1938 Original Manuscript for 1939 1st Edition BigBook Searchable 1976 3rd Edition BigBook On-Line
The Prescription
Click The Images To Go To Page Indicated In The Flag

What Does The BigBook Say About Resentment?

I see resentment crop up in meetings and out in the "world" every now and again, as egos and personalities get to working before principles. The following is from my archives ... something to read again and think about.

The word resentment comes from the Latin word "sentire" which means, "to feel", and when you put "re" in front of any word, it means "again", so the word resent means "to feel again". It includes people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry, with whom we were hurt or threatened or interfered with, with whom we felt had wronged us, with whom we stayed sore at, with whom we felt "burned up" toward, and with whom we held a grudge.

I would like to add the following as well: People, institutions or principles which we are annoyed with, agitated by, or let down by; and I also like to suggest that this includes our regrets [from "gratan", to weep, i.e., to weep again] because regret is resentment toward ourself.

I always thought that resentment was reasonable, acceptable, and almost fun at times. Resentment became a way of life for me because it seemed like I had problems with or was annoyed by most of the people, institutions or principles I knew.

But, if we want to recover from alcoholism, the BigBook says, "We saw that these resentments must be mastered," and here's why:

  1. Resentment is the "number one" offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease. (Page 64)
  2. It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility. (Page 66)
  3. It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to unhappiness (Page 66)
  4. To the precise extent that we permit these [deep resentment], do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. (Page 66)
  5. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. (Page 66)
  6. We found that it [this business of resentment] is fatal. (Page 66)
  7. For when harboring such feelings [resentment] we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. (Page 66)
    [There is a native word of greeting, Ky'hoo'ya, which means "Walk In The Sunlight of the Spirit", and is also a fitting acronym for "Keep Your Head Out Of Your Ass."]
  8. [When we harbor resentment] the insanity of alcohol returns. (Page 66)
  9. [When we harbor resentment] we drink again. (Page 66)
  10. For alcoholics these things [including resentment] are poison. (Page 66)
  11. We began to see that the world and its people really dominated us. In that state, the wrong-doing of others [resentment], fancied or real, had power to actually kill. (Page 66)
  12. We have listed and analyzed our resentments. We have begun to comprehend their futility. (Page 70)
  13. We have listed and analyzed our resentments. We have begun to comprehend their fatality. (Page 70)
  14. We have commenced to see their [resentment's] terrible destructiveness. (Page 70)
  15. Never forget that resentment is a deadly hazard to an alcoholic. (Page 117)
  16. The greatest enemies of us alcoholics are resentment, jealousy, frustration, and fear. (Page 145)
  17. I can't afford resentments against anyone, because they are the build-up of another drunk. (Page 325)
  18. I realized I had to get rid of it [a resentment toward his mother], for my reprieve was running out, and if I didn't get rid of it I was going to get drunk. (Page 552)

After all this, it can't be denied that the Big Book paints a really definite picture of the result of holding resentments. Is it possible that the more we have them, the more we are moving toward our next drink, since we have used alcohol before to help us deal with them? We must honestly ask ourself if we are earnestly seeking to get rid of resentments in our life, or do we hold on to some, considering them unavoidable. It's something to think about.

[Remember -- the solution to holding a resentment is found on Page 552]

Love and Peace, Barefoot

Index of AA History Pages on Barefoot's Domain

As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of AA with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In AA and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!

ABC Page 60 from the Big Book



Click for my wish for you this day
Click for a Message From Barefoot
Barefoot's World
Email Barefoot
On the Web April 24, 2002 in the Spirit of Cooperation

Three mighty important things, Pardn'r, LOVE And PEACE and SOBRIETY