What is the best method for getting rid of resentment? Is it even necessary in recovery?
Most everyone who has been around in recovery for a while knows that it is absolutely critical to get rid of resentments. If you hang on to them they will poison your serenity and eventually drive you back to relapse.
One way to get rid of them is by working through the steps of AA. If you go this route, then you will write about your resentments after thinking about all of them and brainstorming and bringing them all to the surface. Then you will pray about them and finally you might even go talk with the people that you resent and try to make peace with them.
Of course in some cases you will resent someone who is dead and gone. In this case, the best thing you can do is to process the feelings, write about it, and then make peace with your higher power. It is not worth it to carry this burden around with you when you could be free from it. The mental energy that it takes to stay angry at someone is not worth it. It drains your whole life.
To some extent, we need to practice forgiveness in recovery and learn how to forgive. We have to forgive ourselves and forgive others. We don’t do it for their sake, we do it for our sake.
Most people have this thinking backwards. They think that if they forgive someone, that they are “letting them off the hook.” In fact, if you forgive someone, then you are letting yourself off the hook.
How do we forgive someone? You have to make it genuine. You have to mean it. You really have to sympathize with their plight and ask your higher power to have mercy on them. Understand that everyone, even if they are being mean and lashing out at the world and acting hateful, is just trying to get by. Every person is just trying to be happy and get by in this life. They are doing the best they can to get by. Is that not what you have done?
So when someone has hurt you in some way, realize that, even if they “meant” to hurt you, they were still just trying to survive. To get by. To be happy in this life. They might have hurt you, but they just wanted to live. And so we can empathize with that struggle and see where we have lashed out in the past ourselves.
That is how we forgive. By seeing that we are human too.
Once you let go of your resentments then you become free to live again, and allow yourself to really love again. It is an awesome awakening to let go of anger, because it fills your life up with joy and energy. It takes a lot of energy to maintain resentment. When you let it all go, you become light as a bird again!