by Nikki Russell, Recovery Coach
April 25, 2023
"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." -A Course in Miracles (2007)
In writing about forgiveness, one must examine resentment…
Resentment is a feeling of anger because I have been compelled to tolerate something I do not like (Cambridge English Dictionary, 2023).
If I could give another word for recovery, it would be forgiveness because if resentment is the blind spot of addiction, then forgiveness is a corrected vision. Forgiveness is an inner connection versus an emphasis on the crisis. In other words, resentment is fear, and forgiveness is love. I have discovered a fear threshold that presents itself as a trigger; in recovery, I recognize this as a contrast to my normal peaceful state, but in my addiction, I lived in the tension of fear that drove me towards alcohol and drugs. A trigger is a trip wire (hidden resentment) to move me ahead; I can claim happiness once I confront the fear with forgiveness. Resentment is a conditioned pattern that recycles through the thought system to help protect against trauma. Trauma is the taming of my authentic spirit; it taught me that my truth, my looks, and the way I walked and talked were unacceptable; a part of me needed to change to avoid the painful judgment of the world-I became a prisoner of my mind.
Forgiveness begins with the courage to face the pain of the past that imprisoned me in a cell of resentment that evolved my belief system. I started by forgiving myself for the world telling me who I should be. Next, I needed to look at the truth, be willing to feel all the pain and live without resentment. Resentments fueled my life, like " I will show you how successful I can be," even if that meant abandoning my truth for your standards. Forgiveness allowed me to poke holes through the conditioned belief system and reclaim my validity. Resentments tend to put me in a passive role, and forgiveness declares responsibility with action. Forgiveness shatters fear, embodying the courage to look within and liberate my soul. Trauma stunted my growth, and fear dug its heels in; I grew a chip on my shoulder and began viewing the world through my wound's eyes.
As a devotee of the oneness of life, I hold a distinct perspective on resentment and forgiveness. I have learned through meditation that when somebody hurts me, it is self-betrayal because I have made them into something they are not. I may have made them small to make me feel big. I may have made myself small and the other person superior so they could "save" me. I created this belief system based on fear; I projected my fearful beliefs onto them. Forgiveness looks beyond the misperception, accepts reality as imperfect, and is willing to begin again on equal ground. When I tolerate recycled trauma and refuse to release it through forgiveness, I create a toxic internal environment that I choose to accept or reject that can catapult me into recovery or feed the fear that drives my addiction.