and one certainly has no right to look down upon another human being, especially with pity or anything else.

Other daily activities that are set in stone by these groups are: making gratitude lists daily, phoning newcomers daily, readings daily, service daily, etc.

I would value your opinions as one then questions whether I have misunderstood what these groups are about, as they are so hell bent on reciting the BB and informing others that this is what the BB teaches us. Have I missed something?[/b]

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Postby Dallas » Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:34 pm

Hello ceedeells!!! Welcome to the site! It's great to have you and your question. My hope is, that not only will you find the answers to the things that you search for -- but, that you'll also stick around and become a regular here -- reaching out with an offer to help them. We have many thousands of more readers -- that come through here looking for the answers, but often, they don't take the time to ask the questions, or they join the forum and haven't developed the courage yet, to raise their hand and speak up! So, you, indeed are most welcome and encouraged!

Other than the praying for the others, the other things you mentioned can be found in the book, or at least the "concept" (such as gratitude lists -- will be found in the Chapter to Wives, under "counting our blessings") of the suggestion.

Our BB, tells us specifically and precisely what we need to do and suggests what we not do -- so that we can recover. If we stick w/ this book and it's instructions -- my experience is, that we will not only stay sober, but we will create wonderful lives that really are worth living -- sober.

My very first sponsor told me: "Dallas, if I ever ask you to do something that can not be backed up by what you'll find from the front cover to the end of page 164 -- disregard what I've told you. It isn't worth knowing, and even if it is worth knowing... you might end up drunk from doing it. So, keep it in the book and you'll be fine." He also told me, "If you are ever in a meeting -- and what they are doing is not in the book, I suggest you not do it." He said, try to be reasonable w/ them, kind, patient, loving & tolerant -- because each group is autonomyous. If they want to stand on their head until their ears turn read as they read Chapter 5, they have every right to do that. It's their Group's choice." He said, "If you don't want to do that, because it isn't in the book, you can go to a different group. Or, get a coffee pot and a book and start your own group!" :lol: (However, he did suggest that I get through the Steps first, and acquire at least a little bit of time before I did that!)

AA Groups are not the AA Program of Recovery. The Group is simply a group of like-minded AA's that have a place where they meet for Fellowship and to offer to be of help to each other and the new person.

I don't mean this, as "we do not need the Fellowship"... we do need it and we should want it. We don't have to throw out the baby because the bath water is dirty. And, we don't have to change the water. We can always hold the towel or clean up after the bath. In other words -- we can always find something to do to "be of service to the group" to support their efforts to help other alcoholics -- even when we know -- that what they are doing... isn't what they should be doing.

Our book suggests that we be helpful -- to anyone that is attempting to help alcoholics to recover.

Another thing my first sponsor told me was: "If I ask you to do something, I don't mind you asking me to shw you where this is in the book. And, always feel free to ask the Group, or the person in the grou 'where can I find this in the BB?' and expect them to show you."

Now, off topic -- but relates -- my current sponsor -- if I were to do that with him... he would tell me that he doesn't have time to discuss it with me... do it or else find another sponsor. :lol: :lol: (I love him and I have so much respect for him and for his example of his works, that I have no need to question him. And, even though there were times he was suggesting something to me... that I couldn't yet find in the book, sometimes a year later, I would find it in there!).

Each one of us must take responsibility for our own sobriety. And, we can't take responsibility for anyone elses sobriety. When a guy comes to me and says "I keep relapsing and will you sponsor me?" I ask him "Are you willing to give up all your old ideas that you've been getting from the meetings you've been attending -- and start fresh out of the book?" :shock: (All habitual slippers think they already know everything about AA... from all the bad info that they've picked up in meetings. Some of the stuff that is said in meetings... will get an alcoholic of my type drunk... if we do it that way!) :lol:

Every time I hear those in AA spout off about "praying for the other guys" etceteras... I ask them "Where in the BB can I find this? Will you show me?" And, for the last 23 1/2 years... thousands of meetings, and tons of people that said it... NOT ONE has ever showed me where they found it! I read the book every day, and read it through regularly. I'm always finding things I didn't find before -- but, so far... "praying for others" is not one of them. What I have found is cautions and warnings that indicate "don't do that! It will lead to trouble!"

