I have issues with AA and its philosophy as it stands now. Nothing unique, same issues that people who have issues with AA have. But I've always had a deep respect for the teaching of Dr. Bob, Bill W, Joe Hawk, etc. To me they taught the 'real' AA and not the tweeked version seen at most AA meetings these days. They taught the program, not the human interpretation bs and I was lucky enough to learn the program from someone who is an old-timer, if you will.
There are many recovery related blogs who claim to be 12 step but are so far from the real 12 step essence that I've read only a few posts and moved on until I found Mr. SponsorPants. You were the voice of reason to me. My immediate response to your posts was one of understanding and gratitude that you seemed to speak my language.
And then you vanished. Not a word. Gone. I thought the worst.
Then the worst thing happened. My [sibling], a single parent, a loving member of our family passed away unexpectedly. I replay, in my head, all the things they are missing, or have missed, since dieing.
I'm just now emerging from the fog and yesterday again, I thought of you and if perhaps something tragic had happened to you and if your family is feeling the same way I feel. So I checked Mr. SponsorPants and viola, there you are...
I was happy to see you back until I found your first post, post disappearance. I can't tell you the anger I felt and still do. Are you kidding me? My bullshit detector is still in overdrive. You wrote everyday without fail and if you missed a day you'd post remotely or give an explanation. You answered emails promptly and then nothing and your reason is you just didn't check. I don't believe you and what is more disturbing is all the AA enablers commenting without once saying, BULLSHIT.
Your reasons are you reasons Mr. SP. It's none of anyone's business why you did what you did and explained it away the way you did but know this, I can no longer read your posts (cause I've tried) with the same respect and sense of understanding that I used to. I really thought you were better than all that. What a shame...
I'm very sorry for your family's loss. In a life full of hard things and a world full of frightening headlines the unexpected death of a close family member -- one who leaves behind children -- especially a single parent... is true tragedy and something that forever changes the people involved.
There have been a few emails which have come my way that expressed similar anger and disappointment over my unannounced blogging absence. The reason that I have printed yours here (with, as always, any identifying details edited or blurred to the best of my ability) is the same reason I print any email, ultimately: To serve as the starting point in a discussion of solutions to things many of us face as we get and stay sober -- and to offer whatever I can from my experience which might help.
And, in much of what you say, you are right. It was self involved and lazy and careless of me. Whether it's the mark of being an alcoholic (which smacks of both accurate explanation and rather slick excuse) or just the kind of man I can be, this is definitely not the first time in my life where I have been casual in my regard for others and caused people hurt -- and though I'd hope it will be the last I fear that is an unlikely thing. As I said before, would that I had a more dramatic reason than the feeble truth I must own. I can say that within me my ego and my self-esteem see-saw sickeningly back and forth around this. Although I've experienced powerful and humbling feedback while writing this blog in both the comments section and in emails -- feedback which I have been moved and incredibly grateful for -- it honest-to-god did not occur to me, as I ran out of momentum and then procrastinated about putting fingers to keyboard again, that my absence would be hurtful to anyone in the way some people have expressed that it has.
Certainly as an alcoholic people-pleaser who, when he got sober, was able to view having low self esteem as progress from having no self esteem, the idea that anyone, anywhere, is upset with me can push some buttons. The inward-darkness: Guilt (I did something bad. Again.) Shame. (Thus I am a bad and permanently damaged person.) And the outward, lashing-out darkness: Defensiveness: (It's you not me!) and Anger: (Fuck you!) All of which is deeply disingenuous and none of which serves us or is true.
I am inching slowly towards something grandiose and egotistical with each paragraph and that's not why I posted your email.
Among my sponsors over the years I have had two who, while they were clean and sober, struggled mightily with sexual addiction, sometimes succumbing to that aspect of the ism and creating terrible collateral damage in their lives and the lives of their families and partners. I have also had two sponsors who were afflicted with terrible eating disorders and damaged their health from that disease well into their sobriety, and who, while acting out in that regard were able to give me some good guidance in working the 12 Steps but were not completely reliable or honest about some things as they struggled. I myself, as I wrote... oh, somewhere in here... "borrowed" from not one but TWO AA treasuries in my sobriety. (Amends have been made, for the record. Deeply humbling public amends of both the practical and spiritual kind.) In short, for great reasons or petty, with good explanations or poor ones, people will let you down. Most don't mean to, but most do. I assure you, I am not, as you say "better than all that..." I (and anyone who works the 12 Steps), have made amazing progress in every area of my life -- and you can trust me with a lot -- but I guarantee I will continue to fuck it up royally; though now I like to think only occasionally. What I can guarantee is I'm not alone in that. People are messy and sober alcoholics in AA are far from exempt.
