Sober since April 6, 2006


Monday, April 03, 2006


According to the Big Book, resentments are to be avoided like the plague. Normal people can harbor resentments and still function. But alcoholics cannot. Second paragraph of page 66 in the Big Book:

"It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feeling we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.

"If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison."

Something interesting I've noticed at work yesterday: experiencing stress at work causes me to feel resentful towards everything in my entire life. I tried to avoid the resentments yesterday, but when you have one of those workdays where everything that CAN go wrong, GOES wrong in a non-stop 10-hour torrent, you start to feel resentful. It just happens. (And that's exactly what yesterday was like. It was a 10-hour demonstration of Murphy's Law.)

The problem is, once I start feeling resentment toward one thing, I start feeling resentment toward other things. Work resentments fuel personal resentments. Then the intensity grows until I become a resentful, rant-spewing monster.

So what started out as:

"Oh, no! Why did [Coworker] leave such a mess?"

... after finding more messes, leads to ...

"Good grief! Can't [Coworker] do anything right?"

... leads to ...

"These customers keep getting mad at me because [Coworker] screwed everything up! God, please help me to calm down."

... leads to ...

"I'll bet he even gets paid more than I do. They give him every Sunday off and make me work every Sunday. I can't even go to church anymore because of him. God, I'm starting to get resentful. Please help me not to be resentful."

... leads to ...

"I can't go to church anymore. How am I supposed to grow spiritually when I can't go to church? God, this is bothering me."

... leads to ...

"I need to grow spiritually. I need to go to church! My spiritual life is in shambles. My stupid, pathetic mental issues caused me to lose the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I want to get better, dammit!"

... leads to ...

"Well damn him anyway. He cheated on me, did backflips to win me back, then just as soon as I started to love and trust him again, he broke up with me. Screw that. He wants nothing to do with me. I should feel the same. Screw him."

... leads to ...

"Screw everything. Screw everyone. Why won't my coworkers stop paging me for help? Can't they see I'm helping five other customers right now? All of their stupid questions are already answered on the package anyway. Why can't people think for themselves? I can't even think for myself, dammit!"

And it goes on and on in a never-ending downward spiral. There were actually many more rants than these during the course of the 10-hour work day. My "coworker" didn't make ALL the mistakes. Many of them were made by the company itself, other coworkers, and employees from other stores. So the rants spewed over toward them as well. I even ranted against myself for being so retarded in the first place. And of course during the entire ordeal, I desperately wanted to drink ...

But the real problem is: I normally don't think this way; I don't WANT to think this way; and I don't know how to get out of it once the spiral starts.

I tried prayer, but it didn't work. Of course, the prayer was being done while "cheerfully" helping customers while wearing my fake plastic smile. Since it was such a hectic day, there was never a calm moment. I'm not even allowed to take short 10-minute breaks. I prayed before work too, but that didn't seem to do any good.

The only thing that helped was finally leaving work for the day. Removing myself from the environment made everything better. But that is not always a viable option. There must be a better way of dealing with such "runaway thoughts". Escape has always been provided by alcohol, which was bad. So other means of escape must be equally bad, right?

I thought the whole point was to "grow along spiritual lines", which I interpret as meaning rising ABOVE the old alcoholic ways of coping. I hope to learn such ways soon. Preferably before I lose my mind.

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