“Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.” The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 64
From where do resentments come? What makes them such an integral part of our spiritual sickness? How might we overcome them and why should we?
If we consider situations that disappointed and/or angered us, and subsequently take a look past our immediate emotional reaction, many times there is an unfulfilled expectation lurking in our respective backgrounds. Perhaps we aren’t even aware of said expectation. For some reason, in some way, someone or something didn’t behave as we thought they should. Something in our exchanges with others, or lack thereof, has left us angry and/or sad where we may have been, instead, hoping for the best possible outcome and/or response.. Expectations can easily become resentments and resentments for the alcoholic and/or addict can be not just damaging but actually fatal.
Why is that? An expectation is a preconceived notion as to what’s going to and/or said to happen or, conversely, what did not occur; be it a phrase from someone who jittered bugged into our life and jittered bug right on back out, with no warning. This scenario might leave us particularly perturbed and since that feeling can be overwhelming, there are many reasons it becomes the answer to what keeps us mired in our spiritual sickness, which some of us think we can compel and dispel on our own. More often than not, given we cannot control people, places, and things, our remembering this key issue becomes paramount so we can be relieved of forming new expectations and/or resentments.
Instead of connecting with our Higher Power, we have, in essence, given that expectation/resentment all the power and we immediately neglect our relationship with that Higher Power of our understanding. Our resentments become our guiding force, our God, in which we bow and cater to throughout our day. With that, there are times when, say sitting through a long meeting at work, everyone might head out for a beer afterwards in order to process and unwind. Alas, we cannot join them in a relaxing-post work beverage. If we are seething with resentment and replaying over and over again the very moment from which our sense of betrayal stems, we open ourselves up to being eaten alive. Lo and behold, in the very next frame in the moving picture of our live, a “forget this” may come our way and without the ability to not only actively recall our past, we throw our caution to the wind and pick up a drink. What else might give us that ease and comfort, quelling, albeit temporarily, that feeling of resentment which might now be residing inside of us.
All in all, our expectations becoming resentments becoming something to “drink over” can lead us straight to the grave. They are not to be taken lightly.