What Does Resentment Have to Do with Relapse?

Resentment can build for people over time to the point of becoming overwhelming. It is not just a shame that builds, it is also a feeling of powerlessness over substances. People talk about things in recovery that are difficult and cause them to run away with the help of substances. Resentment that is not dealt with can build to the point of relapse.

Defining Resentment

Resentment is a negative emotion people experience when they feel they have been wronged in some way. This feeling of being harmed may be in response to actual events or imagined. This is not always irrational but most of the time resentment comes from the wrong place. It is closely related to hatred and contempt. A person with resentment may:

  • Experience contempt when wronged by someone who is seen as inferior
  • Anger when wronged by an equal
  • Feel resentment if perceived harm is due to the actions of a superior
Common Reasons for Resentment

Resentment can build up to a toxic level for people in recovery. Some common reasons include:

  • The feeling other people are in control
  • Failure of others to react in a certain way
  • People who act superior to you set you off
  • Other people getting in the way of what you want
  • People who are hypocritical
  • People in power abusing the power
  • When people are unjust or lie

In some instances, these feelings are based on real injustices. In lots of cases they originate from the mind of the person with resentment. They have nothing to do with reality. The dangers in recovery are that people get focused on others and not themselves. They fixate on negative emotions that are not useful for recovery. Resentment is a common relapse trigger. Negativity makes things uncomfortable. To be successful in recovery, the person needs to let go of resentment to find peace.

Moving Ahead

Just because people have given up alcohol or drugs does not mean they are saints. They have time to deal with negative emotions. This is likely going to continue throughout sobriety. This goal is not to get rid of emotions but learn how to deal better with them, like:

  • Feeding into positive emotions. Focus on the good and let the rest go
  • Recovery programs help when you do the work
  • Mindfulness meditation is supportive of people balancing thoughts, feelings, and emotions
  • Journaling and writing help
  • Gratitude is a great way to get past negative emotions
  • Developing a spiritual life in recovery should make it easier to cope with negativity. This helps people not hold grudges and realize forgiveness is key to spiritual growth

Resentment does not have to have the final say in recovery. If you are mentally strong and focused on recovery with the right support, you can bolster yourself against negative emotions. Relapse can sneak up and happen to anyone so having the right tools can support your journey and keep you healthy and strong for when challenges come your way.

The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.