About a month ago, I started working on my fourth step, which states “We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” I haven’t posted in a month because I have been sitting in my shit.
I put pen to paper and began listing people, places and things that make me angry. I hesitated and thought, well, I don’t really get angry. That’s not a nice emotion. I might get annoyed/irritated sometimes but I can usually just deal with that. I’m the nice one, the kind one. I got on team brain/ego and went about the business of analyzing and rationalizing and ignoring/avoiding/minimizing. I am very good at this.
With the help of my sponsor, I was able to get honest with myself about how I really feel. I gave myself permission to feel my anger. I tapped into some ugly shit. I unlocked a wellspring of poison at my core. I was seething with resentment, boiling with resentment, overflowing with resentment. I guess my tendency to ignore my resentments doesn’t make them any less real. Damn.
Doing a fourth step during the holidays is great because you are surrounded by all your lovely family and friends who you resent the hell out of. I have hateful and vile thoughts about the people that I love the most in this world. To be fair, I have hateful and vile thoughts about strangers, co-workers, neighbors, my dog, the weather. Thank God no one can hear what goes on inside my head. If my thoughts were broadcast, they would sound something like this:
Life is so unfair. I work so hard. I never get enough.
I can’t believe (fill in the blank) lives his/her life like that. I would never do what they are doing.
(Fill in the blank) has it so much better than me. If (fill in the blank) only had my life, then he/she would understand how much I struggle.
(Fill in the blank) doesn’t deserve all that money, success, good looks, support, good friendship, etc. – If my life was that easy then I would have all that money, success, good looks, happiness, etc. too.
No one takes care of me. I am always taking care of everyone else and never get to be taken care of.
I never get enough attention, no one listens to me or does what I want to do.
I have been wronged. Everyone is always judging me.
My resentments aren’t really about acts of harm done to me. I resent people for being themselves – for being human. I resent my loved ones because their entire being just rubs me the wrong way.
You being you gets in the way of my happiness because I don’t know how to feel about myself unless I compare myself to you.
I won’t bore you with all the details. Suffice it to say that I spent the four days over Thanksgiving running from place to place feeling wronged at every encounter to the point that I couldn’t even keep straight what I was angry about or who I was angry with!
Sitting in shit is not a pretty image but that’s how I felt. I was sitting in my shit and it sucked. It sucked to acknowledge my awful thinking. I am selfish and self-centered. I am dishonest and inconsiderate and driven by a hundred forms of fear. I see these character defects. I don’t want to ignore these flaws. I don’t want to stuff the resentments. I want a way to let go of my anger. Rather than bury that poison in some faraway region of myself, I want the poison excavated and eviscerated.
I know that the fourth step was preparing me to be “entirely ready for God to remove all these defects of character.” I did my fifth, sixth and seventh steps this past Sunday and it was awesome. I have been stuck in my fourth step junk and yuck and five, six and seven helped me see the path out of that thinking/being. AA is an amazing program for living. It works if you work it 🙂