One of the trickiest things about the disease of addiction is how it encourages you to shift blame to others, never admitting to the full extent of your problems. However, drugs and alcohol only provide a short-term outlet for sweeping complex feelings under the rug. Once you start working on your recovery, you will need to learn other ways to process emotions such as resentment, so you can move forward with your life.
Resentment and Mental Health
Because resentment is a common emotion, most people will experience a general feeling of anger or annoyance over unfair treatment at some point in life. However, resentment becomes toxic when you can’t let go of anger or a desire for revenge.
When you feel someone has wronged you, you may nurture negative feelings, revisiting the upsetting event time after time. Therefore, resentment can adversely affect your mental health and cause chronic stress.
AA and Resentment
The founders of Alcoholics Anonymous recognized how unhealthy it can be to hold on to resentments. As they wrote in the Big Book, AA’s foundational text, “Resentment is the number-one offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.”
AA encourages participants to begin working through their resentments with Step 4, which is where you will make a “searching and fearless moral inventory” of yourself. You might find this step especially challenging after living with the denial that characterizes substance abuse. After all, if you have spent years telling yourself other people are to blame for your problems, it’s hard to admit that you’re the one who made the situation worse.
You may need some time to accept the value of letting go of anger, but if you are open to working through the 12 steps, you will find recovery is within your reach.
Ways to Break Free of Resentment
There is more than one way to work through resentment, but some methods are far healthier than others. Here are some suggestions for letting go of anger and resentment.
- Journaling: Keep a journal where you describe your resentments in writing. Make note of the person you resent and how you feel they have done you wrong. Once you have your thoughts out of your head and onto paper, you can better analyze what caused your negativity and put it into better perspective.
- Meditation: Meditating is an excellent way to release any negativity from your life. For example, in a loving-kindness meditation, you can direct positive energies toward yourself and others. Or, you might wish to meditate on the source of your resentment while chanting a mantra such as “Let it go.”
- Practicing self-compassion: An active addiction can destroy your relationship with yourself. Self-compassion can teach you how to love and be friends with yourself. Practicing self-compassion also serves as a form of mindfulness in which you are acknowledging your pain and accepting it without judgment.
Where to Recover From Substance Abuse Disorders
At Spearhead Lodge, we offer a leading long-term addiction treatment program designed specifically for young men. Recovering in a single-gender environment can address your unique needs with fewer distractions. Here, you can learn to address your disease’s root cause and acquire a set of relapse prevention tools while having fun in recovery. We specialize in providing our clients with the foundation for lifelong recovery. To learn more, contact us today.