In my humble opinion, to use the foibles and failures of others in sobriety as a means to quarrel with AA is not too far from wondering if a vial of antibiotics is no good because the doctor who prescribed them committed Medicare fraud.
AA's 12 Steps embody a plan of acting on spiritual principles which have worked in many ways for many people and cultures since perhaps man first became self aware. Owning and admitting a problem, asking for help, being willing to follow direction, looking within, identifying one's own part in problems, working on improving the elements in one's nature which do not serve, admitting wrong doing and making restitution, seeking an elevated mind through elevated thought and meditation... AA didn't invent -- and never claimed to invent -- any of this. As you know, what Bill and Dr. Bob did (you've got me on Joe Hawk, I have no clue who he is, though he's got a hella cooler name than I do) is practically (or Divinely) luck into laying out a plan of action along those spiritual lines which spoke to alcoholics in a way other methods previously perhaps did not. The immediate result of which was the ability to refrain from drinking and the larger result of which was a spiritual experience -- or, if you prefer, a profound internal (often gradual) transformation.
Your issues -- the "usual issues" -- with AA -- or perhaps it is more accurate to say with the people in AA -- though I understand them, I do not embrace them. I respect them, and your hurt and your anger, but the 12 Steps are not vulnerable to what may or may not be happening in Meetings. They are deceptively simple but pretty bullet proof (if almost a hundred years of addicts can't break 'em I think we're good). Nor are they a fragile, ephemeral plan for spiritual awakening, as their principles and suggested actions can even be viewed through a completely non-spiritual lens and still offer practical healing and help. (I was moved to write this once in response to that line of discussion.)
You and your family have suffered a terrible loss and my experience with the death of loved ones -- even when it is somewhat expected -- is that it is a gradual process cycling through those famous stages many times. You may think it is more bullshit on my part but I am sensitive to that in your email and in what I'm trying to express here.
But I find this whole "AA in the good old days was the real AA and what we have today is some watered down 'human interpretation' thing" to be utter crap. Yes, there are a ton of 12 Step Meetings which are filled with pounds of nonsense. Rooms held hostage to people playing the victim or the expert. Rooms where someone's special bias or ignorance colors the format and the sharing. But I suspect, knowing alcoholics, that there were as many, if not maybe more, "back in the day" as there are today. Of course we have no way of knowing, but I offer for anyone's consideration that the reason the 12 Traditions ever came into being was because back in those "good old days" the AA meetings all over the country were fragmented, prejudiced things making up their own rules, excluding whomever they didn't like or believe, getting off track (what we call our Primary Purpose today)... Yet while there may be that metric ton of sloppy anarchic nonsense out there in 12 Step rooms there is also, without doubt, proven by the ongoing recovery of many thousands of people, some wonderous and powerful healing going on.
Meetings, and sharing, have evolved as people's understanding of addiction and psychology and the impact of family of origin and biology and mental illness... and... and... and ... has evolved. Yes, the Program is in the Book. I stick pretty damn close to the Big Book when it comes to charting my service and my sobriety (and thus my life). But if you believe nothing else I've ever written or write here now, if you call bullshit then fair enough, be that as it may, I urge you to try and view the nonsense -- what you perceive as dilution -- in meetings with some compassion. Foolish people, yes, but at least coming together in an attempt to get better and maybe help others. That is perhaps not such a bad place for someone with anger in their gut and raw grief in their heart to hang out for a while.
Both my experience and my observation is that an AA meeting can offer, inter-mingled with the patience-trying foolishness, solutions or comfort we didn't know we needed. Be disappointed in me, in AA, in whatever, but I hope you don't sit in that disappointment alone. 12 Step meetings, therapy, grief support groups ... most alcoholics, when deeply hurt, withdraw. I hope you don't do that.
