- Step 4 - listing Resentments

Step 4 - listing Resentments




12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

Step 4 - listing Resentments

Postby anniemac » Fri Mar 23, 2007 2:24 pm

"We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry."

With whom we were angry, at the time we were listing them? Or with whom we had been angry at any point in our life, even if we no longer harbored that grudge?

Curious how you all interpret that.....
anniemac
 
Posts: 409
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:42 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Postby Dallas » Fri Mar 23, 2007 2:45 pm

Depends.

Dallas
Dallas
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4781
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas USA

Postby anniemac » Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:01 pm

:lol: Alrighty ~ I'll bite....Depends on what?
anniemac
 
Posts: 409
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:42 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Postby Dallas » Fri Mar 23, 2007 6:33 pm

I believe it depends on the person who's taking the inventory, and... it could depend on their sponsor's suggestions (assuming they have a sponsor).

Example: When my sponsor suggested that I begin making my resentments list for my inventory... I was so grateful to have a second chance at sobriety... I didn't believe I had one single resentment against anyone. So, had the decision been left up to me... I could see no reason to even make a list! Why would I make a list if I wasn't mad or angry at anyone "currently" and why would I make a list if I wasn't mad or angry at anyone from the past?

My sponsor was wise enough to know that I might be a real intelligent guy... but, I was none too smart about recovering! :lol:

So, he looked at me, and said "Dallas, your case truly is different and unique... and, since it is... I think you should get yourself a few pads of paper and begin listing the names of every person that you can remember since you were born!"

Crap!!!! Oh what an order! How am I going to go through that one?

Well... he eventually cut me some slack after I had several names written down... and ... after I had their names written down, I suddenly remembered why I had been angry at them! :lol:

So... first of all... that's why I say it depends! :wink:

Next... to come up with an acceptable answer to your question... for me, I would look at the Big Book's instructions, and see if I could find out "So... what's the deal with this inventory thing anyway? What's the point? What's the purpose?"

And, I think that by approaching your question in that way... the answer will become clear to you in regards to precisely answering your question. :wink:

When I read all the instructions for the 4th Step... a couple of things that come to mind, for me, right now: 1. I'm trying to discover "what's blocking me"? And, 2. I want to discover this information... in a "general way."

So, maybe the answer to your question is a question.

Could you discover... in a general way... what has been blocking you... if you listed "With whom we were angry, at the time we were listing them, Or with whom we had been angry at any point in our life, even if we no longer harbored that grudge"?

My answer to that question would be "yes, I could."

For me, "denial of my resentments and the harms done to me" had been my lifetime design for living "the easier softer way." (Meaning: How I lived my life... BEFORE taking the 12 Steps). And, because some of the harms and hurts were so painful... I spent years stuffing and hiding and denying and pushing it deep down inside me. And, I got drunk! Over and over and over and over again! (That was my solution -- to deal with my emotional conflicts).

By the time I was five years sober... I had taken two 4th Steps. (Because I hadn't taken the first one correctly). And, right after my 5th sobriety-birth-date... I had been asked to be a speaker at speaker meeting. I thought that all went pretty well and that I had actually did better at speaking that night than I had on other occasions. I went to bed pretty happy, peaceful, serene, and feeling good. Suddenly... the thought crossed my mind, that I had forgotten to get on my knees and thank God for the day, before I went to sleep. When I got on my knees all of a sudden memories of some real bad stuff that happened to me as a child came to the forefront of my mind!

I suddenly remembered... that this was one of the things that I had spent years of drinking and drugging to help me avoid thinking about it. When I couldn't get it to go away, I used to drink or drug myself into a blackout! And, without our AA Design For Living and a Loving God, as I understand Him... I would have either drank, used, or put a rope around my neck to avoid the emotions!

I didn't do another "4th Step" over it... that isn't what the 4th Step is for. But, I did do a "10th Step" --- using the same exact format that we do for our 4th Step on Resentments. On Sunday morning, I sought out a close AA friend... who was to hear my story. This wasn't a 5th Step... but it's the same process as the 5th Step... that we do in our 10th Step. :wink: And, the problem was removed!!!! I had been set free.

I hope I didn't get way off topic... with my answer, of how "it depends." :wink:

Over the years, I have been asked that question numerous times... and to me... it still depends. Sometimes, with a little closer observation of the question it turns out to be a 10th Step question, rather than a 4th Step question, and other times... it really is a 4th Step question... and the answer can be different... just as it can be different... in regards to "who's taking the inventory and what their specific situation is."

That's one of the reasons I am so grateful that I have other members "experience" to help me in my own discoveries. And, that alone... is a good reason for me to "keep coming back!" :wink:

Dallas
Last edited by Dallas on Mon May 21, 2007 3:56 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Dallas
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4781
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas USA

Postby anniemac » Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:45 pm

Thank you, Dallas, for your thorough answer.

