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How to let go of resentment (the biggest cause of my drinking)


How to let go of resentment (the biggest cause of my drinking)

Old 02-22-2017, 02:53 AM
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How to let go of resentment (the biggest cause of my drinking)

Hey everyone,

I'm coming up on 15 days sober but it's still been very tough not to drink. I joined AA and I've been reading the Big Book, which has been hugely helpful. There's a passage in one of the first few chapters about how ''resentment is the ultimate killer of the alcoholic'' and, boy is that true.

Let me give a little background on how I realized I had a problem:

I'm 22 and I always had sort of questionable drinking habits (drinking more than my friends, having a hard time stopping once I started, etc.) and this scared me because my dad died of alcoholism when I was very young. I knew to be careful and I only had two rules that I thought would keep me safe: 1. Don't drink alone and 2. Don't drink when upset.

A month ago, I immediately broke both of those rules and found myself on a three-week binge. I went through a painful breakup after someone I loved with all my heart cheated and lied to me. The sad part is that I still tried to make the relationship work because I couldn't let go.

She was hysterically apologetic for a few days but I couldn't fully forgive what happened. She ran out of patience and said we were breaking up because of me and my inability to trust or forgive. She's done feeling guilty and won't even give me the time of day anymore.

She made me feel so incredibly loved and lifted my desire to drink at times, but also brought it back in full force whenever she would hurt me.

I have so much resentment about everything that happened--the fact that she's happy, living her life without me and maybe even seeing someone else while I feel deserted and forgotten.

The only time I don't care or feel okay is when I drink. But I learned three weeks ago that this just makes things worse in the long run. Still, when the pain strikes, it can be incredibly difficult not to pick up that first drink and just relieve everything for a few hours.

Any advice is appreciated!
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Old 02-22-2017, 03:33 AM
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I have a similar experience with an ex. When I started my journey of sobriety. I learned to pray for those that give me resentments. I prayed for my ex daily for a couple of weeks and miraculously those long felt resentments have disappeared. The memories comeback and I feel resentment creeping back and I pray. As for forgiving people, I never forgave anyone it didn't fit into my pity party. Sobriety has taught me that me forgiving someone is my way to let go. I can't control anyone therefore if someone wrongs me, then I take my inventory to see my part in it and forgive them for them being sick then pray for them. This doesn't mean they get to be apart of my life.
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Old 02-22-2017, 03:38 AM
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I realize you are only 22.
May take some time but, a sign of maturity is
letting them go and praying for their best.
This for many people helps to ease the breakup resentment.
Keeps the heart healthy.
Best when the next one comes along.
Odds are she will not be the last?
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Old 02-22-2017, 03:57 AM
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The best quote I ever read about resentment

the second best quote:

I'm gonna go all old Grandad on you now...

you're a young guy with your life ahead of you - you will have other loves and one day you'll find the love...this love is not that love.

don't get stuck in this resentment cul de sac, Issac - it;s hard to move on with your hands around someone else's throat.

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Old 02-22-2017, 04:33 AM
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Have yon considered seeking counseling? As has been mentioned, resentments are purely self-inflicted. Sometimes time will heal but a lot of us need more than that.
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Old 02-22-2017, 04:38 AM
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When we don't drink and work the program of Alcoholics Anonymous with a step sponsor we learn how to seek release of resentments. " When dealing with resentments we set them on paper. "

"The sense of release at finally facing ourselves is indescribable. These are the first fruits of Step Four."

Many of us drank AT people. I'll show you - I'll hurt me!

I tried sobriety at 22 and 32 and 42 and 52. At 54 I'd had enough and have a few years of sobriety now. You don't have to live with that pain - you don't have to drink.

Alcoholism's root causes may be numerous and difficult for us grasp. Regardless, it makes little difference. Notably, there is strong evidence of genetic links though. It is wise to address this at a young age. Your life can be hugely different in sobriety.

Don't drink, go to meetings and work the steps with someone who has done them.

Keep coming back and keep reading.
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Old 02-22-2017, 06:07 AM
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the steps of aa helped me find causes and conditions for the mass quantity of resentments i had and helped me be free of them.
that line you quoted,"resentment is the ultimate killer of the alcoholic", is from the 4th step. thats where i learned causes and conditions for my resentments,fears, and the sex inventory helped me learn even more.
my 4th step was done,of course, after i did the first 3 steps.
then after the 4th, continued with the rest of the steps.
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Old 02-22-2017, 06:20 AM
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What does the alcohol and the ex- girlfriends actions have in common?

-they are outside of you.

You are depending on something outside that you can use to make you OK. Then you turn over control.

There is a better way. Over time you can retrain yourself to be your own rock that doesn't spend all its time reacting.
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Old 02-22-2017, 09:30 AM
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Whenever I have a resentment I ask: "What's MY part in this?" It really helps cut resentments, especially when I was the cause of the problem. With sobriety you can grow and change, not make the same mistakes again. IF you drink it will only get worse. Good luck.
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Old 02-22-2017, 09:32 AM
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What Dee said.
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Old 02-22-2017, 12:28 PM
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I find it helpful to take names out of an event to look at it objectively. Usually I can understand why the individuals involved made the choices they made or reacted in the ways that they did, in light of the situation they were in.

