Overcoming resentment is a challenge for most people in recovery because as addicts and alcoholics, we have a tendency to want to hold on to our anger. We are used to doing so in order to justify our drinking and our drug use. But hanging on to this anger is useless in recovery, when all we should really want for ourselves is to be peaceful and serene instead of uptight and upset. We can practice letting go of resentments by practicing forgiveness and also by working through a program.
If you choose to follow a twelve step program then the steps will have you analyzing and working through your resentments. Basically what you will do is to list them all out, and then figure out what part you played in each one. You will come to realize that you play a part in every one of your resentments, even if you truly were the victim in some cases. And the anger that we hang on to in recovery is poisonous to us regardless. It does not matter if we are justified in being angry at someone. It does not matter if they truly took advantage of us and did us wrong. Even if we were a true victim in the strictest sense of the word, we cannot afford the resentment. We can not allow ourselves the luxury of hating that person. To do so is to just give ourselves an excuse to relapse eventually.
In many cases we will need to learn the art of forgiveness. Here is a secret: you do not have to communicate your forgiveness to someone. They do not have to know. You are not going to go “let them off the hook” and tell them that you forgive them for whatever horrible thing they did to you. The idea of forgiveness is about you and your higher power. You need to make peace with that episode in your mind and give it up to your higher power and let it go. You need to genuinely forgive the other person, so that you can truly empathize with what they did and allow it to just be. Don’t tell them about it, there is not need! This is not for them. You are going to seriously forgive them, in your heart, and make peace with them in front of your higher power. Then you are going to let it go and get on with your life and let the pain die.
This will set you free.