Expectations are Premeditated Resentments

An excerpt from
12 More Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery

by Allen Berger, PhD., Hazelden Publishing

Optimal Recovery and Emotional Sobriety | Expectations are Premeditated Resentments (Part Two)
Part two of a four part series on Optimal Recovery and Emotional Sobriety

Sober Suffering: Expectations are Premeditated Resentments

Most of the time we are unable to identify the cause of our suffering. We can’t see that our expectations are the real problem. We attribute the problem to external factors – a selfish husband, a cruel boss, an unforgiving partner, an unreasonable parent, etc. Why? Because for us our expectations are normal and therefore reasonable – which means that we feel we every right to our claim about how life should be. We are unable to see how out of alignment with reality we really were.

Optimal recovery requires that we accept the following: that we don’t have the right to expect others to live up to our expectations or to demand that life conforms to our ideals. In A.A. meetings we hear that expectations are premeditated resentments. This is very true.

Expectations not only lead to resentments but they interfere with our growth and with a healthy connection with others.

The Gestalt Therapy prayer comes to mind. It goes like this, “I am I, and You are You. I am not in this world to live up to your exceptions, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. If by chance we meet – it’s beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped.” The Gestalt prayer encourages us to move beyond expectations.

Once we begin to realize that our expectations are the real problem we can get on with growing ourselves up and surrendering our hobbling demands. We begin to see that when we’re upset it is because life is not conforming to one of our expectations. Bill Wilson made this point very clear in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. When discussing Step Ten he stated that,

It is a spiritual axiom that whenever we are disturbed, no matter the cause, there is something wrong with us.”

READ PART ONE                    READ PART THREE                    READ PART FOUR