My reason for asking was that a sponsee is writing out her 4th Step, and she asked me if she needed to go back through her whole life and list anyone she had ever been mad at, even if she was no longer mad at them. As a sponsor, I'm still quite green and lacking in confidence.

This woman has a tremendous amount of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in her past from multiple people. Because that could keep her busy for a while, I told her that for this 4th Step, she didn't need to list the neighbor who grabbed the doll out of her hand when they were 5, if she no longer harbored anger toward that person...and that if she felt the need after we got through this go-round, she could certainly go back and do another 4th on what remained.

I guess I understand the "it depends" theory (although I soooo dislike non-concrete guidelines!)....on one hand, if I no longer resent the boy who pulled my hair in kindergarten then I may not need to list him; however, if there's a long-standing pattern that any time someone was aggressive toward me that I in turn behaved poorly, then it seems to be something I need to look at.

Hope I get to the point where I can tell, with various sponsees, what best suits their needs.
anniemac
 
Posts: 409
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:42 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Postby Dallas » Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:50 am

Hey anniemac!

Yep. I understand about "concrete guidelines." :oops: It's interesting to me, that the more I study AA history... absolutes in AA (other than absolute abstinence from alcohol)... never did fare too well. They couldn't be swallowed by Alkies in the beginning -- and was one of the break-outs that were done away with in regards to the Oxford Movement era (pre-A.A.). And, with those alcoholic personality traits of mine... rigid, hard-nosed thinking were always a preference! :oops: They were always good-enough reason to tie one on! :wink: (When I install cabinets... or anything that has to do with screws... it bugs me if all the screws are not turned to the absolute perfect degree of angles). :oops: However, I am making progress!!! :lol:

Last night at one of my meetings the topic was going to be Steps 8 & 9 -- figuring there wasn't really much to talk about with Step 8, since most of it was completed in Step 4 -- and we'd spend most the time on Step 9. I had decided to read the 12 & 12 earlier in the day -- and re-reading what Bill wrote on Step 8 -- seemed to me, good enough reason to pull a change, and do Step 8 for the entire meeting last night... and then cover Step 9, next week.

The things that Bill wrote in Step 8, added a fresh perspective for me, with some interesting ideas to consider in regards to Step 4. And, it also shed more light on the "how" -- "God removes" character defects through the actions of Steps 6 through 9. (My analytical mind always wants to figure out how God does stuff!).... :oops: Tied in with a reading of the "Spiritual Experience" in the back of the book made for some good reflective new-thought considerations!

Dallas
Dallas
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4781
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas USA

Listing resentments

Postby Jim W » Fri Mar 30, 2007 4:36 am

Say a prayer, or better yet, write it at the top of a piece of paper: "God, please show me what blocks me from You." And then start writing and see what comes. The rule of thumb I use is that if it comes to mind, write it down. You will know when the list is long enough.

I remember an experience I had writing my first inventory. The name of a fifth-grade teacher came up. She had slapped me on the side of the head in front of the whole class because I in the fifth grade I was a little smart-aleck (still am sometimes). When her name came up, the same sense of outrage and embarrasment came to me. I was thirty-one years old when I wrote the first inventory, and hadn't thought of that incident or that person in years. I had only thought that I wasn't angry anymore, but it was still there. The word resentment means literally to re-refeel, and that is what took place.
Jim
Jim W
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 12:27 pm
Location: Everett, WA

My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Sat Mar 31, 2007 8:58 pm

It's not the incident and/or person so much as the "trigger" it caused. Reaction is a defense mechanism...somebody did 'this' to me once, nobody's gonna get away with doing (whatever 'this' means to me personally) again, thus--up goes the "great wall" of stone around me. Maybe I've forgiven for a certain action, but have I truly forgotten/let it go. I've learned, and largely from meetings, that if someone says something that "gets on someone else's nerves", it's generally not about what got said or who said it, yet--those words caused a dander for some reason on a sub-liminal plane--might not be the words or the person, either--might be a certain vocal tone that subconsciously and mysteriously makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up...if I am to be fearless and thorough, then I must be willing to look beyond the present situation and start digging if I have to. A friend (of Bill W. :wink: ) told me once that the answers are deep within me, I just have to be willing to unlock the cage--that's all. Once the cage is unlocked, when we are ready for the answer(s), they'll surface. God don't give us more than we can handle--if I'm not ready emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually for a certain answer NOW (even though I might think I am), the answer to what's blocking me may not surface now...but that don't mean I stop digging...while I go on ahead and do the work I'm to do--on other things that are sitting at the surface--when I'm ready for it--that answer, too, will surface. For me--it wasn't about not passing my drivers license test the first time--even though, that's what ate at me, because I didn't tell anybody that I failed it :oops: ..it was what caused/set-up the entire situation, and the emotions that rode along with that day. Once I finally told somebody (and this was my first dip of the toes into the steps), what was revealed to me as a result was, indeed, an awakening. I'd had no idea--until I told somebody what I'd been keeping to myself for--18 years. Wasn't about the license--it's what lied beneath the surface that was killing me inside. It was a WOW moment--cuz then--I got the gist of just what doin' the steps is all about. I was advised--the first time I dove in, to pick just one thing--might not be what this person was "supposed" to recommend, nor would he recommend it to someone else--maybe (it depends :wink: ), but for this particular time, just pick one thing and do a step 4 (kind-a like a coat, try it on for size; or a vehicle, take it for a spin/get a feel for it). It worked...for me.

