Freedom From Resentment

Group photo

Freedom From Resentment

Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.”

Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book pg.64


Whether you’re new to recovery or you have managed to put together some solid sober time, your addiction is subtle and cunning in nature – always lurking in the shadows waiting for a chance to devour you again.

You can work through the steps, pray daily, work with other alcoholics, and generally be doing all of the right things – and just like that, something as seemingly small as resentment can crop up and throw you completely off course. While mountains and valleys are a part of the recovery process, staying stuck in the valley can be extremely problematic. If you are unable to figure out what is holding you back, it won’t be long before you find yourself stagnant in the valley and headed for a relapse.

Of all the obstacles you may face in recovery, harboring resentments is one of the most fatal challenges you can encounter. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous clearly describes the detriment of holding onto resentments “But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.”  One of the most important keys to maintaining long-term sobriety is learning how you can overcome resentments.


What are Resentments?

Resentment is defined as “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.” That indignation is sure to lead an alcoholic to walk hand in hand with his fatal foe – another drink. To take it a step further, resentments refer to the mental process of replaying a feeling (along with the events that led up to the feeling) over and over again. Typically, in resentments, we re-experience and relive the events in a way that detrimentally affects every area of our lives – physiologically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Part of what makes resentments so dangerous is they can compromise our judgment

Resentments can crop up from any recent event but typically resurface from conflicts or events that go far back into an individual’s past history. More often than not, resentments are the direct result of unresolved misperceived or real events in which the individual feels fearful, disregarded, or entirely disrespected.

You may feel recently slighted by a friend or disrespected by a family member, however, the situation may seem insurmountable due to underlying and unresolved resentments from your past. When looking over your resentments, in Step 4, it is not uncommon to recognize that these resentments have and currently may be affecting every area of your life. In recovery, the importance of addressing resentments is grave. In order to live, you must be free of resentment. Although a daunting task, it is not impossible. Here are some ways you can find freedom from resentment.


Awareness is Key

One of the key elements of letting go of resentments is recognizing the peoples, places, and institutions in which you are harboring resentments. If you are anything like me, this was a difficult request. I stepped into recovery, thoroughly convinced I was not angry at anyone other than myself. This delusion had to be smashed entirely.

In Step 4 we put pen to paper. We write down every person, place, or thing that we feel angered by. As we begin to identify these areas, we then identify and begin allowing ourselves to feel the underlying emotions of the anger – such as hurt or fear. There is a specific amount of vulnerability to proceed with this process. Laying our pride aside, we look at where we (our ego) may have felt threatened: financially, sexually, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and even within our self-esteem.


What Was Your Part?

One of the most freeing practices, through working the 12 Steps, is looking at what role you played in your resentments. For me personally, I began to accept that I had no control over other people, places, and things. However, I knew one thing for sure and that is that I had complete control over myself and my response to the things I find unacceptable. I came to the conclusion that my life looked exactly what I designed it to be. I, alone, was solely responsible for the consequences that beseeched me. Grace met me face to face in this place.


Looking at your resentments and finding your part is not a task to trudge alone – that’s why you have a sponsor. With the aid of your sponsor, you can look at how you may have been selfish, self-seeking, dishonest, or afraid. By disregarding the other person entirely, we are able to look within ourselves and see how we may have handled these offenses differently.


This process is described as one that separates the men from the boys. It’s not easy swallowing your pride, especially for the real alcoholic. However, in order to rid ourselves of seemingly justifiable anger and resentment, we must proceed. We begin to view everyone as our equal rather than better than or less than. After all, haven’t we also hurt others when we were spiritually sick? Forgiveness begins to seep its way in.


Pray, Pray, and Then Pray Some More

If you are in recovery, I’m sure you’ve heard others say act as if. I spent most of my life playing whatever “part” was most suitable for my specific needs. When it came time to get sober, I was a rebel without a cause. It wasn’t until I began addressing my resentments, that I began to understand the importance of this concept. So I became willing to let go of my resentments and now you want me to pray for this person? It sounded like utter insanity, yet my sponsor read over a specific resentment prayer in the Big Book, which states “If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for that person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free.”


My sponsor explained to me that all I had to do was be willing to pray for these “offenders” for two weeks. I clung to the freedom that was promised in letting go of my resentments. I began praying, despite my lack of compassion, and over time my seemingly empty prayers became real cause and concern for the wellbeing of these people I had been condemning for what seemed like an eternity.


You see, if you begin acting as if, eventually you will take on an entirely different perspective. With the smallest bit of willingness and action, life begins to take on a whole new meaning. If you truly want to be freed from the bondage of resentments, you should pray for those that you feel have harmed you. You will let go of the need to play the judge, juror, and executioner. You will find gratitude and your interaction with the world will begin to shift. This newfound application squeezes the resentment out of our minds, genuine concern and resentment cannot coexist.


Some More Food For Thought on Resentments

Resentments can be destructive, damaging your mental health and wellbeing over time. It is easy to become overwhelmed by resentment and it can lead to a cycle of negative thinking that can feel impossible to break free from.

The only way to recover from resentment is through sober reflection, where you take a step back and assess the situation as objectively as possible. Instead of allowing yourself to remain in an emotional state of resentment, try to think about ways that you can move forward and make progress towards healing. Consider all the facts without being influenced by anger or disappointment. This process may help you gain insight into the resentment and develop healthier coping strategies for dealing with difficult experiences in the future.

Recovery from resentment also involves learning how to forgive. This can be difficult, especially if the resentment is directed towards someone close to you or even yourself. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what happened was okay; it simply means that you are not going to allow resentment and anger to control your mental health and wellbeing anymore. Consider speaking with a mental health professional if forgiveness feels too hard to do on your own, as they will help guide you through this process.

Finally, remember that resentment is a sign of emotional distress; it’s natural to feel angry or resentful when something bad happens but avoiding these feelings won’t make them go away. It’s important to take time for self-care, such as engaging in activities you enjoy, talking to supportive friends and family, and seeking professional help if needed. These efforts can help you work through resentment in a healthy way, allowing you to emerge from it feeling liberated and more resilient than ever before.

The bottom line is that resentment hurts your mental health and wellbeing, but it doesn’t need to be the end of the story. You can recover from resentment by taking a sober approach to reflection, learning how to forgive with kindness, and prioritizing self-care. With dedication and effort, you’ll build resilience for future difficult experiences — all while feeling empowered in the process!



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Marion Weston, executive director


Executive Director

Marion Weston, Certified Interventionist, has been sober since November of 1989. Since then, she has sponsored many women through the 12-steps as well as being heavily involved in service. Also, Marion has led step workshops and has given talks in Nebraska, South Florida, Washington, New Jersey, Sweden and many other venues.

She has been involved since her first days in recovery with her Church and has enjoyed years of success in the chemical addiction field. Originally from Bellingham, Washington, Marion now resides in South Florida. Her favorite phrase is “turning scars into stars”.

Peter and Marion have a combined sobriety time of nearly 60 years, and a combined 40 years being in service to others in the field of treating substance use disorder.

Marion has been involved in recovery for over 25 years. She has walked many women down the path of recovery on both a personal and public level. Having been a part of 1-on-1 mentor-ship in recovery guiding women towards freedom, to leading various workshops to educate groups of men and women on the practical approach to a sober lifestyle. Marion strives to better herself and be of service to those around her.

Women recovering from alcohol addiction sometimes find it extremely difficult to survive without medications, the Through The Archway program helps them learn different dimensions of life and get over with addictions eventually.

Andrea Morganstein MS, RD, LDN, CDCES, Registered dietitian



Andrea Morganstein MS, RD, LDN, CDCES is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist who received her Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Some of her certifications include weight management, functional nutrition, fitness, and diabetes.  She currents owns a private practice in Davie, Florida and works one-on-one with individuals helping them achieve a healthier lifestyle using conventional nutrition as well as functional/integrative nutrition concepts. 

She started her career in Sports Nutrition and weight management but over the years has expanded her knowledge and expertise to include diabetes, mental health and substance abuse. As a contractor for multiple local addiction and mental health facilities, Andrea shares her passion and knowledge about nutrition in conjunction with behavioral changes with her clients suffering from mental health disorders including disordered eating and substance abuse. She works with them individually as well as in a group setting.

Alex Lizardo, Group facilitator



Alex Lizardo is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker, philanthropist, and an unshakable optimist. She is an obsessive learner who spends time reading, writing and creating strategic projects to help individuals make their dreams a reality. She is was born and raised in Venezuela, having moved to the United States in 2010 and established presence as a certified life coach with a specialization in spiritual psychology. A mechanical engineer and marketer by trade, she is currently a yoga and meditation instructor, reiki master, theta healer, and pranic healer. Her work focuses on trauma in inner child wounding and emotional codependency. She is a bonafide mental health advocate, and her passion for helping others is evident in all of her interactions with the Sylvia Brafman family.

Vinny Richards, Group facilitator



Vinny Richards is a unique therapist who went from working as an in-house therapist in various treatment centers to being a successful group facilitator bringing motivational enhancement lectures and relapse prevention programs to the mental health therapeutic community. His direct, authentic approach resonates greatly with the patients at SBMHC. Originally hailing from New York City, Vinny has also engaged in individual therapy with hundreds of clients over the last several decades.

Talia DeLuca (ACE, PPSC), Group facilitator



Ms. Talia DeLuca is certified fitness coach (ACE, PPSC) who is passionate about helping others to understand the important interplay between fitness, exercise, and mental health. She attended Boston College where she received a B.S. in Political Science and minored in Managing for Social Impact. During her time spent at BC Talia earned her personal training certification and became an instructor at the university recreation center. Talia further discovered her passion for fitness and mental health during an internship with Happify in her Junior year of college, where she helped to create an exercise program for app users to alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression. She is now a trainer at Anatomy in Midtown, Miami.

Talia grew up in a small town in Rhode Island and has spent the majority of her life in New England before moving to Miami in June of 2021. Throughout her youth and in school she struggled with anxiety, depression, disordered eating and other mental health challenges. Exercise has become a necessary aspect of her life that has helped her to better manage and overcome these challenges. In addition to training and fitness, Talia loves to spend time with her dog, eat, and travel.

Linda Milano, board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



Mrs. Linda Milano is a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner who is passionate about incorporating a whole health approach in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. She attended Florida International University where she first received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, and later a Master’s of Science Degree in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. She has over 25 years of experience treating patients with substance abuse and mental illness. She is certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Mrs. Milano also runs a private practice with over 200 patients. She grew up in a small town in Virginia. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Jim Magner, Director of business development



Jim Magner has worked in the field of substance abuse and mental health for the last 15 years. He has always had a passion for helping others. Jim has held many leadership positions over the course of his career and draws on his own recovery experience to assist families and their loved ones.  Born and raised in Lynn, Massachusetts, Jim now lives in Coral Springs with his wife Courtney and 2 kids. When he’s not working or playing with his family, Jim’s hobbies include golfing, fishing, working out and watching Wheel of Fortune, which he was a contestant on back in 2017.

Linda Newman, Primary Therapist



Linda Newman was born and raised in NJ. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Monmouth College followed by her Master’s degree from Georgian Court University. She started my career in 1993 and have been working in the counseling field since then in different arena’s. I started as an A/D adolescent counselor for 5 years until my second child was born. At which time, I took some time off to raise my family. Upon returning to work, I did some counseling in the school setting for some time. I also spent some time on the alliance in my town and assisted in creating programs for the school district regarding alcohol and drug education. She relocated to Florida in 2011 and have been here ever since When I moved to Florida, I went back to SA/MH which I’ve been doing consistently since then. I have 2 amazing children.

Michael Lenok, MA, Primary Therapist



Mr. Michael Lenok, MA, is a primary therapist at SBMHC.  Michael has been working in the field of substance use and mental health disorders since 2017. Michael is proficient with individual therapy and case management. He takes a very personalized and individualistic approach to treatment, and works in collaboration with each and every client to help them realize their true potential. Michael excels at group facilitation. His group curriculum and material is personally created and original. Michael’s unique approach to treatment for co-occurring disorders is something that is unique to SBMHC.

Michael has a Master’s degree in Addiction Counseling: Integrated Recovery for Co-Occurring Disorders from the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Syracuse University. Michael is a native New Yorker but is settling in Florida after spending the past 3 years in Washington and Massachusetts. He is a diehard New York Knicks fan, and makes far too many basketball references. He spends most of his free time chilling with his dog, Mamba.

Tricia Taylor, Clinical Nurse



Tricia Taylor a detailed oriented Licensed Practical Nurse with extensive experience in business operations, patient services and work well with team members and doctors.

Possesses exceptional team building, communication, and interpersonal skills and the ability to quickly adapt to the ever-changing business environment. Creative problem solver that works closely with doctors and staff to provide real time solutions.

Cynthia Ingram, Director of admissions and case management



Ms. Cynthia Ingram has worked in the field of mental health and substance abuse treatment for over 25 years. Cynthia, through her own personal experience, strength, and hope, has worked closely with many treatment centers, community providers, courts and other organizations who walk with the same vision and purpose, to help those who struggle with mental illness. Through this journey her purpose is clear: to give back what was so freely given to her.

Valeska Medel, Director of operations



Ms. Valeska Medel has been a professional in the healthcare industry for the past 17 years, with a primary focus on the operational and administrative functions. She comes with 15 years of experience as the Executive Assistant to the Administrator for a skilled nursing facility and an additional year as a Business Development associate for a Behavioral Health Hospital. Valeska attend Florida Atlantic University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Administration.

She has certifications from Broward College in Business Operations, Business Specialist, Accounting Technology Operations, and Human Resources Management.

Valeska grew up a small town in Chile and moved to the United States at the age of 28 where she learned and became fluent in English. Outside of work, Valeska enjoys Latin dancing, travel, and cooking.

Jaime Blaustein is Co-Founder and CEO of Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center



Credentials & Accolades

  • Credit Suisse – Investment Banking
  • Lord Abbett – Institutional Sales
  • Morgan Stanley & Wells Fargo – Wealth Management
  • Duke University – MBA
  • University of Michigan – BA

Mr. Jaime Blaustein is Co-Founder and CEO of SBMHC. Prior to this role, he was an investment banker at Credit Suisse in its Global Industrials coverage group in New York City. Here he was responsible for advising clients in the basic materials sector on strategic matters, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, leveraged buyouts, restructurings and various debt and equity financings. Prior to this role, he worked in institutional sales at Lord Abbett, a mutual fund manager overseeing ~$150 billion in assets under management. He previously worked in wealth management at Morgan Stanley and later Wells Fargo, advising a wide array of clients on investment strategies.

Jaime received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his M.B.A. from Duke University. He is an unapologetic NY Giants, Duke Blue Devils and Michigan Wolverine fan. His interests include fitness, steakhouses, international travel, meditation retreats, and quality time with friends. Jaime is a newly minted resident of Miami. He is actively involved in sponsoring dozens of men in recovery and is beyond excited to marry his business expertise with his passion for helping others make a comeback from the depths of mental illness and addiction.

Peter Marinelli, executive director



Through the Archway

Credentials & Accolades

  • International Circuit – Speaker
  • Certified Interventionist
  • National Council on Alcoholism – Speaker
  • Through The Archway – Founder
  • FHE Health Sober Living Program with Peter Marinelli

Peter Marinelli, Certified Interventionist and published author, has been sober since 1988 and has dedicated his life to helping others recover from alcoholism and drug addiction. The spiritual emersion program at Through The Archway has been created by Peter Marinelli. As an international circuit speaker, Peter has given hundreds of talks across the U.S. and Europe on subjects related to recovery.

He has spoken at numerous treatment centers, universities and medical organizations to both sufferers and clinicians alike. Peter has also been invited to speak for the National Council on Alcoholism and has been a guest on talk radio and has done workshops on spiritual transformation for various religious organizations.

He has spent the majority of his sobriety in the Treatment Center industry. Peter Marinelli’s mission is to help addicts and alcoholics recover from their fatal illness. He is the Founder and CEO of Through the Archway, a 30-day program designed to help suffering addicts reclaim their lives.

Dr. Linda Dolin, Medical Director of Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center



Credentials & Accolades

  • Destination Hope –  Medical Director
  • House of Hope –  Medical Director
  • Florida Medical Center – Internal Medicine Physician
  • Florida University Hospital – Internal Medicine Physician
  • Milestones in Recovery – Internal Medicine Physician
  • MedPsych Consultants – Founding Partner

Dr. Linda Dolin is the Medical Director of SBMHC. She received her medical degree from Chicago Medical School and went on to complete her residency at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Dolin brings nearly 32 years of experience as a practicing internal medical physician to her role as medical director at The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center. Her medical practice consists entirely of inpatient and outpatient clients with psychiatric diagnoses.

Dr. Richard Seely, Director of psychiatry

Richard Seely


Credentials & Accolades

  • Psychiatry & Addiction Medicine – Board Certified
  • Florida Medical Center – Psychiartrist
  • Florida Society of Addiction Medicine – Officer & Director
  • Profes sionals Resource Network – Evaluator & Provider
  • Princeton University – AB
  • Jefferson Medical College – MD

Dr. Richard Seely educated at Princeton University, Jefferson Medical College, and University of Miami residency in psychiatry, Dr. Rick Seely is Board-certified in psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and addiction psychiatry, and also in addiction medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. He serves as an evaluator and provider for Florida’s Impaired Professionals Programs and for professional sports teams, and as a consultant to the Florida Board of Bar Examiners.

Dr. Seely is an addiction medicine psychiatrist who has served as medical director of addiction treatment centers in South Florida since 1990 and has had the privilege of assessing and treating over 100,000 individuals suffering from the disease of addiction. He has taught addiction psychiatry at medical schools for over 35 years and supervises psychiatric resident physicians in addiction medicine.

In long-term recovery from addiction himself, Dr. Seely empathizes with patients and provides clear, consistent, and compassionate guidance in their recovery efforts. He imparts his experience and knowledge in a manner consistent with humility and dedication to spreading the message of hope and recovery.

Ben Brafman, MS, LMHC, CAP, Co-Founder and Clinical Director of Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center

Ben Brafman


Credentials & Accolades

  • Destination Hope –  President & CEO
  • The Academy for Addiction Professionals – President & CEO
  • Rx Angels – President & CEO
  • Sullivan Pharmacy – President & CEO
  • Barry University – Mental Health Counseling and Family Therapy

Mr. Ben Brafman, MS, LMHC, CAP is Co-Founder and Clinical Director of SBMHC. He has founded a multitude of programs focusing on addiction, men’s issues, eating disorders and personality disorders. Ben was Founder, President and CEO of Destination Hope, a treatment center specializing in substance abuse and mental health disorders, established in 2007. Ben is also the founder, President and CEO of The Academy for Addiction Professionals. The Academy is a school geared toward preparing professionals for the field of addiction by assisting students in getting their CBHT, CAS, CAC, and CAP. Additionally, Ben is also Founder, President and CEO of Rx Angels, a non-profit organization. Its main purpose is to help families that cannot afford medication and treatment for their mentally ill loved ones.

Ben has been in the field of behavioral health for 25 years. He has developed several programs in the South Florida area and has been instrumental in teaching other professionals how to effectively manage their clinical programs. Ben is recognized as a leading authority in behavioral health and a pioneer in clinical services. He is also actively involved in several community services programs. He has helped families all over the country from Atlanta, Georgia to Santa Barbara, California. He is a published author in the area of dual diagnosis and behavioral health. Additionally, Ben is a leading expert in family issues related to addiction and its impact on the system of family, having positively influenced thousands of families in his career.

Ben has a dual Masters from Barry University in Counseling and Family Therapy. Mr. Brafman is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. He is also a Certified Addiction Professional and trains supervisors in the state of Florida to supervise others effectively. He resides in Parkland, Florida with his wife, Suzanne, and his 3 children Abigail, Jacob and Elijah. He has completed several marathons and is currently working on publishing books in the area of addiction, mental illness and behavioral health.