Monday, January 11, 2010


"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

This can seem a daunting prospect; it was for me. Apart from my rage and resentment towards the alcholic, and my belief that all roads led straight back to him and his drinking, was my hidden, secret fear that an inventory of myself would reveal horrors the like of which skirted my dreams at night.

I felt resentful at any suggestion that I wasn't perfect as is, that I might have a part in my own misery, that I needed to swivel my focus from the poor sodden drinker to the mirror, and take a good hard look at myself and my own behavior patterns.

I've learned to use resentment as a touchstone; when that's my predominant feeling in a situation, it's an excellent indicator that my own character defects are running at high tide. I don't become resentful unless I'm already feeling guilty. I'm not feeling guilty unless I know I'm behaving with less program than I could. (Not should, could. Al-Anon teaches us not to try changing our conduct through shaming and restrictions, but to choose better behavior as a path to enlightenment and serenity.)

There are no "musts" in Al-Anon; we are each given the room and the freedom to practise this program as much, or as little, as we see fit. No-one will sit at the table with us, take notes, and declare us wanting. We are part of the fellowship to whatever degree we choose. In the same way, we will have whatever relationship with whatever Higher Power we embrace.

I've had periods of great movement and change, when I've been driven by stong desire not to be that same unhappy person I once was, and I've had times where I've just been coasting on fumes. I try not to judge the one by the other, but to accept both as the natural ebb and flow, without fear. I'm moving forward steadily - I can see that when I glance back over my shoulder to see my last resting place. But I don't want to become complacent, or self-satisfied.

Regular inventories of myself keep me honest, and help me to understand my character, my choices, and my motives.


  1. Great post. Thanks. I know that's true for me about resentments, too.

  2. Resentments are a total drag. They drag me into the world of negativity. No thanks. I would rather do an inventory and change what I can.


  3. I don't like to harbor resentments and find that by monitoring what I'm feeling and paying attention to it, I can get through a resentment and let it go.