The flip side to forgiveness is resentment. —AA Slogan
Bitterness accompanies alcoholism and other addictions in the same way deceitfulness accompanies adultery. Just as lying is necessary to cheat on one’s spouse, bitterness becomes the facilitator for excessive drinking. When one’s life is bitter, nursing a drink is an outlet millions of people choose. It may work for a while, but it doesn’t work permanently.
Embittered people either believe alcohol will make their situation better, or they simply stop caring whether or not it does.
In their resentment for their lot in life, alcohol becomes their best friend. If it’s not alcohol, then it’s prescription drugs to numb reality or illegal drugs, which obliterates caring about anything.
For a long time — sometimes years — people believe they can control their drinking and drugging, going to extraordinary lengths to do so.
Even if they come to the point where they admit having a problem, they refuse to take personal responsibility for their behavior. Instead, they blame someone, or something, else:
- If it hadn’t been for the way my husband treated me, I would never have developed a drinking problem.
- I didn’t deserve to get fired like that.
- After my child died, I lost hope. That’s why I drink.
There are thousands of reasons why people turn to booze, many of them legitimate, but solutions don’t come by altering reality. This never happens and it never will.
At best, alcohol gives a momentary reprieve — a one-day holiday from a person’s troubles. Unfortunately, dissipation robs one of the ability to get beyond temporary difficulties, hardening them into a destructive lifestyle instead.
To change this pattern, gut-wrenching honesty is required — not just with yourself, but also with Almighty God and another person. So, if you want to begin putting an end to your troubles, join me in the following prayer.
Now that I have opened myself up completely,
Being as honest and forthright as I know how to be,
Having also admitted my faults to another,
I want to ask You as humbly as I can
To change anything in me that You desire.
You are Almighty God; and I am not.
I am weary of trying to walk a path,
Which has not been intended by You.
As I continue to purge my soul
Of all the toxic emotions that remain,
I know I need to go one step further.
I need to absolve those who have been hurtful,
Forgiving them completely from all culpability.
I have nursed my anger and bitterness
For far too long, and I have paid
A heavy emotional price for doing so.
I believed I was punishing them
By my steadfast refusal to forgive,
But I have only punished myself instead.
I don’t want to live like this any longer,
Having to pay a huge price for remaining callous.
I forgive them — just as You have forgiven me.
I release them completely — just as You have released me.
Give me the strength to put away my pain
And my anger, never picking them up again.
Allow me to walk into the future free from
The debilitating emotions that have been so wasteful,
Pursue after peace with all men, and after the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by it many be defiled. (Hebrews 12:14-15)