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Sponsee reckons he has nil resentments...

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:01 pm
by Tosh
I've a 63 year old sponsee, he would've had about a years sober time, but he relapsed big style about three months ago and subsequently asked me to take him through the steps. He started off keen, then at his step 4 has ground to a halt. We had a brief chat this evening after a meeting and he's adamant he has no resentments; he says he's had a few in his life; but these are so long ago that they no longer affect him.

He says had a loving mother and father; he's an only child with a wife that he's been married to for about 40 years (no resentments against her), and she is also an only child, so they've very little family. And I don't think he's lying either. He's an intelligent guy too.

Soooooooooooooo, what do you reckon?

Has anyone any experience of someone who hasn't any resentments? :?

Re: Sponsee reckons he has nil resentments...

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:18 pm
by Karl R
Yes. They went and got drunk rather then write a 4th step.

Does this from the 4th step essay in the 12 and 12 (AAWS copyright) help?
The sponsors of those who feel they need no inventory are confronted with quite another problem. This is because people who are driven by pride of self unconsciously blind themselves to their liabilities. These newcomers scarcely need comforting. The problem is to help them discover a chink in the walls their ego has built, through which the light of reason can shine.

First off, they can be told that the majority of A.A. members have suffered severely from self-justification during their drinking days. For most of us, self-justification was the maker of excuses; excuses, of course, for drinking, and for all kinds of crazy and damaging conduct. We had made the invention of alibis a fine art. We had to drink because times were hard or times were good. We had to drink because at home we were smothered with love or got none at all. We had to drink because at work we were great successes or dismal failures. We had to drink because our nation had won a war or lost a peace. And so it went, ad infinitum.

We thought "conditions" drove us to drink, and when we tried to correct these conditions and found that we couldn't to our entire satisfaction, our drinking went out of hand and we became alcoholics. It never occurred to us that we needed to change ourselves to meet conditions, whatever they were.

But in A.A. we slowly learned that something had to be done about our vengeful resentments, self-pity, and unwarranted pride. We had to see that every time we played the big shot, we turned people against us. We had to see that when we harbored grudges and planned revenge for such defeats, we were really beating ourselves with the club of anger we had intended to use on others. We learned that if we were seriously disturbed, our first need was to quiet that disturbance, regardless of who or what we thought caused it.
Have you tried having him think back through his life looking for times when his self-esteem, pocketbook, ambition, personal or sex relationships were threatened?

Have you tried asking him what were the "disturbances" or "his personal expectations unfullfilled" which led to his drinking to find a sense of ease and comfort?

Also....fear and resentment can be opposite sides of the same coin. Perhaps a fear inventory to start?


Re: Sponsee reckons he has nil resentments...

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:21 pm
by Todd M
hi... I am Todd, I am an Alcoholic

step-4 to me, was plenty more than just resentments
My sponsor told me, Resentments are just the easiest emotion to pin point for most of us...
like for me, the Medical industry, Government policys, Working relationships.
but, there were also things like Fears, things i felt sad about, things i felt guilty about,
and of course some of the things i felt Pride in myself... the Ego deal.

The 12 and 12 goes into this a little, some of the finer points for the one who believes there are no resentments

when one is ready, they must do a 4th, in my opinion.
Thats all out of me :)

Re: Sponsee reckons he has nil resentments...

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:09 pm
by PaigeB
I admitted to having only a few. And I still think that I had only a few. My sponsor told me to write the names of those close to me and then talk about my fears - it was much easier to come at the project from that point of view. I was able to talk about fears from way back that cause me to create havoc, but I was also able to talk about fears that were really resentments in a pretty package - how I was always worried what my **#@!!*^! brother was going to say to our sweet mother who liked him better than me, but that doesn't bother me...

Getting pen to paper was important. She set an appointment for me to do my 5th Step so that I would have a start & finish point (I am a perfectionist too - I might never be "done") Discussion about resentments came out in the 5th Step.

Re: Sponsee reckons he has nil resentments...

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:26 pm
by Blue Moon
It's possible. And yet he got drunk anyway. Sober alcoholics don't drink again unless they're feeling a need to avoid or escape something.

I suggest a different tack. Go back to Step 1. Ask him why he drank. If he just blinks and says "because I'm alcoholic", call him on such nonsense ... by that rationale, everyone in the AA room should be drunk. What's needed is a very careful review of the thinking that preceded the first drink.

Check out the BB story of Jim, the guy who drank whiskey with milk (chapter 3). This sort of step 1 review is what the old-timers did with him.

