Baby Steps of Step 4, column 2
We are done with column one. Now for the cause of our resentments. This is the easiest of all the columns, so we’re going to go quickly down the list in the second column and jot a few words to remind us of what happened. Why did this person or item make the list? Why do you have a resentment (bad memories or a strong dislike)?
What to document
Day 4 Assignment: List the causes
There are an unlimited number of emotions involved. You might feel anger, hurt, guilt, jealousy, despair or self-loathing as you examine the event of the past. For that reason, we’re not going to camp beside these open grave sites. Digging up the past is hard work. We’re writing this inventory to find a final resolution, not to rehash the stories of the past. Healing doesn’t happen from rehashing.
How to document
Brevity is the rule here. Limit your phrases in this column to under 20 words. If you check the example on page 65 of Alcoholics Anonymous, you can see Bill covered some pretty dicey situations using no more than 19 words! Focus on the other person’s actions, not your justifications, reactions or interpretations. Just briefly jot down the core issue. At first, this may be difficult, but it gets easier. Really, you’ve got this!
Why do this?
Eventually, we begin to realize it’s not so much who or what we listed in column 1 that made us upset, it’s what happened in this column, # 2, that caused our resentment. That’s progress. We start to separate the action from the person. This makes it possible for us to become more objective. Objectivity helps remove the trauma.
Examples of documentation
Click here for some knotty examples from my muddled life.