Resentment: The Main Offender

Resentment is the number one offender on the road to relapse in addiction recovery. When we really can hold on and really feel the pain that we’ve had, in some cases for a very long time, where maybe we feel we’ve been wrongly done or we’ve been hurt where perhaps we shouldn’t have been…it can really take grip and keep us wrapped up in addiction. Resentment serves to help us re-feel old pain and we kind of torture ourselves with it by re-feeling it and hitting the replay button many times. Doing so actually turns into self-resentment, loathing and self-pity, we can take ourselves out of the equation feeling that we have no part in that resentment. Probably we did and it normally works out that we had a lot more part than we believe and it wasn’t all on the other person, place or thing.

It is important to work on your resentments in rehab, in recovery and throughout life in order to stay sober. Many people struggle with resentments towards family members and that can be really difficult, it’s an ongoing thing, a work in progress. We have to change our actions, really recognize our part and learn to show compassion towards people who are imperfect. People tend to deal with what’s been passed down to them and so much resentment is just passed-on pain patterns with which we need to break free. When we can have compassion, that people are just human, people make mistakes, we can break free from resentment, we can give ourselves a good chance to not keep hurting.

If we believe its important just to find some peace in life, especially in recovery, then its best not to keep re-living our grudges. The more we disengage or isolate and cut people off when actually we crave connection. The deeper into a resentful attitude we may descend, the closer to relapse.  It’s through connection, it’s through belonging that we are going to succeed in recovery. Often what we see with resentment is that we’ve actually engaged in the same behaviors that we are angry about, what we feel has been done to, then we’ve gone on to do the same things to others. So can we really be so blameful towards those people when we’ve done just the same to them or others?

Can we see that perhaps we’ve wronged people in similar ways and it was all because of our addictions turning us into somebody we never wanted to be? Things we never really wanted to do, we ended up doing because of the grip of addiction. We can break free from that and change behaviors, actions we take today so that resentment doesn’t keep us returning to active addiction. In recovery, its important that we highlight this issue and do the work that we need to. There’s work to be done and this work can never be done alone, we’ll never get out of resentment on our own. Our own head makes it real, it makes it true, but when we share what we are feeling to another human being in an honest attempt to rid ourselves of resentments we can get another perspective. This may help us see things clearer and find freedom.