With Step 4, make sure he understands the definition of "resentment" in this context, most folks today mistake it for anger. It's possible to resent something yet feel no anger. My own more-troubling resentments tended to be more about remorse than anger. Also, there are the other aspects of the inventory, not just resentment ... fears, certain behaviours ... he needs to identify where his actions have been based on self-centred motives.

Then there's his relationship with his Higher Power, and Step 12. Prior to a drink, both tend to either get forgotten or be more about ego than genuine desire to be helpful to anyone else.

Re: Sponsee reckons he has nil resentments...

Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:45 am
by Tosh
Hey, thanks all, I'm glad I asked here.

There's plenty there for me to discuss with him; I'm not meeting him till Wednesday next week, so I'll get pen and paper and I'll go through each of the posts in more detail.

Seriously, thanks.

Re: Sponsee reckons he has nil resentments...

Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:05 am
by happycamper
I remember when I first tried to get sober in 02'. At that time I was not blessed with good sponsorship and from 02-04 I had 3 different women sponsors. The first one I never got past step 2 with her. The 2nd one didnt have time for me, and the 3rd one misguided me on writing a correct 4th step.
During this 2 yr period I was in and out of the doors of the AA mtgs. Id acheive 30,60,90 days of sobriety and at one time 7months. I did not and do not blame anyone for my drunkeness during that time. ( except myself of course ).

My 3rd sponsor told me to write down everything I had ever done wrong in my life for my 4th step. Which I did just that and when I tried to get that list into the columns like it says in the book, it didnt work. I cried and cried and could not figure it out. I drank.

My recent sponsor ( may she rest in peace ) told me to get a pen and paper and to think back thru my life as far as I could. She told me to write down any and all resentments or grudges I had that when I thought about them made me just as angry on the day I was writing them down as they did when they happened .. be it 1 yr or 20 yrs ago. These grudges were to be against ppl, places or things.
I did exactly as she asked and then when we met, she helped me put this list into the columns. It worked! Amazing how when having a good teacher and following the directions will get you to where you need to be.

Re: Sponsee reckons he has nil resentments...

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:15 am
by llewellyn
I heard this in a share which I thought was hilarious.

A sponsee reckoned that he had no resentments when it was time to do step 4. The sponsor said "Oh, really. Let look at this from a different angle. So tell me, who do you feel smugly superior to?" That ended up being a very long list, which little known to the sponsee at the time, later became his resentment list! :D

I'm not sure that this would be true for all individuals though.

Re: Sponsee reckons he has nil resentments...

Posted: Sat May 05, 2012 2:51 pm
by Tosh
I thought I'd update:

I don't sponsor this guy anymore, he couldn't put pen to paper, so I've let him go and we remain on friendly terms (he's in the same homegroup as myself).

His wife stopped me in the street just as I let him go, she was drunk; she told me she drank too much because of her living situation and gave me a good run down about my ex sponsee. He used to beat her when he drank, and I kinda suspect that's why he couldn't put pen to paper; he likes to come across as a laid back guy, yet he's relapsed twice in 12 months.

My sponsors said that it is impossible to understand the situation and he tends not to get too involved with families for the above reason.

Maybe he'll get honest in the future? I hope so. He doesn't look comfortable sober.

Re: Sponsee reckons he has nil resentments...

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 1:08 pm
by MyNameisVictor
Thanks for sharing, Tosh. It's always good to read your posts. It's impossible to comment on someone that I don't know (well, I shouldn't do that anyway regardless.). That said, I found during my step four that I had a resentment against myself for failing to accomplish or achieve the things that I wanted to in my life. Hence, my defect was sloth. I tend to procrastinate on doing the next right thing, simply because I isn't want to, drunk or sober. I also tend to focus on regrets, hence my defect is self-centerdness. I don't know if that helps here, but thought I'd share. Thanks.

Re: Sponsee reckons he has nil resentments...

Posted: Tue May 15, 2012 1:20 am
by ann2
Thanks so much for this thread. I recently got a swedish sponsee, my first, and she recently relapsed. She texted me that she was sorry she hadn't called me before picking up like she'd promised. I sort of skimmed by that but after reading this thread I understood that she was saying something important. So I had something to write back to her.

As much as I'd like to, I can't stop people from drinking, or give them the desire not to. I'm afraid I'm practiced so much detachment with my father that I can't get involved even with sponsees who don't want to stop drinking. But I can keep communicating the wonderful message of recovery that other AA members shared with me, to her and anybody else. thanks for putting me on the team. Ann