Just saw a google search on the stats page that read, how do you inventory self-resentment? I’ve also been asked this question by sponsees who are writing their 4th Step inventory.
Can I resent myself?
No. We do not write inventory about resentments we may have towards ourselves. We do not resent ourselves because it is selfish. It is a form of self-pity. Engaging in self-deprecation and regret is an act of selfishness. We must forgive ourselves so we can move on and serve others. And it is the same with every other Step.
Ultimately, we are not taking Steps for ourselves. We are taking Steps to recover so that we can become useful to others and to God. The goal is to finally grow up, get outside of ourselves, and give back. The goal is to be able and willing to help others.
Take the 9th Step amends for example. We don’t make these amends to clear our conscience. We make them for the object of our amends, the person we hurt. We make them to give them some solace. We make them to give back. We make them because it is our responsibility and because it is the right thing to do. If, as a byproduct of doing this work, we find peace, strength, happiness or joy, than great. But that isn’t our priority. Our priority in taking Steps is to repair the damage we have done, to set things right, and to fix ourselves so that we may live a life of meaning and service. We take Steps to become fit to serve God by helping others.
Believe me, I often make this mistake myself. Often I will use these tools for selfish purposes. I will do this work to clear out my head, clear my conscience, or to just plain feel better. That is not wrong, but it is not the primary purpose of the Steps. Sure this process also exists to give us our life back and pursue our dreams. But I must remember the reason I had to do this in the first place. It is because I lost control, hurt others, and now owe a debt to God. First we must remove our selfishness and give back. Then we can go and do our thing and have a great life.
God, help me to let go of self-pity and regret so I may better serve You and others…