Step 4. I’m still a slave to it.
As a slowly trudge through all my resentments, I sometimes stop and ask myself, why is this so hard? Everything’s been said and done, the reasoning behind it all, is neither here nor there any longer. Water under the bridge.
They say that resentments will destroy an alcoholic. And, I can’t really say I disagree. It’s always those little stinging, nagging voices popping up that make the idea of drinking seem romantic. And the little resentments of my present day to day life, well, they seem manageable. I deal with my problems as they come now, or at least I make my best effort. It’s the oldies that keep holding me back.
Maybe it’s the idea of returning to those old, dark places and people. Things I’d wanted to leave behind, so, I did. But, they’re still there. Somewhere in the dark, shadowy corners of my brain. Will those old, senile resentments be the ones that tear me down? It hardly seemed that way, but now, as I stare at the columns of my forth step, forced to remember those little hurts, inconveniences, and heartbreaks, it seems like the oldies may very well be the things that drive me to insanity.
While my sponsor constantly reminds me that my step work is not a race, I can’t help but think that I just want to be done with it. I want to say I faced it all with grace and walk out, face in the sun. But, the trick to that is, I actually have to face it. It’s called step work because it’s work. It’s unpleasant and it’s painful. It’s uncomfortable to return to all the things that went awry, relive them, feel the feelings I felt, and then, after all that, admit how I’d been partially, if not wholly, responsible. Admit where I was in the wrong. It seems almost cruel and unusual.
I have to get past the fact that this isn’t a mess I can clean up by talking my pretty talk, making excuses, or buying time. This is a mess that requires getting on my hands and knees and crawling in the shit.
AA works. This, I already know, steps worked to completion or not. Millions of people have worked their 4th step and made it out alive, better than alive, they have a new lease on life. Working the steps makes things better. I’ve heard it a million times, seen it happen in front of my eyes, read it in page after page of AA literature. I know this will work. So, what’s stopping me?
It’s like dieting and going to the gym. You know that if you eat right and exercise you will lose weight. It’s a fact. Science. Proven. So, why is it so incredibly hard for people to just do it? What’s the hold up? Well, it’s the same concept, in theory, as the steps. Working the steps is like losing emotional weight. Who will you be without that weight? What will protect you? What will be your next excuse for yourself be when you’re without that weight? Therein lies the truth.
I hold onto my hurt and pain because it makes for a nice shield. The thing is, these days, I’m not sure what it is I’m protecting myself from, or, if I even want to be protected anymore. All I know is I want to be genuine. I don’t want to live behind the scars and bruises that made it easy for me to excuse my drinking, drugging, and general indifference to the state of my life.
Step 4. It’s a hard road. It’s work. It’s painful. But, in the end, it’ll be worth it.
Time to drop the weight.