Resentments and anger are poison for the alcoholic; there is nothing that can take us down faster. The truth is that alcoholics are notorious for resentments and blaming their drinking on everyone but themselves. Some imagined slight of 25 years ago is not forgotten. Often when they are drinking, they will bring up resentments and anger and you can only look at them with sadness because they haven’t let it go.
Bill Wilson, a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, has written many wonderful books that have helped me over the years. “As Bill Sees It” is one of them. Each page is on a different subject as he addresses problems that plague alcoholics. He gives his thoughts on how to deal with them. He describes how a life filled with resentments and anger can only cause unhappiness and we waste precious time being miserable when contentment should be our goal. His claim is that it shuts us off from “the sunlight of the spirit”. He goes on to say that it can affect the alcoholics ability to maintain sobriety, and for an alcoholic that can spell death or insanity. He says that “Anger is the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics it is poison”.
For years I was an angry person. I look back at home videos and I seem to be spewing venom. I almost see myself as the girl on “The Exorcist”. Anger causes our faces to contort into hideous expressions. Can you imagine what our insides are like if our faces are that contorted? I have had to learn ways to control my anger such as journaling. I recently learned how to journal effectively in college and I have found it to be invaluable. I begin writing without worrying about spelling or punctuation. I let the words flow and when I am done writing I usually do feel better and I see the situation in a different light. Another thing that works for me is to not react immediately when someone makes me angry. Of course, I am not always able to do that, but when I can walk away instead of reacting, I do feel better. My pride is huge, (pride is another downfall of the alcoholic) and I really don’t like to apologize. When I am able to walk away it works out better for me and for the person that I am spewing venom at. Bill Wilson suggests that when we are angry or resentful, it usually about fear that we will lose something. Every human being has basic needs such as financial security, self esteem, personal relationships (including sex) and when these are threatened; we become afraid which translates into anger.
It is important for alcoholics to find ways of controlling anger and resentments. Think of it as a deposit toward your sobriety.