Now...if any-a that made sense--hats of to ya'll :wink:

Keep it between the ditches, kids :)
Peace,
Anne M.
musicmode
 
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 8:11 am
Location: alberta

Postby Dallas » Sun Apr 01, 2007 3:03 pm

I've tried the prayer deal, like was suggested ... "God, please show me what blocks me from You" and the answers that I seemed to be getting back made me wonder if I was doing it right or not.

The answers I got back were things like "I want to go to Las Vegas for the weekend"... or "Let's go get breakfast"... or "Let's go shopping! I want some new clothes!"

So, it became clear to me that God likes to eat a good breakfast, go buy some new clothes (especially on Thursdays), and then go spend the weekends in Las Vegas.

I never did get fully convinced as to whether it was my head or God's Head that was giving me those answers... in regards to "what's blocking me from God" -- but, I did follow through with taking God to Las Vegas and it seemed to make Him real happy.

Of course, it was okay with me... because I had a good time, too! So, I guess that, too, "works if I work it!"

It was suggested to me that I might want to try to follow the instructions in the BB, as best as I can and see how that works out for me.... rather than asking God about the instructions. :oops:

I guess other people have a difficult time believing that the God of my understanding seems to be so different than the God of their understanding... because my God usually tells me to go out and do fun stuff and have fun and laugh and play... while their God keeps them busy on trudging up painful and depressing stuff.

So, now... when practicing the 12 Steps, I try to follow the instructions that are written down for me... and I continue to pray. God doesn't seem to mind waiting until after I'm finished with my Step-chores... before I take Him shopping or whatever we do... as long as my Step-chores don't end up taking too much of the time that I can be out playing and having a good time with God, doing the stuff that He wants to do! :wink:

Dallas
Dallas
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4781
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas USA

My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:04 pm

Could it be...for me...that impatience is a big blocker?? :oops: . It would appear that the God of my understanding has to walk me thru scenarios. Take this morning, for example...not even a half an hour ago. Went to the bank, I saw from outside that there was a line-up at the instant teller. No biggie, decided to just wait in the car. As I sit and watch, I see that this line isn't moving, and there's one guy in the line-up who starts to pace around. Hmmm :?: :wink: . I continue to watch, still from my car...then, the thought occurs from "seemingly out of nowhere"...I hear they aren't in a line-up, they're waiting to get inside the bank itself for an appointment--there's nobody at the machine. What do I do? I say: "there's nobody at the machine?" (an example of questioning). I get out of my car, go inside...sure enough...nobody at the machine. The 2 guys (some line-up, huh? :oops: --ahhh...perception, perception :wink: ), by the way...are impatient :lol: , especially the one pacing around :wink: ...they decide to leave and return later. What led me to go to the bank to start with was worry. I was on the brim of panic, as I was sure I was a little shy of funds for the house payment, I check...I'm nowhere close to shy, there's a couple of hundred more than anticipated--worry caused me to forget that payday, which was automatically deposited, was Friday. What would have been a "normal" procedure to unfold here, is that--that worry/panic would've either: a)seeing the "line-up", I'd have likely still raced into the bank, and been pacing around like that other guy, or b)drive away and come back later, the worry escalating...or even c), there would've been a time when--upon going back later, I'd have seen I had more than enough--and then would've went across the street after acquiring this knowledge, and have a drink to calm down (the bank's right across the street from the bar--talk about convenient misplacement :wink: ). The God of my understanding showed me, using a scenario, this morning...worry is a blocker, yes...I was worried, but where impatience would normally over-ride all (which is a truth about me :shock: :oops: :roll: :wink: ), I would not have heard, or seen any of the "big picture". Conscious contact...as the result of working this program...is as open or as closed as I choose it to be. He'll walk me thru, or--let me go it alone, what's the choice to be? My choice is...I have made the decision that I can not go it alone. "By myself" is what got me here. He will lead me thru my fears, to show me that there is nothing to fear, there never was...I just didn't believe that. I am powerless, I admit that, and I admit that "by myself" doesn't work, constant mayhem "by myself". He will show me, teach me, talk to me...using whatever means necessary to get thru to me--if I'm willing to watch, learn and listen.

Later, kids,
Peace,
Anne[/i]
musicmode
 
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 8:11 am
Location: alberta

Next

Return to 12 Steps

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests









.








12 Step Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery | - Step 4 - listing Resentments



cron