“If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the sudden rage were not for us. Anger is the dubious luxury of normal men, but for us alcoholics it is poison.” – As Bill See’s It, Page 5, (it references the Big Book on page 66, but it’s inaccurate. The Big Book says: “…the grouch and the brainstorm…” which strikes me as funny.).
I’ve recently seen some “normal men” who have the luxury of holding on to a resentment and boy are they unhappy. I’m not sure it’s a luxury for any of us, who can afford to spend that much energy and time being angry? That anger doesn’t just stay inside it seeps out, is shown in things you do and how you relate to the human race and can’t possibly be healthy for anyone.
There aren’t any people on my resentment list anymore – but there have been many over the years, and I’m sure I’ll find a few to put on it temporarily until I see how sick I am and spend the energy fixing me.
In Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (12 x 12) it says: “It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also. But are there no exceptions to this rule? What about “justifiable” anger? If somebody cheats us, aren’t we entitled to be mad? Can’t we be properly angry with self-righteous folk? For us of A.A. these are dangerous exceptions. We have found that justified anger out to be left to those better qualified to handle it.” Page 90
When I first got sober I had a huge (if these types of things can be measured) resentment against my mother and it occupied a lot of space in my mind. Whenever I would think of her I would get mad, my body temperature would heat up, I would relive, refeel, rethink all the supposed wrongs she did to me. I could spend an entire day just being mad at her and she lived over 1000 miles away… spiritual axiom. Something here is wrong with me, and it took me a long time to see it and fix it.
So how do you do that? How do you take feelings of anger and hatred that you’ve nurtured, watered and cared for over a long period of time and fix you? That’s the rub.
For me, I did as directed by a sponsor – I prayed. Not just once or twice, but a hundred or more times about that specific issue. I prayed every day for her to get everything she wanted in her life, for her to be fulfilled with love and happiness.
Hell, I didn’t believe anything I was saying for the first month or more, but eventually what I found when I would think of her was a kind of serenity and peace.
The grouch and the brainstorm are not for me, probably not a good idea for normal folks either. If you’ve found yourself in a position where you can’t get past a thing that someone did to you, perhaps try prayer… if you’re not the praying type, just try speaking out loud to nothing all… it’s about changing you, not about changing them.