Justifiable Anger

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Patria
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Justifiable Anger

"It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also. But are there no exceptions to this rule? What about "justifiable" anger? If somebody cheats us, aren't we entitled to be mad? Can't we be properly angry with self-righteous folk? For us of A.A. [OLGA] these are dangerous exceptions. We have found that justified anger out to be left to those better qualified to handle it.

"Few people have been more victimized by resentments than have we [excessive gamers]. It mattered little whether our resentments were justified or not. A burst of temper could spoil a day, and a well-nursed grudge could make us miserably ineffective. Nor were we ever skillful in separating justified from unjustified anger. As we saw it, our wrath was always justified. Anger, that occasional luxury of more balanced people, could keep us on an emotional jag indefinitely. These emotional "dry benders" often led straight to the bottle. Other kinds of disturbances--jealousy, envy, self-pity, or hurt pride--did the same thing."

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 90. AA 1952

Patria
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I have a friend--who when

I have a friend--who when new in AA--had a sponsor who decided for her what was justified anger or not, and how long she was entitled to be angry.

If her husband was snappy that day, she was allowed to be upset for an hour. No more.

If one of her kids was rude to her, she was allowed to be upset for 15 mins.

If her sister called her and went on a gossip rant about the entire family, she was entitled to be upset for a couple of hours.

Anything after those times went into resentment and she was required to do an inventory on them to see why she was still upset.

I used to laugh at that because I felt righteous anger was very appropriate. And I was entitled to be as ****ed off as much as I wanted to.

But, I found out that carrying on these feelings too far, long past their due by date, would slip me into addict thinking which would allow me to feel entitled to game, take a drink, or start smoking.

So I've used that sponsor's idea of how to deal with these pesky emotions that keep going on and on.

Lately an idiot decided for me how I should grieve, how long I should grieve, what to do in my grieving, and the unstated comment was: what I was presently doing was "not good enough." And she felt strongly enough to send me an email listing these things.

So I got mad. And stayed mad for two days.

And then called a recovery buddy in OLGA and wrote about it.

If I had left those feelings alone--totally justified--I'd still be angry and it would ruin this week. But I wrote about it, my part in it, etc. and shared it with OLGA buddy.

I didn't find any part of my own in it. I didn't ask for input, or advice, and all I told her when she asked me how I was, I was doing ok.

But what I DID find out was the reason why I was upset; which was not so much because she was telling me to do, I was upset because I felt "she was right" and I was wrong.

I'm not wrong, she is not right, and how I grieve is my business. My part in it was--once again--thinking someone else knew me better than me, that they were right and I was wrong (this totally stems from childhood relationship with mother), and that I needed to change what I was doing, regardless of how I felt about it.

Wrong! I didn't need to change anything. But what I didn't realize was that once again I'm falling for some "mother-similar" instructions on how to live life. What I do to grieve is my business and not anyone else's, yet I was willing to give in to someone who sounded like my mother.

Good grief! all is ok now. I've put that idiot's email into my spam category in email, I'll never have to read her crap again.

dan1
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Wow, Pat.  This is

Wow, Pat. This is wonderful.j Especially the part where you realized that the reason you got angry is because you were insecure in your own skin, in your own behavior. That's big, really big, for me as well.

It reminds me of what my sponsor told me once: "The more secure I am in my own truth, the less angry I become when it is threatened." It's a strange paradox--the idea that the more solid our own beliefs about ourself are, the *less* upset we will be with people who tell us something different. But I think it's true.

And that gives me a pathway out of my own resentment. People who attack me, who tell me I'm wrong to do something or be something--I don't need to be upset about that. If I'm secure in knowing that I'm on the right path. Especially if I'm on the right path.

Yeah, people sometimes do very nasty stuff, and it causes real hurt, does real damage. But after that damage is done, all the rest of the hurt happens because I start believing that I deserved it, believing that I did stuff to cause it and resisting. Sometimes, it's true that I did something wrong that played a part, sometimes not. But always, I have a way out, a way of healing. Always, I can find a way to stop doing more damage. I can stop doing damage to myself. Acknowledge my part, make whatever amends may be needed, and move on. Let the resentment go. Sweep up my side of the street, and then go have a nice lunch. Done. And if there's too much noise coming from that other side, just pop in the earplugs.

I am a recovering computer game and gambling addict. My recovery birthday: On May 6, 2012 I quit games and began working a program of recovery through OLGA No computer games or slot games for me since December 12, 2012. No solitaire games with real cards since June 2013.

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