I had it all backwards. I always thought it was natural to want to be loved, but in AA I learned it is not being loved that matters. It is being loving. I can’t expect to be loving if I am holding resentments. Resentment blocks me from enjoying the full power of God working in my life.
My father was the first name on my resentment list. He was cold, critical and a strong disciplinarian. He pushed me hard to achieve success on his terms and never seemed to be satisfied with my results. I resented him all my life for not loving me the way I thought he should. I drank against the hurt of never being good enough.
It wasn’t until I was confronted with the fourth column on my first Fourth Step, that I could begin to realize my father was spiritually sick just like me. When I saw he was alcoholic –driven by the same demons that drove me — the resentment began to dissolve. I began to develop compassion for his pain and ultimately forgive him. My father did the best he could. Today, without anger distorting my memory, I can focus on the things about him which were positive and loving.
In AA I learned to take responsibility for my life. I no longer blame my father or anyone else for anything that happened to me. I know that somehow every single experience, no matter how painful, is intended for my highest and best good -- to help me grow.