July 15, 2011
- It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. (Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition, p. 66)
Last Saturday, during a gratitude meeting, I watched the Secretary scream at another man who had interrupted him on several occasions. It appeared to me that the man who interrupted was drunk, mentally impaired or both. After the Secretary screamed at him a second time, the man left and did not come back. Many in the meeting felt that the Secretary was out of line. Some bore resentment toward him for lashing out, feeling he could have handled it a lot better. I was one of them.
Fast forward to two nights ago, the Secretay from the previous meeting was at a Step Meeting. We had just finished reading Step 1 when another drunk spoke out about his horrible life and his desire to get clean. While he was speaking, he was dropping F-bombs left and right. This caused the Secretary to become upset once again, interrupting the drunk as he spoke by banging on the table on several occasions, while yelling , “Watch your language!” This drunk man also left the meeting after being admonished.
Those who were there felt that it might have been better to listen his thoughts instead of worrying about which words he was using to convey them. Once again, many of those at the meeting thought his table banging and speaking out against the language was out of line; he became the subject of further resentment. I was again one of them.
Although I had seen him several times since, I decided I didn’t want to speak to him or even acknowledge his presence. He died of a heart attack this evening.
Resentment is a horrible thing; nothing good has ever come of it or ever will. A man who helped a lot of AA’s is dead and I feel horrible. Resentment hurts those who bear it and those who bear its brunt. It is difficult to have spirituality and tranquility when you harbor grudges, even though they may seem well founded at the time.
In AA, they say, “Let go and let God.” Though I don’t believe in a theistic world, I do believe that there is something bigger than I am. For now, I choose the Fellowship of AA to represent my higher power. Despite my lack of belief in a particular deity, I am beginning to understand that when we let go of resentments, we allow something holy to enter our lives. Letting a little bit of God into our lives gives us peace, hope, serenity and the fruit of another lesson from the halls of AA.