Nothing here is meant or said with disrespectful intent, C. I've re-written this maybe five times now. I keep combing through it looking for my ego, anger, defensiveness, passive/aggressive phrases... it's too long an essay for a blog, probably, and still I smell my ego all over the damn thing.
But after writing as much Mr. SponsorPants as I have -- even with the break (ooops! I think there's that passive/aggression again) -- I've learned that eventually, if I was moved to write it, to let it stand and let it go and maybe someone out there will get something from it, and if not, well, all this writing kept my hands off the bag of chips in the cupboard which has been calling to me since I got home from work.
For what it's worth, whether you think it's bullshit or not, I'm grateful you wrote, C.
We are close, but our relationship was not based in the 12 Step World.
They’d swung by my place to get some things out of storage (translation: some things piled in a corner of my living room). As with many people, they’d been having a tough time of it lately, pursuing a career which they loved, but was not especially fruitful. It was hard sometimes not to have a judgmental, parental air when talking to them or thinking about them.
And it didn’t help that they occasionally borrowed money from me.
Not a lot, but not a little. A so-so record on paying it back. Most of the time I chalked it up to that broad category of amends I owed the Universe which could not be made directly, and had still left red ink in my spiritual ledger.
Also, it was as simple as the fact that they were family and I loved them and I wanted to help.
But this last visit, late at night, moving the stored boxes out of my living room (a point of irritation already), I had a particularly pinched attitude. “They’re probably going to ask for gas money.” I thought. I had twenty in my wallet, which won’t get you much in 2012/3, but when you’ve got zero dollars and zero gallons I know from past experience twenty bucks can feel like a princely sum.
“They’re probably working up their courage to ask – waiting till just before we’re done.” As I mentally chewed that grouchy thought I imagine my face looked like a piece of crumpled paper.
Certainly at that moment my spirit resembled one.
I had the last of the boxes in my arms and was checking underfoot for escape-prone kittens before opening the screen door. And then, as sometimes happens, Grace stepped in. “Waitaminute, Mr. SponsorPants. This isn't you. At least, this isn't who you want to be. How you want to be.”
I stopped moving as this new thought struck. “A loving heart is a generous heart. You live a life of contrary action -- contrary action against the impulses of anger and fear and alcoholism and ego – at least you try to, anyway.” I put the boxes down.
“You know this is true: You don’t grow spiritually by withholding. You grow by giving.” I went to the desk, opened the drawer and picked up my wallet.
I don’t blame anyone reading this for feeling a healthy skepticism, or at least wondering if I’m not letting some overheated (half baked?) prose carry me away. I understand being leery of the whole clean-and-shining-thought-piercing-the-black-mental-bubble-of-my-selfish-judgmental-thinking thing. I can identify with doubt about other people's spiritual experiences. But it has happened to me before, this Divine interruption. I’ve written about it before, too, but each time I do I feel my power to describe what it feels like – what happens when Grace steps in -- is woefully inadequate.
I answered the thought with action. Contrary action.
Carrying the last of the boxes down the stairs I walked up to the car. “Hey, are you okay tonight? Do you need any gas money or anything? I can spare a twenty.”
“No, I’m good. I got fifty bucks from my last gig. Bought a bunch of chicken stock and made gallons of soup. I’ve got soup coming out of my ears!” They laughed. “And I’ve got like, half a tank of gas.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, it’s cool, I’m good. Thank you though.” We talked a little more, and I got them caught up on recent developments around my landlady selling the property where I live, and that this may – or may not – mean a move in my future. They volunteered their car if I had to relocate. “Hey, I don’t have much but I can carry and I can drive. If you need any help moving just let me know.”
“Will do.” I answered. We hugged and they drove off.
I did that thing you see in the movies, just stood there and watched their tail lights disappear down the street. As I did I thought about what would be happening inside me right at that moment if I had stayed spiritually crumpled. If I hadn’t offered to lend them any money. I’d have thought they just hadn’t gotten up the nerve to ask and I would have remained mired in resentment. I’d have resented them for a desire they didn't have and for an action they never took -- and hadn't even planned to take. Consumed with the loopy logic of projection and resentment I would have been angry if they had asked – and angry if they hadn’t!
If I hadn’t offered them that $20 my heart would have stayed as closed as a fist.
But instead, by offering, I gave them a chance to decline. Which then gave them the chance to offer to help me.
One more time, in all the ways that matter, in all the ways that are so damn easy to forget, I experience the transcendent Truth: Give love.
Give love and it sets you free.
Give love and in that freedom great things occur.
Give love with as much willingness as you can summon – give love not as coin, in an effort to bargain with the Universe, rather, give love because it opens you up -- so all those great things around us which are waiting to occur – like flowers poised on the brink of bloom – can manifest.
Free us from resentment,
from whatever darkness or addiction which binds us and keeps us fettered and small.
Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.
-- Lucius Annaeus Seneca
He who angers you conquers you.
-- Elizabeth Kenny
Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
-- Ambrose Bierce
Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
-- Thomas Kempis
If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size?
-- Sydney J. Harris
She shares pretty much every week.
Every. Single. Week.
Now, let me state right at the outset that I think people should share as often as they feel the need to, and to hell with what anyone else thinks. For me a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous is medicine, and sometimes to get my full dose I need to raise my hand and speak to the topic, or share something that's going on with me, or in general open up and smash through my ego-fears of what other people will think of me. And I support fully, totally, any alcoholic's right to do so, within whatever format a group has decided upon.
But passionately believing that doesn't mean I always enjoy it.
We're only human after all, and on any given day those pernicious defects of character which dog every step of our spiritual growth are in full bloom.
And such was the case with me this last time she raised her hand to share.
You see, it's always the same thing. There's a lengthy wind up, in which every identifiable group in the room is praised, "You know, I really love X people," -- not praised in a condescending way I hasten to add, but week after week after week it starts to become a little twee -- and then pretty much one of two stories gets told, ending with a last little stroke for the people in the room.
Listening to this a dozen or more times has awakened the worst of my qualities. I am intolerant and judgmental and impatient. I have barely been able to keep myself from tossing off a few withering comments at her expense to a few friends at the meeting.
So this past week, up goes her hand, and the speaker, who had never been to the meeting before, called on her. There was that almost imperceptible rustle in the room, people shifting in their chairs or catching someone's eye -- I fear much of the group is in the same place I am.
I kept my eyes down as she spoke, listening without really hearing, and feeling that awful/comfortable/toxic/pleasurable judgmental thinking wheeze into life in my head. I was afraid if I looked at one of my friends my poker face would break or my eyes would give me away, and that is wrong, to editorialize in such a way when someone else is sharing -- well, wrong for me anyway.
She was working towards the end of her roster of groups of people she liked, (we'd been through the heritage of the speaker, the dominant demographic in the room, and were taking a quick lap around people raised in a certain religion, "And you know, I just love the X's. It's just so special to spend time with...") and as sometimes happens to me -- though I'm hard pressed to believe I deserve it -- I get a sudden, subtle gift: A better thought, something from a what I suspect is a much better place, comes into my mind like a clean breeze through the open window of a sick room.
"What happened to her, that before she can speak her mind she is driven to do this placating behavior? How old was she when she got Taught A Lesson that it's not safe to open up until you mollify everyone around you? What a hard thing to have inside you. What a fearful way to be, in a room that is supposed to be so safe. Who did that to her, and when? And how?"
Just like *that* I felt a moment of sublime compassion for her. This pattern she is in -- which she likely isn't very aware of -- driving her to do this verbal curtsy to everyone around her before she dares to speak up. How hard and sad. That's a tough thing to carry, I thought. It will probably be difficult to break through for her, if she even perceives it...
Is it too much to say that suddenly I was able to look at her with love? Roll your eyes, it's the kind of statement which deserves it, even though it feels like the truth. Certainly compassion is love, and it swept up through me, sitting in my dinky folding metal chair, having just moments before been a bitter, judgmental little pig, roasting on the slow turning spit of my resentment.
Such a profound shift inside leads to talk of God, and quiet miracles, and the healing power of staying in 12 Step rooms and letting that message wash over you day after day...
Grace can come in an instant. One moment I can feel nothing but contempt, the next... I am full of compassion.
I've been at this too long to predict how I will feel the next time she raises her hand and gets called on, but I suspect I was given a gift that will stick, and pay dividends I'm still yet unaware of.
To be clear: She is right and fine. I hope she keeps raising her hand and doing what she needs to do to get her dose of medicine. It didn't -- and it still doesn't -- matter a flying fig what I or anyone else in the group thinks of that.
