One of the most dangerous encounters in the road to recovery is harboring resentment. We can explain the feeling of resentment as negative emotions or thoughts, commonly based on hidden anger or feelings of being wronged. It is the biggest and the number one offender and the most dangerous to addicts as compared to anything else.
There are many reasons why addicts can have resentment brewing inside of them and causing hurdles in their recovery. It could be anything from lack of validation from friends or family, challenges of recovery, even anger or jealousy towards the other halfway house mates. There is no fixed definition of knowing what may or may not offend someone and make them resentful.
But over time, a pattern has been observed in individual resentment and following is a list of common resentments people in early recovery are known to feel:
1. Lack of Validation From Friends and Family
Human nature is complicated to understand. There are so many emotions and there is no way to know what others find hurtful and can be resentful towards. Feeling angry towards family or friends for not recognizing their struggles is the most common among recovery addicts. The reason being the fear that their close ones don’t trust them anymore or they can never be good enough now. According to Alcoholic Anonymous, it is more of an insecurity, which is very common among recovering alcoholics and addicts. It is up to their family and friends to help them deal with this fear of being left out.
2. Resentment Towards Your Sober Companion
Anger is a common thing in alcoholism recovery. One may get irritated easily and feel angry. This is one of the reasons that lead to resentment towards one’s sponsor. While they just want what’s good for the recovery alcoholic, latter can feel offended or irritated by all those motivational words. It can create a feeling of being controlled or they might feel on edge. This can easily result in negative emotion toward the coach or the sponsor. The first step toward helping with this is admitting to your feelings. You have to accept that you are feeling a certain way and then you ask for help. That is the whole purpose of having a coach, having someone to help you without judging your actions or feelings.
3. Resentment Toward Oneself
It is very likely that a person will take the blame for everything bad that has ever happened to them and feel depressed. Depression is one of the main hurdles in recovery. It is also a trigger for relapse! Recovering addicts might feel like they are a burden to others and cause trouble everywhere they go. This will lead to a buildup on anger towards themselves.
4. Resentment Towards Life In The Sober House
Once a person has finished the rehabilitation phase, they may join a sober house to help with step 4 of addiction and alcoholism recovery: Abstinence. But they might feel controlled. This can bring back PTSD and memories of past trauma and can be a reason for relapse.
A person can feel resentment toward the sober house for a number of reasons:
- Having to follow rules
- Doing chores
- Not being able to go out with complete freedom
- This is a really common resentment but it can go away with proper counseling!
5. Resentment Towards Sober House Residents
It’s a really common instinct to feel jealousy or envy of someone else if they’re doing better than you. This happens in early recovery as well. When people see other house mates doing better than them for any reason, or they might feel wronged because of any unfair treatment from their fellows, they will become resentful toward them. It could also result from any motivational or pitiful words other might try to say to the addict. Addicts are sensitive and can get offended by empathy really easily!
But what’s important is that they should be aware of this attitude and work toward letting it go.
6. Guilt of Burdening One’s Family
Recovery does not happen over night. Neither is it free. People might not be able to afford the costs without the help of a sponsor or their family. If their family is helping them with their boarding costs or any other expenses during recovery, they are most likely to feel guilt. Reason being the feeling of burdening others. This leads to resentment, sometimes at their family and sometimes at themselves
7. Feeling Envious of Non-Addict Friends
Seeing yourself suffer from something while other people get to do it without getting addicted can be frustrating. If their friends are drinking and enjoying it while you get addicted and have to go through addiction recovery, can make you resent them. It is really common and something that can go away with time and effort.
Effects of Resentment on Recovery
Resentment can effect one’s life and their recovery process. Here’s how resentment might effect their recovery process:
Resentment is most likely to cause relapse. This means that a person is holding to the things that trigger their addiction. Fuelling your resentment is not going to help you in any way. 90% of the people who relapse are the ones that are still holding on to their bad emotions.
