Key to the Future at the beginning of Step Four

For sharing and discussion, here is something for either of two kinds of people:

1. Anyone wanting to know how A.A. works;
2. Alcoholics or others wanting A.A. to work.

I came to A.A. knowing nothing about alcoholism.  I already knew my problem was something other than alcohol, but I had no idea why I could not stay sober…and then the people who first helped me began explaining…

“Selfishness – self-centeredness!  That, we think, is the root of our troubles.  Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.
“So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.” (page 62)

For anyone still thinking alcohol is our problem, just stop drinking for a while and watch as our problem appears…

“Resentment (a manifestation of self) is the ‘number one’ offender.” (page 64)

From the dictionary:

resent = to be angry or upset about someone or something thought to be unfair
resentment = a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury

“In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper.  We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry.”

Nobody in A.A. ever told me to “Don’t drink.”  Just like me, they already knew I could not do that.  So, and since getting drunk over resentment seemed to be my actual problem, they instead told me to begin praying for the people I resented…

Resentment Prayer

…and then they also told me it would not be helpful to pray for the man I resented the most to be run over by a truck!  At the time, I had no idea how they knew that is exactly what I had been thinking.

Returning to our text:

“We turned back to [our resentment] list, for it held the key to the future…
“This was our course: We realized the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick…like ourselves…
“We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend.  When a person [next] offended we said to ourselves, ‘This is a sick man.  How can I be helpful to him?  God save me from being angry.  Thy will be done.’
“We avoid retaliation or argument…
“We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.” (page 67)

I now had “the key to the future” and knew I never again had to take a drink over resentment…and much to my surprise, I had yet to look for even the very first defect of character.

3 thoughts on “Key to the Future at the beginning of Step Four

  1. PaulC

    I found your posting very helpful indeed. I’m only on day 6 – this time round! – and I’m away in my little tourer caravan…and I can’t physically get to a meeting.

    I had a major resentment & upset…& all I wanted to do was get blotto. However, that would have been me acting selfishly out of anger, hurt & resentment.

    Instead I’ve hung on in there, read some of Living Sober, done some simple prayers & had a nice healthy meal in the caravan. I can’t remember the last time I actually ate & had any semblance of an appetite; I was living off alcohol.

    Thanks for your help in getting to where I am today. Today, just in this minute I have not & will not drink alcohol.

  2. J dell

    Pray that they will not be run over by a truck…how did you know my exact thoughts? Thank you for the laugh. It’s good to realize I am not alone. Can I pray they get run over by a small truck? 😊

  3. Sarah B.

    Hello, J dell! Even that thought using the smallest of trucks can separate us from God (as you understand God) 😬😊, so we’d do well to stick with “the key to the future” and ask for the grace to see those we resent(ed) as spiritually sick, just as we are or have been. Those of us who have suffered from alcoholism and have recovered by taking A.A.’s 12 Steps just as they appear in our A.A. text (“big book”) need never be alone again, for we have tapped into The Fellowship of the Spirit, where we can join together in brotherly and harmonious action to help the next sufferer to the solution, just as we were.

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