± 95 Days
The 4th Step of 12 in AA is about taking a thorough moral inventory of yourself,
And that begins by writing down your resentments. Resentments toward your family, the world, yourself, your situation, your car, your dog, your job, your coffee cup, your high school coach, a chair, etc. Anything at all that you may be a wee bit angry about, you should detail because if you aren’t careful, these are the very things that will drive you back to drinking.
I think you get my point.
Inventory? No problem, I thought. I can point to things I’ve done that I’m not proud of, ample mistakes I’ve made, bad decisions that resulted in hurting myself and others. Easy-peasy.
Resentments? That’s another story.
I’ve been actively indignant and judge-y toward others who lament their past and how they were wronged by this person or unloved by that person (“Poor soul, so angry, such a martyr, jeeeeeez…”) and sad for them that they carried these things around like turds in their pockets and let them stink up their present lives.
In my mind, I have taken the high road and refused to give in to the victim mentality. I saw it as a sign of weakness. When I sat down to write, I thought wow, this is going to be a no-brainer because I probably don’t have any resentments. I’ll end up with a blank page. Maybe a few scribbles.
Anger and filthy language and spewing of victim-y shit came flooding out like an overflowing public toilet. An overflowing public toilet in a subway station. Like really, really disgusting thoughts came out. Thoughts I thought I was above. Thoughts I never really knew I had. And worst of all, thoughts that had been silently controlling my behavior and decision-making for years and years.
SCARY. But enlightening.
Another part of Step 4 is to go further and admit your role in these resentments.
What part did I play? What behavior did I tolerate or worse, encourage? How was I active and conscious in these resentments I so quickly was able to conjure up from the bowels of my past? Sometimes the answer was – nothing. I didn’t do a damn thing. But the really frightening part was facing the fact that I had been a part of some of these bad situations. I encouraged drama. I tolerated shit that was so clearly unhealthy. I made bad choices. I turned a blind eye to some of those choices when it because obvious they were hurting me. I played it safe. I played it dangerous. I did all sort of things. And most of all, I neglected myself. I put the health or wants or fucked up behavior of others over my own basic needs and that is the saddest part. And the happiest part, because now I see clearly what I did, and I swear to God, I will not do that again.
How I wish I could reveal some of these resentments but unfortunately, the notes on paper can’t be shared publicly because the people that I take issue with are, for the most part, still walking around on this planet and if they were ever to know how I feel, they’d be crushed. They wouldn’t understand that although what they did was shitty, that I played my part too. One of the upcoming steps of the program is to make amends to those you’ve hurt, so undoubtedly I’ll cross paths with some of these folks again.
But for now, I keep my list handy to remind me of what I will not do in the future, especially to myself.
Until next time…
About the Author
Jennifer is an entrepreneur, a mother, a writer, and an alcoholic in recovery with a sobriety date of September 14, 2015. She is a former human resources professional, which means she’s seen it all, in and out of the workplace. She has a daughter in college and a dog curled up on the sofa. She’s naturally inclined to use foul language and believes there aren’t enough women in positions of power in this world, and she’s looking to change that. Her writing here will shed light on what it’s like to be new in recovery.