This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Dave’s story: After I had listed my resentments my sponsor asked me to find my part in them? I didn’t like that. Take a good look at those resentments and see where you were selfish, dishonest or frightened. Tell me your part in that resentment David? I finally told my sponsor that I didn’t have a part in that resentment because my mother kicked me not the other way around. I was only 13 when it happened, but he helped me see there was a difference between the act that happened and the resentment that began an instant later. This is especially prevalent in children who were physically or sexually abused. They’re children who were abused and sometimes they didn’t have any apart in it. But no matter the circumstance, I used that resentment; I relived it, reflected on it, re-played it over and over again until it became my excuse for doing unexplainable things.

I’d sit at a bar and ask for more alcohol and the bartender would ask, “Don’t you think you’ve had enough?” I would answer, “If you were raised by my mother and kicked by her like she kicked me you’d drink too.” I became a professional victim. I was the victim and it was everybody else’s fault. When others turned on me, or a boss fired me, or when, I was asked to leave a party it was never my fault.

Being a victim prevented me from working the 12 steps because I worked on my persecutors defects of character instead of my own. I was still trying to change everybody else. My sponsor had me list the people that I thought were out to get me and it was a long list, my mother, my wife, boss, co-workers, sons, but in order to be a victim, I had to give up my right to change me—I was stuck on stupid. No matter if it was a new job, vacation or whatever, I never saw the good because I was focused on the negative. If you asked me how my vacation went I would tell you all the things that didn’t go according to my plan, a flat tire, I got lost, ran out of gas, the campground was full, some stupid cop gave me a speeding ticket and etc. I lived in chaos every single day of my life and abused alcohol because the world wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do.

If I would’ve said things went great, I could no longer be the victim. I had to give up my right to have an intimate relationship with my persecutors because I was the victim. When I reached the 8th step my sponsor asked me to start writing to my mother every day and to start changing my thinking so the world would change the way it thought about me. I asked my sponsor, “What, should I write?” I didn’t have anything good to say. He said, “Write to her anyway, buy a funny card and write on it, I’m thinking of you.” I said, “I’m thinking bad thoughts.”

“That’s all right,” he said. “She won’t know that.” So I made a beginning at mending my relationship with my mother. Now, I was praying for her everyday and writing to her too and eventually that resentment began to melt away and I was able to see my part in it. I had disobeyed my mother and acted like I didn’t hear what she said when she asked me not to ride my bicycle to the hen house and because I ignored her, when I crashed my bike and broke the eggs it must have kicked her over the edge. I stepped on her last nerve and she retaliated. Our problems, we think, are of our own making. The more I replayed that resentment the more innocent I became and the more guilty, she was, but the worst part was that I had wasted 28 years of my life resenting somebody who loved me as much as any mother could love a son. To be continued…

John Barleycorn

The phantom writer of the column "Here's to Your Health". This writer is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and therefore must maintain anonymity. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer