Does “letting go” mean I have to forgive?

I don’t have a favorite slogan that I repeat to myself, but if I did… it would probably be “Let go, and let God.” I like this slogan because it points to some important steps in the program. One of them is forgiveness.

The actual word ‘forgiveness’ isn’t used in any of the 12 steps, but it is implied. After we’ve taken our inventory in the fourth step, we confess it in the fifth. Following confession, we ask for forgiveness. This is step 6 and 7. “We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.”

Steps 8 and 9 require that we make amends: We forgive others and ask for their forgiveness. This can only follow steps 6 and 7. Forgiving others flows naturally from our receiving forgiveness.

Today I feel resentful to someone at work. They don’t know I feel this way because I haven’t taken any action. My resentment toward them probably has more to do with me than it does them. However, it leaves me with a choice:

Will I hang on to it, or let it go?

This isn’t an intellectual decision. I already know the right answer! It’s a question of willingness. I know how to let go, but will I? And that’s an emotional decision that isn’t easy to make. I’ve read a lot of books, talked to a lot of people, and gone to a lot of meetings… and yet I still find this kind of decision difficult.

That’s because these decisions are made at an emotional level. There are no guarantees that I will make the right decision. None. This thing about correct decision making is not a slam dunk: Sometimes the ball rolls around the hoop several times before passing through the basket – or not.

Forgiveness (letting go) is to recovery as oxygen is to the air we breathe. There are no ‘ifs’ in forgiveness. Putting conditions on our ability to forgive will bring the whole process to a screeching halt. And we will ‘suffocate’ as a result.

If I am to continue in recovery, I must learn to forgive. Today, I need to let it go; hand it over to my Higher Power. “Let go and let God.” With God’s help I can let go.