We are told to “practice these principles in all our affairs,” but often real-world recovery is easier said than done. One of the most common situations is when it relates to resentment.
First, let’s get some stuff out of the way. I’m paraphrasing the following, but The Book is quite clear on the nature of resentment: it kills addicts and alcoholics; it hurts no one but us; it’s the dubious luxury of normal men.
Notice none of that had anything to do with circumstances surrounding resentment.
Take, for example, a recent incident. A former client of mine is in recovery, and has another (supposedly) recovering addict as an employee. I’ll spare the details, but the short version is that employee started misrepresenting the work I had done for my client. He wanted to take over the project I started—which is fine. My client has every right to do so. But then tried to manipulate me into working for free after a contract renewal was denied, based on his recommendations, because he couldn’t be bothered to maintain what I set in place. He then accused me of sabotage, when really he didn’t know what he was doing and was even too lazy to google it. I hope that doesn’t sound too spiteful–there just isn’t any other way to say it.
Naturally, I was more than a little mad.
So, what did I do? In all honesty, I had a private outburst. Thank God for that too-often cited “progress, not perfection” cliché.
Once I calmed down a bit, I did a mini-Tenth, and called people in The Fellowship. “Restraint of pen and tongue” was the recurring theme. Basically, don’t respond to the accuser. Wait a day, and then try to contact my former client directly.
I did…but the client never returned my calls or emails.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything I can do about it. As justified in my resentment as I may be, that incident only serves to rob me of peace of mind and potentially my sobriety. Real-world recovery is about doing the best we can on a given day. Through prayer, meditation, and asking others in recovery for help, I’m (slowly) letting it go.
That is not to say that I’m okay with what happened, but rather I’m coming to terms that particular incident is probably beyond salvaging. It sucks. It stings. However, I did what I could without causing more damage. All I can do at that point is let God handle it, since He has been in control all along.
I can only be responsible for what I do, and how I respond. If I live an honest life with integrity, even if others don’t see it, I stand a chance at not drinking and using, which would only make things a whole lot worse.
No one said real-world recovery would be easy. Just because we get clean and sober doesn’t mean everything conforms to our wishes. That said, we don’t need it to. We now have the tools and resources to live happy, fulfilling lives free of the things that nearly killed us—if we choose to use them.
“Progress, not perfection.”
Do you have any examples of real-world recovery in action? Tell us about them in the comments!