Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Revenge or Justice

“If you can’t beat them, arrange to have them beaten.” —George Carlin

At this holiday season, with the ideals of freedom, peace on earth, and spiritual salvation filling the air, the recovering addict’s thoughts naturally turn toward revenge. We all know about the big setup: Get miserable enough and you’ll go back to the potions and powders. Resentment is a great misery producer but it pales next to the heaps of sorrow revenge can bring. Revenge is resentment put into action. It’s like putting hell into powder form and snorting it.

“But terrible things were done to me! Justice demands that I get some of mine back.”

—Oops. That “justice” word came up as though it was interchangeable with the word “revenge.” You can poke around through dictionary definitions to try and find the difference between the two, but there isn’t anything there you can’t bend to fit whatever it is you want to do. Still, “justice” is good and “revenge” is bad. Why? I ran across a quotation that cleared it up for me:

“An act of justice closes the book on a misdeed; an act of vengeance writes one of its own.” —Marilyn vos Savant

So, after you’ve done what you can regarding your injury through the law, therapy, and modification of relationships, what do you do with the rest of this mountain of anger and pain? You do what you need to do to let go: Sponsor, meeting, steps, HP, and a thing called forgiveness. Remember: forgiveness is not letting someone else off the hook. Forgiveness is putting down the weight of resentment.

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