September 17, 2018

Resentments: Steroids for an Addiction


In this post, Bob writes a prescription that is guaranteed to boost the performance of any addiction. It is the Story of resentment. And in Bob’s case, it is a tale about his father. Not only did this strengthen and perpetuate his addiction but it changed the course of his entire life by promising happiness in the form of, “When you get even, then you’ll be happy!”

Read on to find out why this wasn’t what happened.

(Excerpt from Alchemist Recovery’s Lesson of the Week, Forgiveness: Others)

Bob is the current owner and CEO of a thriving family company that has expanded to over two hundred employees. It grew to be this lucrative through Bob’s years of planning, business sense, and hard work. Despite this obvious and undeniable success, his father, who was the previous owner, never acknowledged Bob’s achievements. In addition, he actually minimized them and outwardly discounted Bob’s efforts.

After two decades of this, Bob had had enough. Propelled by a deep grudge, Bob decided to overwhelmingly outdo and get back at his father. While completely legal, Bob surreptitiously purchased the company. His father had no idea that it was his son, Bob, who he was selling to.

Triumphant as the new owner, the first order of business Bob performed was to fire his father.

This whole scenario provided Bob with quite a few items from the list of a filled cup: pride, money, status, title, success, and, not least of all, revenge.

Afterwards, Bob quickly found out that this kind of filled cup did not equal lasting happiness. As a matter of fact, what it did provide him with was a seat at the table of our group of alcoholics and addicts.

Bob shared, “I spent so much time and energy thinking that when I reached that place above my dad, then everything would just somehow fall into place.”

The attachment Bob had to this Belief fueled two decades of his life. Instead of having real, authentic conversations with his dad about how he felt during that time of building the company, Bob just built resentments. These provided him with plenty of reasons.

He continued, “What I actually got from all of this was the permission to go ahead and drink. I told myself how much I really deserved to, whether it was before I bought the company or after. Either way, this relationship with my dad gave me all of the reasons I needed to justify my addiction.”

Having experienced less than a year with this type of “success,” he found that he was not reaping the kind of happiness it had originally held the promise for.

“I reached the point where I didn’t know who I was anymore, and I definitely wasn’t the guy I became. That domineering ‘my way or the highway’ kind of boss wasn’t me. I got exactly what I set out for, but all I got out of it was more drinking and the feeling of being completely lost.”

Like all promises that an addiction makes, the ones fueled by the performance enhancing power of resentments are nothing but lies. And when we are “lucky enough” to get what we set out for in the form of revenge, we are inevitably left with a similar result to Bob’s “feeling of being completely lost.”

What are your first impressions of Bob’s example?

Can you see how his resentments provided reasons and justifications?

Can you see how Bob imprisoned himself in a cage of his own making?

Do you feel that your resentments are as controlling as Bob’s?

Randal Lyons helps people struggling with addiction who want long term, holistic care. He uses his own experience in recovery combined with his training as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine through his program, Alchemist Recovery.

If you've got questions about this or any other topic in sobriety, please contact me.

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