Resentment can be defined as ” the feeling of displeasure…at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult.” Moreover, resentment is a destructive feeling commonly harbored against others by those undergoing addiction recovery, such as people who rejected them or have not supported them throughout the process. how to let go of resentment
But resentment does nothing to the object of scorn – in fact, it only hurts the person who allows it to fester. Substance abuse temporarily quells negative emotions such as resentment toward another; however, after cessation of use and detox, the reality of those feelings float back to the surface once again, more pure and unaffected by psychoactive substances.
Resentment tends to build up during the time, likely years, that you succumbed to addiction. This indignancy is often focused on your addiction interventionists, such as family/friends and health care providers. But you yourself can be a target of resentment, as well.
In fact, you may be so preoccupied with resentment that you neglect your recovery goals and own well-being. If you don’t learn to release resentment constructively, you increase your risk of relapse.
Why Resentment is Common in Recovery
Resentment snares you in a pattern of reliving past events in a manner that adversely affects your mental and emotional health. This detracts from the wellness of your mind, body, and spirit – moreover, the catalysts for healing.
And because feelings of resentment impair the reconstruction of relationships and a personal transition into well-being, recovery is among the best transitional phases to learn to let go of resentment.
When a person is battling addiction, substances are often used as a means to bury feelings and trauma from the past.
Being addicted to drugs or alcohol traps a person in the present – but not in a positive, mindful way – it’s more akin to a state of arrested development.
Indeed, those events and people whom resentment is held against are still there and related emotions will continue to follow, waiting to resurface when the person stops using and begins to cope in a constructive manner.
In fact, the person has likely carried feelings of resentment for a long time, either not noticing them or ignoring them straight out. And when that person experiences sobriety again, they are often taken aback when anger, bitterness, anxiety, and depression seem to manifest within them so rapidly and intensely.
Some resentments are rational, and some are not. For instance, the person may resent the way their lifestyle changes and they must let go of habits, friends, and places that help drive the dependency. They may resent themselves over the years lost to addiction. All these feelings are normal, but it is the way in which a person responds to them that will dictate how (and if) they will survive during recovery.
Letting Go of Resentment
Resentment is almost inevitable during recovery, but you can defeat it. Once you recognize the existence of resentment and other negative emotions you take the first step in overcoming them. You must identify the moments of anger and bitterness in your memory that are impeding your happiness.
Sometimes resentment manifests itself in other emotions, reactions, and behaviors. Anxiety, anger, and depression may be byproducts of resentment. These may include childhood trauma, insecurities, pain, and disrespect. They may also have developed out of abandonment, felt when others became angry or shied away from us while we were in the throes of addiction.
Creating an Inventory of Resentments
Writing a list of resentments you suspect are present can be life-altering in of itself, especially when you include as much detail as you can stand. Include in this inventory any perceived offenses, hurtful remarks or actions, and all the time you felt betrayed, abandoned or rejected. Once the list is complete, you can use this list to say goodbye to these negative and lingering resentments once and for all.
Next, you examine how these resentments may have developed from events that happened to you long ago. For example, you may be applying old resentments to more recent people in your life. But you cannot change the past or control those people who abandoned you, judged you, or caused you pain. You have to let them go and focus on relationships you can still repair.
Using Therapy Techniques
HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) is an acronym often used in programs that are centered around addiction recovery/ Taking notice of these feelings and addressing them rather than letting them build into resentment can help you avoid returning to addictive behavior. You must also acknowledge your role in the continuing cycle of resentment and forgive yourself. Then you have to make the decision to HALT the cycle.
Using this practice will help you find awareness of your resentments and make steps toward letting them go. Learn how to forgive the people on your list you can, and engage in deliberate forgetfulness if there are those who you cannot.
Internalize this – holding onto resentments is only hurting yourself and affecting your recovery. You need to move on and let yourself completely embrace the new sober you and lifestyle. Moreover, acts of forgiveness or forgetfulness contribute to your own well-being – they are not meant for others who have been involved in the development of these feelings.
Self-care in recovery begins with forgiveness, and that includes yourself before anyone else. Indulging in substances, engaging in bad behavior, and hurting others are examples of internalized resentments toward ourselves that have to be purged if we are to heal and move on with recovery.
Get Help Today
If you or someone you love is abusing substances, please seek treatment as soon as possible. There are many resources available to help you or your loved one.
Please call us today at 888-380-0342 for a free consultation.