My father was at the top of my first fourth step resentment list. He was cold and controlling, and doled out harsh punishment when I stepped out a line. I didn’t hate my father, but I resented the way he treated me. This resentment kept me from the desire to have any kind of meaningful relationship with him. My ego erected a wall between us.
I joined AA and began to make my way through the steps. When I came face to face with my character defects I saw I was guilty of the very things I judged him for. I was cold, controlling and angry when I didn’t get my way. Today I know that my father suffered from untreated alcoholism. I realized he was driven by a 100 forms of fear just like me. I feel compassion for him and the suffering he must have endured. I regret that my father died before I could see this truth.
God puts other people in my life to help me grow. They hold up mirrors so I can see the truth about myself. Most of the people in my life today reflect good qualities. But every now and then a button pusher appears to help me see I’ve got work to do. Seeing my character defects in others doesn’t feel good, so I often turn away, but then another person shows up with the same reflection. Funny how that works.
The key of course is willingness. I continue to grow along spiritual lines, if I have the willingness to look in the mirror when it’s standing right in front of me. Some days I have this willingness. Some days I don’t.