Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Resentment Inventory

     I thought I'd repost this entry, as I've added some reflection to the process of resentment inventory, specifically the 4th column, which can produce frequent migraines, as well as other unbecoming side-effects. The new stuff follows the instructions below.

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     We write inventory to extract resentment, fear and sexual misconduct, which if left in the body will cause all sorts of damage, both spiritual and physical. Here we deal specifically with resentments, which block us from truly getting better, as they form a wall between us and God. But inventory is a miraculous tool and should be used by anyone seeking to grow and rid themselves of the various forms of spiritual poison.

     Before reading and using these instructions, please first read the post, Resentment.  

(See also Resentment Inventory Example afterwards for an example, as well as Fear Inventory and Sex Inventory. Also see More InventoryHome Depot Inventory & Resenting Ourselves?)

     So here are the instructions for writing resentment inventory:
     
     1) Write the name of the PersonInstitution (place) or Principle (idea) that we resent. Just the name.
     
     2) Write the Specific Resentment we have towards that person, institution or principle. This could be what they did or said to us, what they did or said to someone else, or just some quality or trait that we resent.
     
     3) Write the parts of us that the resentment affects. Does it affect our  Pride (ego) or Ambition (desire), our Self-Esteem (self-worth), our Personal or Sexual Relationships, our Security (physical security/survival), or our Wallet/Pocketbook?
     
     4) Now the real work begins. In the fourth column of resentment inventory, we ask ourselves how we caused each specific resentment, because the truth is it had nothing to do with the other person, place or idea. This is where we discover our character defects, our maladjusted and unhealthy behavioral patterns that have caused us to become so spiritually ill, and caused others so much grief. This is the most important part of our inventory. If this 4th "column" isn't done, than no real work has been accomplished. Today, many modern AA and NA workbooks and sponsors leave this column out completely... and that, needless to say, could be deadly.
         
     So in the 4th column, we ask ourselves how we were being: Self-SeekingSelfishDishonest, and Fearful. Below are some guiding questions, but we should try to discover the deepest, most accurate answer for each of the following categories.
          
          Self-Seeking (i.e. Seeking a Self): How did we want to look or be seen by others, or by ourselves? Were we trying to be seen as a tough guy, a hero, a stud? Did we want to look smart, cool, strong, normal, successful, rich? How do we want to be seen by others? Addicts are VERY self-seeking - that is, they seek a self. We seek a self because the way we want to be seen is NOT the way we actually are. So usually when we want to be seen as tough, the truth is that we are a coward.
          
          Selfish: What did we want? What were we trying to get? What were we trying to keep or protect? What were we unable to see about the other person, about ourselves, or about the situation? We have to really DIG for this one. It is essential to find our selfishness in the resentment.
          
          Dishonest: How were we being dishonest? Did we or do we do the very thing we resent? Were we lying to ourselves or others about something? Were we avoiding some truth about ourselves, the other person, or a situation? Were we not being honest about how we felt? A good example is when we act nice when the truth is someone upset us. But instead of standing up for ourselves, we instead chose to act nice to avoid confrontation. This will cause a resentment... but you can see that it was our fault because we weren't being honest about how we felt. Addicts tend to act dishonestly in many situations.
          
          Fear: What did or do we fear? What were we afraid of? Were we afraid of what the other person thought of us? Are we afraid of other people's opinions of us? Are we afraid of rejection, failure, weakness, insecurity, cowardice? Are we afraid to be seen as weak, abnormal, mentally ill, insane, or a loser? So we ask ourselves what did we fear in the situation or prior to, that caused the resentment.

     It is so important to dig in with this process and find these answers, as it brings us clarity and understanding to the flawed ways we think and therefore act. Sure it may be that first answer that pops into your head, but it also may be something deeper or more subtle. We want the best answer, the most honest answer for each category.

     For example, when my wife is suffering and I'm trying to enjoy the football game or some other nonsense, I resent her (I know, pathetic). But part of why I resent her is my own self-seeking. I want to be seen as a perfect husband, so why on earth would she be suffering? And selfishly, I resent her because her suffering takes me out of my comfort zone and therefore I can't enjoy the football game. 

    Or in some other circumstance, I want to look like a loving husband by doing something nice, but because she is suffering, she doesn't notice, and therefore I resent her. 

     Many resentments are born from expectation, which fall under the dishonest category. Often the truth is that we expect someone to respond a certain way and when they don't, we cop a resentment. Very selfish. In the instance of my wife, I expected her to praise me for all I've done and when not only she doesn't, but she simultaneously has a problem with me about some other thing, I resent her. The resentment is actually my fault because I was expecting a different response from her. 

     Remember, when we don't get what we want from others, we resent. And to avoid seeing the truth of our expectation and to avoid taking responsibility, we retaliate like children. That is just one of many character flaws to be identified... and eventually exorcised from our being through Steps 5, 6 and 7.

     Also to note, sometimes we exhibit our selfishness or dishonesty well after the event, like if someone abuses us but we lash out at others down the road who had nothing to do with the abuse. 

     It's this type of searching that we must engage in to find our deepest truth. It's this type of painstaking focus that we find purity in our work, and thus the greatest rewards - the rewards of change. So don't be afraid, pray if you are stuck, and always remember that in every resentment, we were somehow selfish, self-seeking, dishonest or afraid, whether before, during, or after.

      Good luck... and check out the link below. 

God, help me to see those things that block me from You and Others...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dear Reader...


Dear Reader,

     So... the purpose of this blog was to offer everything I know about the heart, mind and soul of an addict, about alcoholism and addiction 101, about recovery, action and growth, about flimsy remedies vs spiritual solutions, and most importantly, about the original Twelve Step process and the universal spiritual/moral principles contained within.

     Given the rapidly growing and ever-deepening spiritual void in this country, I believe it is of vital importance to cultivate and nourish a moral compass, especially given the frightening level of filth that has infected our culture, the fraud that has infected our banking industry, and the sociopaths and lunatics that have infected our government. 

     Not to mention the fact that our children will become debt serfs, as we sit back and watch their future standard of living robbed with impunity. Our collective selfishness, irresponsibility and profligacy should be considered child abuse. Needless to say, there is no such thing as free, despite popular delusion. 

     But hey, all that said, I will still post when I can, but will be moving on to other projects at this point. The truth is I don't have much more to say on the subject of addiction, and the point of this blog was never to provide a forum for my own self-indulgence and self-importance, neither of which I believe in anymore. Getting rid of self should be the #1 priority of us addicts and alcoholics. It is Self that will bring us down, as Self is what pushes us away from God.

     I will, however, remain to pray with each and every one of you who has found any usefulness or solace whatsoever in this forum. I recommend that new readers go back and read older entries, as they cover a wide swath of relevant issues. I will remain to pray for all of you who have reached out and shared so graciously and honestly. I will always be here and I will always have you in my heart.

    I know that if we do everything in our power to align with God, if we shatter any and all walls between us and Him, if we seek deeper honesty and love, then we will live meaningful lives and we will change the world. The world most certainly needs us.

God, take my will and make it Your own.