The hardest things for me to accept are times when I have hurt other people. I have to keep in mind that I was not fully aware of what I was doing. When people hurt me, they were not fully aware of what they were doing. Hurting people hurt people. It's the same reason we drink. We don't know what to do with all the hurt we're carrying around, so we try to numb it with alcohol or drugs or sex or whatever, and we end up acting out our pain on other people.

I'm glad you are beginning to recognize that the relief you get from drinking is only temporary. I had a very hard time quitting drinking, bcause I was SO conditioned to automatically reach for the bottle any time I had an unpleasant emotion. I quit, I rode out the withdrawal, knowing it was temporary.. and then I just stopped being afraid to face my feelings. I just let whatever was going come up, come up. And some really dark stuff did, and it was excruciating, but I HAD to learn that my feelings were temporary and weren't going to hurt me. Then I started to respond to stressful emotions differently, until eventually, alcohol wasn't my go-to coping mechanism anymore. I didn't need it.

Sorry if I went on and on.. I just passed six months and I'm happy about it, especially after going through quite a bit of depression these past couple months. The main factor in my depression was resentments.
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by IsaacT View Post
Still, when the pain strikes, it can be incredibly difficult not to pick up that first drink and just relieve everything for a few hours.
One of the hardest lessons I got from recovery was that it is okay to feel discomfort or pain. That's part of life, and people with way more woes than me manage to deal with it sober.

If they could, so could I.

Only alcoholics are willing to trade a few hours of "relief" for the long-term misery of our addiction.
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:15 PM
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I forgot the most important part!

Try to take a lesson from everything, because everything that happens to you is meant to teach you something. What could you do differently to make sure you don't have to go through the same pain again?
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Old 02-22-2017, 02:12 PM
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I'm going through similar - I'm 45 and fully aware that holding onto resentments harms me and is useless, but when you have been hurt its not easy to just let it go and move on.
I brought it up in my group today and the leader suggested writing down all my feelings onto paper, any feelings that come. I went home and wrote two sides of paper so many feelings and words flooded out, I ended up really crying. I then burned it and I do feel better. Sad and a bit low but I don't feel like numbing it with alcohol anymore - today anyway.
Try to go with it and feel and grieve and cry, don't go to alcohol to block it out. I know it hurts, time will heal.
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Old 02-22-2017, 03:52 PM
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There is a bit of work in dealing with resentments. It is just one of many character defects discovered and analyzed in step four (inventory) where we learn their futility and fatality. We go on with steps five through nine to clear away the wreckage, and maintain that state with ten and eleven.

Having done the big part at age twenty two, the whole process became a lot simpler as I lived in steps 10-12, particularly step 10, cleaning up any new mistakes as I go along. This doesn't allow any new garbage to collect.

Today I find two simple prayers help me through each day. "God please take these stupid thoughts away" and "God please send me the right thought or action for this situation."

When I have had real trouble getting rid of a resentment, prayer has found the solution for me, amd that usually involves me forgiving and/or making amends for my part.

It is a design for living that really works.
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Old 02-23-2017, 11:16 AM
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I agree with those who have said prayer, most definitely. A slightly adjusted serenity prayer helps...

God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change.
The courage to change the person I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I use this version of the resentment prayer...

God, I have a this pentment towards X that I want to be free of.
So I am asking you to give X everything I want for myself.
Help me feel compassion; understanding and love for X.
I pray that X will receive everything they need.
Thankyou for your help and strength with this resentment.

I also like this prayer (the Do It Anyway one)

God, help me to accept that people may be unreasonable and self-centred. Let me forgive them anyway.
Help me to accept that if I’m kind, people may accuse me of ulterior motives. Let me be kind anyway.
Help me to accept that if I find happiness, people may be jealous. Let me be happy anyway.
Help me to accept that the good I do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Let me do good anyway.
Help me to accept that I may give the world my best, and it may never be good enough. Let me give my best anyway.
God, help me to remember that it is between you and me. It was never between me and them anyway.

There are also some great AA speaker recordings that deal with this area. Might be worth having a browse... Search for "resentment" - AA Speakers & Tapes - RecoveryAudio.org

Also, don't pass up the opportunity to chat this through with someone in AA who has already worked the steps and seems to have a healthy sobriety. It's fine to just ask someone at the break or after the meeting if they have a moment to spare you to help you work through some stuff you're struggling with. I'm taking it that you don't have a sponsor yet, but if you do have one, open up and let them help you work through this. This is what the fellowship of AA is all about. Even further into recovery it's easy to get so caught in the vortex of an emotional dilemma that we can't see the wood for the trees. Often, as we talk it through, we start thinking about it slightly differently ourselves. We start to notice that we're choosing to omit certain things from the story (often a good place to look for 'our part' in the problem - or maybe that's just me lol) and where we may be adding in details that are our own 'slant' on things (that's where we can spot where our fears and ego are leading us by the nose - then again, as before, maybe that's just me, but somehow I suspect not. )

And remember, getting rid of our resentments isn't necessarily about managing to forgive someone. It may just be a conscious decision to accept the situation for what it is, and the person for what they are, and that neither are necessarily a reflection on us.

Wishing you all the best for your recovery and sobriety. Keep at it. This is very early days. It does get easier if we're willing to do the work.

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Old 02-25-2017, 07:01 AM
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Do you have a big book 12 step sponsor? Mine showed me how to do the steps. Step 4 is all about what to do about resentments, and how to see them in a different light.
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