Life Post Recovery
If someone is not free of all the things that made them addicted in the first place, they won’t have a successful life post recovery. Holding on the things will not help them find their peace and let go of their fears.
It goes without saying that during recovery, one’s relationship with family and friends gets effected. But that’s the best part about the recovery process. It gives you an opportunity to rebuild your relations with your friends and family and make things normal again. It will not be possible if you’re still holding to your anger, guilt and fears.
Now that we have established how and why someone might get resentful toward other, How to get rid of this resentment is something that needs to worked on.
How to Overcome Resentment
Some important and really helpful ways to do it are as follows:
Identify the Causes
The first and foremost thing people need to do is figure out what is making them angry and filing them with all those negative thoughts. It can be anything from hurt, fears, anger, guilt etc. But once you know your feeling its easier to work on fixing things.
Embrace Your Feelings
This is a really important step in treatment. Admitting to what you feel. One must let their feeling exist in order to let them go. Instead of bottling things up and dwelling over the past, they should let their emotion surface and work on letting every negative motion go away.
Invest In Something Positive
It’s always a good practice to project your emotion toward something new and positive, and distracting yourself. Join a support group, talk about your feeling and listen to how others overcame their past and let their rage go. Or pick a new hobby. It is always a good practice to utilize time and avoid any bad thoughts. Other things that help are keeping a journal, playing sports, meditate or volunteer.
If you have been treated unfairly in the past and have resentment toward people that made you feel like that. Instead of holding on to the past, treat others how would want to be treated. Compassion and empathy will change your life and show you new possibilities.
Keep a Positive Company
You don’t need to be people who fuel your anger. We learn a lot from others. Make sure the company you keep isn’t fuelling your bad thoughts. Keeping a good company will make your recovery process easier as well. Your friends should be on the same page as you about things that effect your life and have a say in your recovery process.
Let Go Of Your Past
Holding on to your past will never help. We often keep looking at thing that might have been but not what could be. What’s done is done. Now you can words toward a better future and let go of all the feelings that are holding you back.
Change Your Perspective
If you are resentful about how and why certain people treated you, you have to think of their perspective as well. Why did they act the way they did, what made them do it? Did you have a part in it too? Did you offend them or hurt them ?
Thinking like this will help you get better sooner and let go of things that are being a hurdle in your recovery.
Don’t Resent Rules
Living in institutions and following sober house rules will have you on edge at times. But you have to know that it is okay to feel like that. Rules are made for your own betterment. If there were no rules, everything would be in chaos. You should think that your sponsor, and the sober house you’re staying in, they all want whats best for you. Everyone can use a little positivity!
Learn to Forgive
You must learn to forgive. Forgiveness is a great virtue and can help you in life and in recovery both. You have to not only forgive others but also yourself. This will help your recovery process and life post recovery!
The Fourth Step
It is important to make a moral inventory of yourself. You have to figure yourself out before you can figure out to tackle the things that effect your life and your recovery. AA calls this process “The Fourth Step”. It includes making a list of your triggers, causes of alcoholism, weaknesses, and strengths. Write things down and sit back and think where you went wrong. Where in this journey you were toxic to yourself or others. This will lead you to self-realization. You can also take help from your sponsor or sober coach to identify your weaknesses. Getting a second opinion is always a good idea.
This will help you figure out the steps you need to take to the road to recovery. Self-discovery is rather important for life post recovery as well!
Resentment is known as the number one offender because it affects alcoholics and their recovery process the most. A lot of people would not see any progress in recovery because of the things they are holding on to. It is “Spiritual Sickness”. It says that once that is overcome, we are ready to heal spiritually and physically. You have to let go of the bad feeling not only toward someone else but yourself as well. You can use the fourth step to identify your “good” and “bad” sides and eliminate what needs to go! So we have established, resentments are normal and nothing to be scared of. It happens but you can always work on it and make things better.