Nothing is so bad that a drink won’t make it worse—AA Slogan
Resentment doesn’t work; acceptance does. Before you choose acceptance, however, while you are in the depths of despair, you have a choice. This is a fork in the road of life and, depending on which way you proceed; your life will change accordingly. You get to choose which way you travel though, this is always your choice.
You can learn to embrace acceptance, but if you refuse, you will be destined to nurture self-pity. When you avoid or reject acceptance, self-pity becomes your default setting. This may not seem fair, but life is rarely fair. Although nobody likes being in a spot where such a choice is required, it is the place where you learn about life and about who you really are.
By the way, acceptance has nothing to do with being right or being wrong. Most resentful people are right. They have been hurt; the hurt is real; and they have a right to be angry. Unfortunately, by clinging to their resentment, they continue to hurt themselves and not the person who caused the problem. Again, this isn’t fair, but it is the way life works.
Eventually, living with the pain of resentment becomes debilitating, which is the reason why so many turn to alcohol to self-medicate their wounds. For a while, alcohol works beautifully, but it doesn’t work forever. When it stops working, which it always does, the emotionally wounded person still has the original problem. Plus, that person now has a problem with alcohol as well.
In AA, I have seen hundreds of middle-aged women pick up a white chip because they couldn’t deal with their husband’s betrayal and tried to medicate their pain with alcohol, coupled with prescription drugs. I’ve also seen an equal number of men come in because their careers have been shipwrecked, often by circumstances beyond their control.
When these unfortunate people arrive at AA, they believe they have a drinking problem, which is true, but isn’t their root problem. Resentment is. To achieve sobriety and not simply become a dry drunk, they need to deal with their underlying problem as well. So, if you are tired of nurturing past resentments and want to free yourself from them, join me in the following prayer:
I have nursed my bitterness and my resentment
For so long that the pain from them has become
My daily lot, and my portion in life.
In my anger, I have refused to forgive
Those who have wounded and betrayed me.
I have felt justified in doing so, but this
Has caused me more problems than it has solved.
I want to change all of this, Father.
I can no longer life the way I have,
Wasting my years by reliving my offense.
Nothing good has come from my anger,
So I want to put it away, right here and now.
Just as You have forgiven me, Lord,
I want to forgive my offenders, and I do forgive them.
Help me embrace acceptance and help me to never
Allow resentment to dominate my life again,
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
(Psalm 140: 23-24, NAS)