Those we resent are actually our greatest teachers…
As soon as I think that I’m finally okay, I’m not at all. About a month ago, I wrote a bunch of inventory, read it, meditated for half an hour, felt euphoric, and once again declared myself all better and at peace forever. So, of course, I’m right about everything for about a week or so… then some meathead in a tinted Charger cuts me off while racing down Beacon Street in Boston. When I honked, he slammed on his brakes and pulled over. As he and his girlfriend came into view, I was pretty sure they were on their way to a Jersey Shore audition. He yelled out of his window for me to get out of my car and fight him. Classic. Now, to note, we are in Massachusetts, so this is fairly standard behavior for one of my fellow Massholes. But, here was a great teacher as well. Instantly, I was no longer some peaceful, enlightened, reformed citizen, but had instead devolved into an enraged animal, screaming swears back at my new, spray-tanned friend. We didn’t fight, probably because I’m a coward, I’m afraid to get arrested and what my wife would think, and mostly because I’m afraid of what it would do to me spiritually… but I definitely fantasized about it in my head.
This is exactly why we write inventory. First of all, it reminds us addicts that we’re still pretty much demented. Second, it reminds us that ALL resentments are born within and have absolutely nothing to do with any other person, place or thing outside of ourselves. The object of our resentment does not cause the resentment. Rather, I and I alone have caused the resentment. I own it. Sure, this meatball may have wronged me, but the resentment was caused by my reaction and response to it.
In writing inventory, I take my resentment and find my self-seeking in it, my selfishness in it, my dishonesty in it, and my fear in it. What did I find? Well, for one, I wanted to be seen as a tough guy. Now, to be sure, anytime we need for others to see us a certain way, we are seeking a self, and that is selfish in the sense that we need our self-esteem or ego to be fed by the way we look to others. Not good, trust me. Even if I’m seen that way (like a tough guy or something), it doesn’t really feed me at all. In fact, it takes from me. It makes me a phony. And usually the way we want to be seen is NOT the way we truly are. Being phony leads us to become more dishonest. And when we start lying to ourselves, we are doomed.
We get sick first. We relapse long before we actually get high. Watch for that. My sanity and my health are dependent on not letting myself get sicker in the head. And believe me, there are going to be plenty of people in the addict’s life trying to drive them crazy. Many of them are probably insane themselves. Some of them are actually clinical and beyond repair. So try not to bother with them. We can’t move backwards. Only forwards. Neutral isn’t good either. For alcoholics, there is a natural bias to move backwards when in neutral position.
Back to the meatball inventory. So I wanted to be seen as a tough guy, which I’m not. I wanted meatball to act and drive the way I wanted him to, which is selfish. I wanted to shame him to feed my pride and ego. My dishonesty was in avoiding the truth that I often do the exact same thing, but it’s much easier just to resent the same behavior in others. And my fear… well, I fear jail and I fear moving backwards spiritually. So there you go, I caused this resentment with my own self-seeking, selfishness, dishonesty/projection, and finally with my own fear. I should go find this guy and thank him for giving me a reason to go write inventory. Professor Masshole is a great and wise teacher of mine. Poor thing will never know his contribution to my well-being.
God, show me that those I resent are my great teachers, and to respect them as such…