Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thoughts about how to process resentments under step 4 of the AABB

The resentment form has 3 main parts.

1. The first part is a description of the resentment.  This requires a detailed acknowledgement of what you are feeling.  (see AABB p. 65) 
This has 3 sub-parts.
a) the name of the resentment
b) a description of the resentment -- why you have this resentment
c) a list of what is affected.

It is very important to acknowledge your feelings and write them down.  Stuffing down feelings is part of the disease

2. The second part of the form is the prayer (AABB top of p. 67).  This is VERY important.

"God please help me show ________ [person, place, thing resented] the same tolerance, pity, and patience I would cheerfully grant a sick friend.  He/she/it is a sick person/place/thing. How can I be helpful to him/her/it? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done."
This is a spiritual form of recovery. This prayer is supposed to lift the resentment and help you see the person, place or thing resented as sick.  Visualize them with a band-aid on their forehead.

You cannot see your own character defects.  HP has to help you.  This is a spiritual method of recovery.You especially cannot see your character defects until the resentment is lifted. 

If this prayer does not work to lift the resentment, try the two week resentment prayer AABB (4th ed) p. 551-2

3. The third part of the resentment form is the "turnarounds." Where was a selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, and afraid? (AABB p. 67) 
These are the "character defects," maladaptive thinking that gives rise to resentments.  Resentments are fatal.  Any thinking that gives rise to resentment is also fatal.

I am attaching:

an example of the resentment form (in the style of, made up the way I think it should be made up, as applied to the story of Jim (the man who drank the whisky with the milk) in the AABB pp 35-36.  You may want to click on this image to see it larger.

More about "selfish" 

When I do a BB style inventory, I list the things I want under "selfish." I do not understand "selfish" to be an insult the way it is used outside program. Instead, it is just the things that I want.

It is normal to want things.  What is bad is if I want things so much that I get sick if I don't get those things.  Also, when I want things I cannot have, I am not surrendered.

Before program I did not allow myself to say or even know many of the things I wanted. I spoke indirectly, all around what I meant or felt.  The things I said were not honestly related to what was going on inside me.  I blew up a lot, because I had so much bottled up, but my blowups were mysterious and sudden, without people having the opportunity to understand what they might have done to offend me – and without me even understanding what was bothering me.

Through repetition in program, by doing this inventory process, I have learned to identify what I want and list those things calmly.  This means that I know myself better than I used to.  I am not stuffing down.  I am being honest.  Since I list things calmly and rationally, I am more likely to get what I want than if I isolate or get sullen & resentful as I used to.  I have become a better negotiator, because of the Big Book process.

Also, because I know and am comfortable with myself, I find it easier to listen to and understand other people.  Their concerns are less likely to destabilize me than before.

Understanding selfishness has helped me feel saner and more integrated with the human race.  

I had a friend in program who had been severely abused by his father.   He wanted his father to love him. He had never felt that his father loved him.  Of course, it is natural for one to want one's father to love one; but, in this case, it was something that he could not have.  He was not able to accept that he could not have it.  (see e.g. Serenity Prayer) He ended up dying from this disease.  Surrender means that we have to accept that we are not in charge and that we don't get what we want all the time.

I have a friend who has wanted to stop the genocide in Darfur.  Now, really, if there is anything that she is powerless over, it's the genocide in Darfur, but she could not accept that.  She had a sign in her front yard that said "not on my watch: stop the genocide in Darfur."  Social activists are often overweight, because they cannot get what they want.  They might be acting selflessly by the standards of the outside world, but not by the standards of program.

For me, the most basic formulation of "selfish" was "I want people, places, and things to be different so I can be more comfortable."

More about "dishonest"

The Dishonest category was something I really did not understand at first. I thought it only related to lies that I told other people or stealing.  I did not understand that it included lies I was telling myself.  These are the harder ones to see.

For me, dishonesty includes: not accepting how much can be accomplished in a day, how much can be accomplished in a lifetime, how much sleep I need, how much time for self care.  I make myself crazy over these things.

Some other categories of dishonest that I had trouble seeing were:
  • I don't accept people, places, and things the way HP made them. I think I know better than HP.
  • Allowing other people to esteem and value me, e.g. "people pleasing" In fact, HP is the one who should esteem and value me. If I am allowing others' opinions of me to make me miserable, I am making other people into HP
  • I thought it was my responsibility to make others happy.  No, it is my responsibility to keep my side of the street clean, using the steps.  If I do that, and others are unhappy with me, then that is not my problem.  It's their problem.  Only HP can make others happy.  If I think I can make others happy, then I'm thinking I'm HP.

More about self-seeking

This category is particularly troublesome, as to what it means.  How is it different from "selfish?"

I heard 3 explanations of this

1. It is the same as selfish and is just listed as "elegant variation," a writing style thing, in the list.

2. It is "seeking yourself in others," i.e. people pleasing.  I personally put this category under "dishonest."

3. How I acted out.  That's the one I prefer.  What did I do as a result of being selfish, dishonest, and afraid? There are a lot of things that could be put in here. 

The most common for female compulsive overeaters is constantly putting out a cloud of negative emotions, which makes everyone miserable.  As with everything in program, there is a spectrum here.  We want to find a happy medium between: being constantly negative and being falsely cheerful, which is emotionally dishonest.  The truth is somewhere in between.  Black & white thinking is not good.

Another way of acting out is somatizing.  I learned more about this when I did ACA.  If I have psychosomatic symtoms, e.g. nervous stomach, blushing, rapid heartbeat, (or in my case also eczema and back spasms can also result from stress) that can often be my first warning that I need to do some stepwork.  My body is warning me. I put that under here because it's important to be aware of body warning signals.


I'm hoping to put this in a separate blog (see e.g. AABB p. 68)