Letting Go of Resentment

Letting Go of Resentment

Letting go of anger and resentment, hurt and stress is an essential part of recovering from addictive behavior, as surely as holding onto grudges and old behaviors will lead to eventual relapse.

In order to make room for new direction there must be freedom from past and attachment to old ideas, we must be willing to be flexible and teachable to establish a truly fulfilling life.

Living life sober can be confusing and overwhelming at times, confronting emotions which have been anesthetized by substance abuse. The process of letting go is one learned over time in recovery beginning with the practice of forgiving ourselves and others.

In part, anger and resentment are caused by fears and expectations; we are afraid of losing something or not getting what we want, disappointed or angry because our expectations have been let down. Taking a step back and taking inventory of a situation gives an opportunity to observe where one (or both) of these two have taken over.

Identifying our part in expectations and fears can remove bitterness and self-pity because it’s possible to see what can be done differently next time. We can learn to let go of others’ behavior by accepting we can’t control them, and forgive ourselves for not being perfect all the time. Focus on what can be changed, and meditate on what the right next indicated step is. Learn to recognize expectations and what emotions generate as a result of not having those expectations met, and be forgiving.

It’s important to put space between yourself and difficult situations to be able to come back to them with this changed perspective. Learn to set boundaries for yourself before resentment begins to find space to occupy; go for a walk, say a prayer or affirmation, or call a trusted friend in recovery.

Letting go of anger and resentment is a step toward emotional freedom from being controlled by outside people places and things. Remove the power the situation has to dominate how we feel and learn to generate our self-worth from within ourselves. When operating from strength within and possessing emotional stability with recovery, we can overcome even the most devastating hardships sober and with serenity. 

Share your experiences with letting go of resentment.
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About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.

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