One of the reasons that the BB was written... was the "fear"... that the AA Program of Recovery... which was being "carried by word of mouth" would screw up the whole deal and they'd all end up drunk! :lol:

This is the PRIMARY reason that the BB was written -- was to get away from "the word of mouth message of make it up as you think it up." And, to eliminate the problem of us all getting drunk -- at the same time! :lol:

They figured that "If one person is reading the book... he/she will be able to 12 Step those that didn't!"

I could share w/ you the many places where it indicates not to pray for others, but I think you know your book well enough to know where they are!

Here are a few more things that you'll hear in meetings that you won't find in the BB:

"Just don't drink"
"Just don't drink no matter what"
"90 meetings in 90 days"
"meeting makers make it"
"don't make any major decisions for a year"...

Those things don't work for the alcoholics of the type that the BB was written for.

Sorry my answer wasn't as brief as possible -- I must have needed to share that for me or someone else... and not you. So, please forgive me!

Best wishes,


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Postby Danni » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:11 pm

Dallas your answer was not brief at all! :lol:

Welcome Ceedeells. I hope that you and A.A. are doing well in the UK!

Great topic! Dallas didn't leave me any room to add anything. Shame on him. I agree with what he wrote I wish he had not written so much because he pretty much said it all. Nothing to add other than sometimes during one-on-one work with the girls I sponsor I do offer them some other tools that are not in the BB. Mostly they are relationship tools that I've picked up from Dallas here in the forum or via emails and telephone. I do just with the girls just what he did with me. I explain to them that these tools have helped me. They are not in the book. They are not A.A. If you want to use them I will share them with you. If you do not want to use them that's fine.

There are many good tools and books that can help us in our recovery. I use them. I share them. Always with a disclaimer though that "this is not A.A.". I do not share this information in A.A. meetings because I do not want a new person to get confused. In A.A. I only talk A.A. Period.

I learned from Dallas to question boldly. The only dumb questions are the one's we don't ask. The Big Book is our only authority on the A.A. recovery plan. Not the 12 & 12. Not any other A.A. literature. The other literature is fine and good. Most of it. But I think a person should be sober and through the 12 steps before they read it. Just my opinion.

Sorry I haven't been a regular lately. I'll try to change.

Love and hugs to all.


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Postby ceedeells » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:00 pm

Hey Dallas & Danni,

Thank you both for taking the time out to both read and reply to my questions. Dallas, I had a sponsor very much like you used to, reminding me, that if it was in the BB, then I MUST do it - if it wasn't, then it didn't matter. I was also told to ask him, if I did not understand why I had to do was imperative I understood what was happening, and why.

Danni, I too have acquired many tools over the years in AA. As we evolve in AA, so does my does my illness. Described as 'cunning, baffling and powerful', my programme and recovery has to remain as powerful.....over the years, the tools I acquired, and practiced with, have helped in making a future for myself and my two sons, given me continued peace of mind, and enable me to live freely with the world.

I have taken on board all your comments and have chose (for today, lol), to say nothing directly to this group. however, when I do listen to one of them do a chair (speaker), then I shall continue to ask, as I have done to date, where is such a thing written in the BB that you describe, that you tell US, that we must do in order to remain sober.

Wouldn't it be boring if we each spoke EXACTLY the same language.....

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Postby Tim » Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:42 am

Praying for others against whom we have a resentment is a suggestion found in the stories section of Alcoholics Anonymous. "Freedom from Bondage" is a much-read story that was first published in the 2nd edition and has been been included in every edition since.

"If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don't really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love."

Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, p. 552

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Postby Dallas » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:59 pm

This is what we were mentioning above. It's a story in the back of the book, that conflicts with what's in the front of the book. It's something that helped somebody... and the stuff in the front of the book will help ALL who use it.

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Postby DiggerinVA » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:03 am

I'm not too bright so I try and stick to the book.

On resentments. from the 10th step found on page 84 paragraph 2 lines 6-10

"Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone."

What i understand is when I see a resentment I pray to God to remove it. Then discuss it with someone, they have a different point of view than mine. Then I make restitution when required.

That has worked well for me so far.

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