I just know that one more time I got something unexpected and somewhat miraculous from simply sitting in a meeting and listening.
One of our semi-regular guests at the restaurant -- who had badly melted down on me when I was fairly new -- was in again this evening.
(Their meltdown was ugly, and I was pretty rattled at the time -- one of those faces absolutely crimson with rage, spittle-flying-from-their-mouths, kinds of meltdowns. I assure you, while I am not above a little colorful hyperbole here at Mr. SP to help illustrate a point or make a story a bit more fun, there is zero exaggeration in that imagery. And for the record, I've done my inventory writing on it. But while seeing that someone is spiritually sick will always help address the sting, it does not always completely remove the bruise.)
Without obvious or major effort I've been able to gracefully avoid dealing with them since that awful day. It's felt like a little Divine Assistance operating on my behalf that there's always been some handy circumstance (a phone suddenly rings, a spill, some legitimate kitchen issue pulls me in the back) which has spared me another interaction.
Tonight however, HP upped the ante a little.
Without giving you a tedious play-by-play leading up to the moment, suffice to say that this time Divine Circumstance gave me a choice: I could again gracefully, and without appearing to do so, avoid any interaction whatsoever. Or I could turn around and assist them.
Time seemed to slow for me -- poetic (and cliche, I know) as that sounds. But I mean if felt like I had all the time in the world to think through what I wanted to do.
And make no mistake, I have long believed, long and sincerely believed, that in many ways my recovery is built upon what I do at these forks in the road. It's not the Momentous Life Events, it's the quiet -- almost invisible to anyone else -- personal opportunities for truly walking my talk which take my measure.
So I stood there, and thought about who I am and who I want to be -- and I mean the For Real who I want to be. What was interesting is that I did not feel any fear about interacting with them -- I hadn't felt that ever, really. To my utter astonishment, when I looked inside what I actually felt was that they didn't deserve my forgiveness. And that I didn't deserve having to go through the cost of rising above their behavior and giving it to them.
What was the cost of rising above?
What would it cost me; what was the psychic price of turning around and, looking right in their eyes, being sincerely courteous to someone who had literally shrieked in my face in front of a room full of people?
I thought to myself then that I if I did it I would feel it down to my bones. I would know how much it cost me to the psychic penny.
And then, as sometimes has happened to me in my life, I had a thought which was not my own. That's what it feels like when it happens. A thought so clear, so calm, so lacking in fear or ego or petty, trifling concerns that it literally feels like a whole other voice in my head.
It will cost you nothing if you decide it will cost you nothing. There is no price when you choose to rise above. And you can. If you choose to.
On the heels of that was a voice very much my own, adding, "Just set it aside, Mr. SponsorPants. Set aside the ego and the anger and be in this moment the For Real who you want to be."
I turned around and looked at them and smiled, and... it was so much more than okay. It was bigger than fine. It was effortless -- like when you pick something up which you expect to be heavy and it turns out to be empty, and you nearly toss it in the air it is so easy to lift.
It was like that.
And so it turns out that I know, to the psychic penny how much it costs me to rise above.
If that's the price I choose to set.
It has been a while since an insight dazzled me the way this one did tonight. If I sound twee or dramatic... well, I sound how I sound.
It is worth adding, here at the end, that if this person hadn't behaved so very badly to me I would never have had the chance to find this out and feel this way -- feel this free. The people who are the most troubling are indeed my Great Spiritual Teachers -- giving me lessons I would never choose, but insights I'm deeply grateful for having.
And so it goes.
Often, when I am writing the Resentment part of a 4th Step/Inventory, in the 4th column -- the "my part" in the resentment -- one of the things I write is "unrealistic expectations of other people." (Since that's what is often at the root of a resentment for me today.)
The shorthand for this in my head sometimes is "don't expect hungry babies not to cry." (That's not a reference to sponsees -- personally I don't call my sponsees "babies." It's a common term in some of the meetings I go to, and it is not used in a pejorative fashion -- nothing wrong with it. Just not my style is all.) But when I say that to myself about hungry babies, it's along the lines of "Well what did you expect, Mr. SponsorPants? This particular reaction from a person in this state is totally understandable/predictable/sadly-not-that-unusual. Hungry babies cry. Frightened people lash out. etc. Remember and deal."
