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July 15, 2021

A Sober Person’s Guide to letting go of Resentment.

Did you know that resentment is an alcoholic’s number one offender?

We don’t fight fairly and when we are angry with someone, the grudge we hold is relentless. We often drink at the people who have harmed us, but where does that get us? It’s “like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” (Malachy McCourt)

They say in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) that we can’t afford to have resentments and that our resentments will get us drunk. I believe it to be true. We have to be rid of our resentment toward ourselves and others, otherwise, on a bad day, it will seem like a good idea to drink again.

What about people who don’t struggle with an alcohol problem, but overeat, overspend, or watch porn to escape from the reality of their lives?

And the people who have held onto something that happened to them perhaps in childhood, who have used it as a fair excuse to overindulge and escape from the strong feelings that thinking about the incident bring up?

Lately, I hear a lot about us feeling our feelings, being mindful, connecting to that quiet spot within, and connecting to the Universe or higher power source—God, whatever you believe.

Sometimes that can be grueling and uncomfortable, and the last thing we want to do is sit still. Our demons, shame, and guilt catch up to us when we stop running and stuffing, and then what?

Years and years of my life have been devoted to buying more clothes and food to feel like I had some sense of control over this life.

I liked the feeling of getting satiated and full of my favorite comfort foods, which seemed to temporarily take away the dull ache of my loneliness and sadness. If I could eat and find comfort in that food I would find a temporary solution to the pain and misery I couldn’t quite put a finger on.

If I could go shopping and buy something new, it would temporarily make me feel enough. Ringing up my purchase at the end of that line made me feel like I was somebody and there was nobody who could tell me any different. Buying myself something new filled a void deep inside. It’s when debt is accrued, and it causes a problem similar to an alcoholic who can’t control their intake, that there becomes a problem with this type of comfort-seeking.

There are many people in this world who can not sit still with themselves. They will fill every minute of their calendars so there is no downtime and therein no time to face the reality of how they feel.

Many of us have experienced shoving down uncomfortable emotions. Some people would say this causes all kinds of issues within our bodies, even cancers, and other ailments.

Energy needs to ebb and flow. If we stuff all of that negative energy down, it has nowhere to go, but I believe it is down there shouting for us to stop and sit with it. To ask it questions, to get to the root of it. Why is there a deep longing emptiness and sadness? What do I need to express to someone that I have been too afraid to say and instead brush it under that rug as if it didn’t bother me (that much).

We are constantly making excuses for others’ behaviors instead of confronting people when they hurt us so as to not ruffle anyone’s feathers. We want to avoid conflict at all costs and instead let the conflict rest in our hearts, bodies, and minds.

Why do we explode when something seemingly small happens?

Because we are like walking volcanoes with everything just boiling under the surface.

For years, I felt like I was just getting by. I would feel happy sometimes. Often, I would feel sad and afraid, which came out in anger, and unfortunately, my temper flared.

I have learned to try to sit with those emotions—and trust me, it is not comfortable. I like to sit and write in a notebook. I write everything I am feeling—all of it. I don’t sensor myself and usually, by the end of my writing, I am much more clear about the root of my issue. It’s usually not what I originally thought.

If someone in my family is upset, it can easily transfer to me. I am a feeling person and try to keep my environment clean and airy. Negative energy and emotions can cause a home to feel stagnant and dark. I have learned that I am extremely sensitive to this. It makes me feel bad for the years I was that dark, negative energy in the house.

The only advice I can give is to not “stuff.”

>> Stop stuffing.

>> Share your emotions with a trusted friend or therapist.

>> Start writing, or walking and thinking to process all of those past hurts and feelings that have been stuffed down.

>> Try yoga and get focused on centering.

>> Hug your children.

>> Pet your pets.

>> Breathe.

>> Find a connection to a higher power. Sing songs of praise to that higher power.

>> Find your passion—sounds cliché, but honestly what is this life about if we are just trudging through our days hating on it?

I write this to myself, I write this to my friends. I write this to my significant other. I write this for anyone who will listen.

Life is too short to go around not fully living. I want to go deep. As Keri Mangis says, “Deep end only.” Save your small talk and fake platitudes for someone else. I’m just not into it today. I want to be real and I will no longer shrink myself for others’ comfort. Today is the day I say, “no more.”

I won’t pretend I’m fine and then have resentment later on. I will tell you to your face if I have an issue—no more gossiping behind your back. I won’t be afraid to feel, and I will remember I have to feel to heal. I will stop comparing myself to others and know that it is okay to be sad sometimes. It is okay to grieve and it is okay to feel mad.

It’s when I stay in it and blame others for it that it causes a problem. It’s when I eat, drink, or shop my feelings away that there is a problem.


“Emotions are not ‘bad.’ At the root of our emotions are primal energies which can be put to fruitful use. Indeed…the energies of enlightenment arise from the very same natural origins as those which give rise to our everyday passions and emotions.” ~ James H. Austin M.D.


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