How heavy the weight of our resentments is! From childhood, our romantic relationships and friendships: we all carry them with us. The 12-step program needs us to write all of these down and to look at our part in all of these. Why did we sit with our negative emotions for so long, and why was it so much easier to blame others?
“We admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.“
So how can our resentments of what other’s did to us be our wrongs? I wrote about us ultimately being what we think of others, and my pride would have been happy to be in denial about my feelings. With a heavy need for the approval of others, the person I’ve harmed most in my life was myself. Writing out my resentments one by one, I realised that I had failed to stand up for my true self in every one of them. And hence carried my resentments instead.
With a complicated childhood and sexual abuse in the past, a lot of what happened to me wasn’t my fault.
How I held on to it and denied myself the satisfaction to get angry was my fault however.
What a blessing to have this programme, and what a shame that it is limited to addicts! The truth is that in order to do this step properly, we need to be painfully honest, to be stripped bare of our pride and prejudices. Only when pushed into a corner and completely desperate are most able to do so.
My step 5 took over 6 hours, and my sponsor sat patiently, listening to my entire life. It’s so much easier to sit with the present now. Let me know if any of you have gone through this as well!
Even though I have not gone through the 12-step programme myself, I know it helps a lot of people, and through your description, it certainly seems in accordance with all the “teachings” of psychotherapy. However, one thing that isn’t clear to me is the importance of religion within this programme. I understand how significant a role it will have for people with a strong bond to their belief system, but what about the agnostics, or atheists?
Hi Jasmine, thank you for your comment! There’s lots of agnostics and atheists in the fellowships, there’s actually an entire chapter called We Agnostics in the AA book! You don’t need to be religious at all, what matters is that you believe in something greater than yourself: for most people that’s the community, nature or their own form of spirituality. It’s a way of shifting focus from ourselves and our own problems to humanity at large. When we say the serenity prayer at the end which starts with ‘God’, we always start it off with ‘The God of our understanding’. A lot of people have their own connotations with the word God though so a lot use Higher Power instead. Great question! x
Thank you for clearing that up for me, Jasmine! What you say goes to prove the well-thought-out structure of this system, and I truly hope it is in fact so! x
So happy I could help! 🙂 x
Its interesting to read this as tonight I was reading through the 6th step in the book Drop the Rock.. I still struggle with resentments but there is a lot in there in the chapter on anger and resentment that reminded me how important it is to turn it over and find healthier ways to manage it.. enjoyed reading this… are you doing online meetings during lockdown?
That’s a great recommendations, I’ll check it out! I had the same experience, found it so freeing! Been doing loads of online meetings, how amazing is it we can connect to people all over the world? Hope you’re doing well and thanks for the comment! x
I am yes i love it that the whole world over we can find others to connect and share with.