Recovery Resentment: A Major Threat to Sobriety
Recovery resentment is a complicated issue in the world of addiction. Addicts who become resentful for being sober often relapse or become so negative that very few people will stick around. Let’s look at the word resentful. Being resentful means having a feeling of persistent ill will or bitterness towards people, events, or things. Most of the time with such a negative emotion as resentment, these feelings are blown way out of proportion.
For example, in recovery resentment, a recovering addict may get resentful towards friends or family members if they see them drinking in a responsible manner. They may start rumors about that person. They may treat that person as if they are an addict, basically projecting their bad behaviors onto this person who is drinking responsibly. The fact is this recovering addict is uncomfortable and angry that they cannot drink responsibly, so they find a scapegoat to unleash all of their negative feelings onto.
Another example of recovery resentment is looking at an event or thing in a negative manner. Think of the word bonfire. What comes to mind? For me, I think of hayrides, making smores and hotdogs, and talking with family and friends. I had a conversation with a very resentful, recovering addict and that person stated, “Bonfires are for a bunch of drunks. All they do is sit around and drink. I would never have one at my house or go to one.” I was completely floored by this person’s opinion. While we all have different views and opinions on things, this person is so stuck in their past behaviors and thinking, that they cannot see a bonfire for anything but what they have experienced, labeling everyone attending a bonfire as a drunk. What this person was trying to do was make everyone else feel guilty for going to a bonfire, because that person feels guilty and angry, that they can no longer drink at a bonfire. They may also feel fearful that if they go to a bonfire, they will relapse.
Resentment in recovery has a lot to do with the fact that these recovering addicts are no longer comfortable. Before if they felt uncomfortable, they would go out and drink or use their choice of drug to numb that feeling away. They cannot do that now, so what can they do instead of dwell in their resentment?
- Yoga or meditation can help out with controlling your anger and creates a calm environment for you to relax in.
- Support groups can help with talking out the issue you are having and gives you a few different views on this issue and how to deal with it. People in your support group could have gone through the same thing and can help you get through it too.
- Counseling is also very helpful. Understanding your emotions and how they work is a new component in your life and seeing a counselor on a regular schedule can help you work through this feeling, instead of dwelling on it.
- Surround yourself with positive people and things. You have no idea how negative people and things can affect you until you no longer have them around. In recovery people usually try to stay around others that have similar views. The old safety in the numbers game. Get out of that negative rut and do not let others influence you in a negative way. These likeminded people will only feed your resentments and make them stronger.
- Take a deep breath; do not be so quick to respond. Actually, think about the situation. Before recovery, you needed instant gratification. This behavior and feeling were intense and immediate, which makes a person very reactive. The mentality is: you’re not actually listening, you’re waiting to respond. Listen and think before you speak, it will help get a different perspective on the situation.
Resentment can lead you down a dangerous path, do not let it. If you or a loved one needs help with their addiction or is in fear of a relapse call us now. 1-888-365-0665