Al-Anon Lifer

Anonymous sharings from a long-time member of Al-Anon, which is a safe place to recover from the effects of alcoholism in a friend or relative...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Why I Hold Grudges

I’m working the Steps this year by reading and answering the questions in Paths to Recovery. The first question in the defects section in the chapter on Step 4 – made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves – asks why do I hold onto my resentments? I’m not sure I’ve ever asked myself this question; I’ve only acknowledged that I do indeed hold onto grudges, thinking it is what I learned growing up with a very sick mother, having been abandoned by my father.

Perhaps knowing why I continue to hold onto my resentments even when I know they hurt me is the key to really letting them go. Suddenly I realized that I hold onto my grudges to protect myself from getting hurt. As a child, I put on my suit of armor and became as hard as steel so no one could hurt me again like my father had and like my mother continued to do. Even then they got through, although I didn’t feel it, not really.

But as I grew, both physically and emotionally, the suit of armor became too small; it began to spread apart and the gaps left me more and more vulnerable as time wore on. I still had resentments, but my coat of grudges no longer protected me the way it used to. As I’ve grown spiritually in Al-Anon, I’ve learned that my health depends on me completely shedding this false protection that no longer serves me. Instead, I will cover myself in God’s acceptance, love, forgiveness, and approval of me, as well as my own acceptance, love, forgiveness, and approval of me.

In this way, I no longer need to hide behind steel plates; the problem with the armor was that it protected me from everything – even the good stuff in life! Now I am protected by a transparent bubble that lets hurtful opinions and actions bounce off of me while letting kindness and love through. I no longer need to fear what others can do to me, so I can let go of my old, childhood resentments and finally be free of their constraints. I can grow up and enjoy the maturity of adulthood. Just for today, I know that I did the best I could even as my parents did the best they could.

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At Monday, April 13, 2009 9:52:00 AM, Blogger Syd said...

All so true. My parents did the best that they could also. We all have shortcomings.

At Tuesday, April 21, 2009 8:03:00 PM, Blogger Nebraska Cindy said...

Sometimes I wonder if I hold on to things out of fear of healing and growing. If I can wallow in my past pain and victimhood, I don't need to take responsibility for all that I should today.

At Thursday, April 30, 2009 11:51:00 PM, Blogger Di-G it said...

thank you for your share


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