"Anger and resentment are like acid to a seeing eye. They burn and blind the eye so that it cannot see clearly anymore. As long as they inhabit the body, forgiveness is impossible. But when I become accountable for everything in my life, all of it magically crumbles and suddenly I can forgive anyone. I just don’t care anymore because there is nothing left to blame. Above all, I can forgive myself. That is a miracle." - The Privileged Addict, p.165
Why do I write inventory?
To extract resentment from my body.
What is resentment?
It's a form of emotional poison caused by an inability to perceive things clearly. Resentment is not caused by anything external. It is not caused anybody else, contrary to popular belief. It is caused by me and me alone. Sure, some person may have wronged me terribly. But the birth of the resentment and it's growing presence within is caused by my reaction to that event. I caused it, own it, and therefore nobody and nothing can extract it but me. This is why addicts and alcoholics are so blessed with God-given tools such as inventory.
(Note: Also see Resentment Inventory, Resentment Inventory Example, Fear Inventory, Sex Inventory, More Inventory, Home Depot Inventory, Professor Masshole & Resenting Ourselves?)
Sometimes it is difficult to see my responsibility in causing a resentment. But as sure as the sun, it is there, covered by layer upon layer of self-deception, denial, and just plain ignorance. Because I am defensive, proud, ashamed, scared and dishonest, I must do some work and some hair-pulling to figure out my part in causing the resentment.
So why bother with all that? Why should I spend my precious time extracting resentment from my being?
Well, first of all, it's my responsibility. Second, resentments left unchecked can destroy an alcoholic or drug addict sooner than the drug itself. More importantly, they will destroy an addict who has already gotten sober. They will rob him or her of a fulfilling life with fulfilling relationships. They will keep his mind warped, twisted and deranged. They will keep him spiritually ill. They will keep a wall up between him and getting better, between him and God. Ultimately, as with any other poison, they may end him altogether.
In order to get better, I had to stop choosing to see events as acting upon me as opposed to attracting the events to myself. Why? Because by committing the former, I begin reacting to events that I falsely believe something else is responsible for. My feelings become dependent on the world around me, dependent on the words, actions, and moods of those around me. Letting go of my dependence on the external world = internal freedom.
Truth be told, it really doesn't matter who we are, addict or not. Resentment left to brood will crush anybody. Extracting resentments and the mechanisms by which they are born is necessary to achieve peace. I suppose this is just what it means to grow up.
God, please give me the courage, willingness and clarity to extract resentment and anger from within...