Resentments kill, so says Bill W., founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Bill W. made the simple realization that resentments are the downfall of all alcoholics, and I daresay, all human beings.
Resentments are an immediate red flag that a person is sinking to "dry drunk" status, no matter if that person ever had a drink in their entire lives, or not.
The many different types of resentments are infinite, for instance, a knee jerk resentment, as when a car cuts in front of you, or a thought you just can't let go of goes rolling round and round in your head, replaying the tape of a past injustice.
Or when a patient tells me of a wrong committed to her and I find myself rising up in indignation, as if that's going to save the day.
The spiritual practice here is to be conscious of any and all resentments, ask for help from the unseen forces, imploring them (angels and guides) to remove these blocks that resentments represent.
The twelve steps of AA, especially steps 4 through 9, are especially meant to liberate consciousness of any more tendencies toward rancor or malice. The negative emotions either gradually or dramatically fall away, if we are sincere and honest.
An AA old-timer one time told me that all fear, resentments, regrets and self-pity vanish the moment we get down on one knee, or two, if we are able, asking for divine help.
Perhaps this down- on -your- knees -position is necessary many times a day, or every single moment all day long!!
Yet the old-timer said that the negatives vanish quickly and we can then get on with the business of living and let living.
As Bill W. emphasized, resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From the pits of resentments stem all spiritual disease. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we are healed both mentally and physically.
We deal with resentments by setting them to paper. We list persons, institutions or principles with whom we are angry. We ask ourselves why we are angry. According to Bill W., self-esteem, the pocketbook, ambitions, personal relationships (including sex) are hurt or threatened.
The list may look something like this:
I'm resentful at: The Cause or the Reason:
Mr. Jones stole my pocketbook, my husband cheated on me, I am the black sheep of my family etc
We go back through our lives with complete honesty and a thorough self-appraisal.
How did I contribute to what I am blaming someone else for?
What part did I play?
All resentments boil down to fear.
We then place all of our fears on paper, even if no resentment is affiliated with the fear.
And give these over to the higher power, however you choose to see this power.
This power is infinite as compared to our finite selves.
As we review our conduct over every year of our lives, we ask: How have I been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate?
And since I am evaluating the part I played in all of this, I ask: How was I at fault?
What could I have done differently?
Am I truly sorry for what I have done? Because herein lies the key.
If I am sorry, and allow my higher power to take me to higher realms of giving and living, then forgiveness is the likely outcome for all concerned.
If I refuse to forgive, then my conduct will continue to harm the people in my life as well as myself.
The choice is in the giving, the living and let living.
One Day At A Time, one simple breath at a time!!