Lately, when I drill down a little bit, I can see that underneath the 'unrealistic expectations of others' is the nearly unconscious idea that people should/would react the way I would if I were in that situation -- it's almost as if I'm surprised and disappointed when they don't. (Again this is somewhat unconsious. It's an attitude lurking underneath my thinking.)
This is of course a subtly ego-based way of looking at the world. (And quite possibly further proof of my arrested development, since I imagine this is a pretty infantile stage of ego development.)
But even as I write this it occurs to me that there's some arrogance in there as well. Sort of a murky thread running through this attitude, along the lines of "If I were a hungry baby, I certainly wouldn't cry." When in fact there's a body of evidence from my alcoholic behavior that not only would I cry, but I would cry the loudest! And try to put a pillow over the baby in the next crib to boot!
What's the point of all this inventory taking, this writing, this ongoing self examination? Clarity. Which both makes it easier for me to be compassionate towards those I resent (since I am then potentially able to identify with them) and also helps me not be overwhelmed by my resentments, since by mapping them out in this way I can see their roots and understand what makes them tick.
Self examination is always enlightening, occasionally entertaining (though not in this case I'm afraid) but very rarely enjoyable.
Dear Mr. SponsorPants,
Is there a difference between Resentment and Anger?
All horses are animals, but not all animals are horses, right?
All of my resentments have anger in them, but not all of my anger is what I have come to think of as a resentment.
For me, anger (that "dubious luxury of normal men") is a simple, clean emotion. And, like all of my emotions, it can be healthy and even appropriate depending on what's going on -- it's the actions I take (or don't take) based on my emotions which define my recovery and my character.
Resentment, however, is a much more mental exercise. For me yes, it is born of emotion -- usually my anger, maybe occasionally my fear -- but it's a head thing, not a heart or gut thing. All of that thinking, that toxic stewing... I believe it's sourced by self obsession and fear. It's dwelling on the anger -- reimagining the circumstances which led to it, fantasizing about making speeches or taking revenge, mentally assuming the role of victim or the mantle of martyr -- now we've got a resentment.
Thus, I think of it like this:
Anger + [Fear x Self Obsession] = Resentment.
Is it important to parse that out? To distinguish between the two? For me it can be, since (especially when I was new) I was prone to sorting my emotions into categories: "Good" feelings and "Bad" feelings -- and the bad feelings were things I "wasn't supposed to" have... which led to self judgement... which fueled more self obsession and... dear God, it's busy in there sometimes, yes?
So it was a healthy development to give myself permission to feel angry, rather than bury it under layers of evaluation and mental masturbation about how I felt.
And this also seemed to help me let the anger pass through me; to release it (a little) more easily.
When I was drinking, and well into sobriety, the anger-to-resentment process took all of a nanosecond. The two were virtually indistinguishable. For me that's why writing is such an important tool in recovery, because it slows my thoughts down to the speed of a pen travelling across a page. (Temporarily, anyway). And whether it's resentment, anger, or some sick, twisted blending of fear, self obsession and rage, I am still best served by writing an inventory and looking for my part in the equation.
Hope that helps.
Is it possible that sometimes we cling to a resentment so we can keep someone neatly labeled, rather than consider them from another point of view?
If I stay resentful at someone then I've defined them -- as the villain or the perpetrator or the bully or the thief or whatever -- and I can avoid the hard work of having an open mind, of considering what their illness or issue might have been (or might still be).
And then I can subtly minimize my part in the equation, postpone or avoid taking the full responsibility for my proverbial side of the street when I have one (as I so often, often do). In my heart I can slow the inventory-driven recovery process down, quietly whispering in my head "yes but they blah blah blah" every time I consider my part in something.
It's much less work to stay closed off in anger rather than open myself to seeing those who wronged me as fellow sufferers, or even, with Divine help, see them through eyes of love.
That's why I try to remember that the first thing the Big Book suggests I do in writing an inventory (the dreaded 4th Step) is not to pick up the pen and make a list of the people, institutions, etc. I resent -- no, the first thing I'm instructed to do is try to view those who I believe have wronged me as spiritually sick themselves.
Letting go of resentment is not just about taking responsibility for our part in things -- though that is essential -- it is about compassion, too.