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Exploring Anger in Addiction Recovery and Treatment

Anger is an emotion deeply rooted in your insecurities. It stems from those insecurities and grows by consuming your fears and doubts. You might be angry at yourself, the people around you, or at your circumstances. Anger is mostly directed at things we cannot control or some things that look down on us.

As recovering addicts, we may often find ourselves getting angry at society, societal standards, and even authorities like the police or law enforcement.

Here is the hard pill you have to swallow: All of these institutions are there to help you.

As much as you might think they are against who you are as a person, at the end of the day, these are the same people who will help you out of your addiction.

But before anyone can help you, you must help yourself.

As cliché as it may sound, you must overcome the emotions inside you that keep you from recovering. Most of these emotions are doubt, fear, and anger. Anger is the one emotion that pops its ugly head out the most. Researchers say that anger is the most easily accessible emotion yet it is built upon the most complex system.

In Addiction Recovery and Treatment, the first thing you are taught is how to better control your anger.

This anger is holding you back from so much in your life, and it is of utmost importance that you deal with this first. You must learn to re-work your anger into a positive output. Fuel your productiveness with your anger.


Where does Anger Come from?

One of the first things you must realize before anything else is that your anger is normal. It is a natural human response. Everyone gets mad.

Where the problem begins, especially in recovering addicts, is that their anger is often misdirected. It is also a product of fear, pain, loss, uncertainty, and trauma. The biggest ones are fear and pain. These might be ingrained in you psychologically or, they might be even physical responses. It is important to identify which one you have. Psychological factors may stem from past experiences and worries about the future.

Maybe you are afraid of losing face, being ridiculed, or even appearing to be weak. Similarly, your pain might stem from similar factors. While physical pain may be involved, psychological pain from loss and the factors above may be a driving force. Whatever the case may be, it is of utmost importance that it is identified. Identification is step one to addiction recovery and treatment.

How We Naturally Respond to Anger

Anger, as mentioned before is natural and has several natural responses in the body. It releases a bunch of chemicals inside your body that make you act the way you do.

Catecholamine is a hormone released inside your body that gives you those slight bursts of concentrated energy inside you.

Another hormone released inside your body through anger is the adrenocortical hormones. These are a result of evolutionary responses to stressful situations, which includes but is not limited to the fight or flight response. These hormones will have you feeling on edge for quite some time and can also make you angry again. But keeping the anger inside can also have adverse effects. ‘Holding in’ your anger leads to degraded mental peace and also leads to several physical responses.

For addicts, the last thing you need is more physical responses. So you can understand just how important it is to deal with anger.


What Makes You Angry?

Learn to get familiar with the people, places, and situations that might trigger your anger. The simplest thing you can do is to take a piece of paper and jot down in bullet points what makes you angry. Focus on how it makes you feel initially before the anger kicks in and write it down. Some examples are:

I get angry because…

  1. I was made to feel weak, which is one of my insecurities. I got angry

  2. I was criticized for something seemingly irrational

  3. I feel unloved.

  4. I do not know what to do

  5. I feel helpless

  6. My instincts get the better of me

  7. I feel exhausted

  8. I’m not making any progress

These are highly specific examples. Your list can be formatted any way you want- it does not matter. Focus on what initially triggers your anger response.


Coping with Anger

In addiction recovery and treatment, anger is seen as an obstacle to recovery. Most of the time it is usually the cork for so many other emotions bottled up inside you. It effectively stops any progress since everything else behind it hidden.

Anger is a knee-jerk reaction to so many of the things that other emotions have to deal with.

If you are an addict who has been dealing with anger for an extended period, think back and remember how many times you got inexplicably angry, especially in a situation where the anger was not warranted, but rather it was the most easily accessible emotion for you.

Think of it this way: in your mind there is a mountain. This mountain is built up of many emotions. These emotions may be anxiety, stress, regret, loss but also happiness, joy, and love. But the mountain peak is now anger.

Whenever you face a difficult or triggering emotion, your brain immediately picks the emotion on the top of the pile. Again and again! You must cut down this mountain so you can access all of the other emotions and eventually get to the ones you want.

But how do you cut down the mountain?

Coping Mechanisms

As mentioned before, the best way to cope with anger is first to identify what causes it. What the triggers are and they affect you.

  1. Notice the changes you feel inside when you get angry. Do you clench your fists? Do you tense your muscles? Do you just go silent? At the moment it is very difficult to identify these. But it is only after you have thoroughly identified these signs within yourself that you can prevent getting angry.

  2. Once you do identify this sign, stop yourself in your tracks. The adrenocortical hormones that trigger the fight or flight response can be culled, but only if you stop yourself. Stop and breath for 10 seconds. Count to 10 inside your head. If you feel like 10 seconds were not enough, then count for another 10 seconds. Take as long as you can to calm yourself down.

  3. If you can, get out of that situation. Go for a walk, take a break and relax your senses. You are aiming to break the elevation of anger inside yourself. This will be difficult at the start, but it will be well worth it. Once you have calmed down, you can continue to engage in your activities or continue to talk with the people involved.

  4. Relaxing does some It trains your body to look for a way out when you get angry. Your body will recognize automatically that anger is a response it does not want and will default to other methods of dealing with the situation.

  5. Humor is one way the body can redirect your anger. A lot of comedians admit to being depressed or angry and point to comedy as a coping mechanism. Make yourself laugh if and when you get mad in a situation; where appropriate of course. Make light of the situation and de-escalate or rather deflate the bubble inside you.

  6. Distract yourself. Take yourself away from the situation and distract your mind. Go for a walk in the park. This will put you out of that confined space you were in when you got mad and gave you a new perspective on things. You could also read a book, or listen to music. Video games are also an effective method to distract yourself as your brain has to focus on so many other things.

  7. Write down how you feel. Most of the time, anger is a mask to other emotions. Having written the situation down on paper can make it seem so trivial. You can even come up with solutions to the problem presented to you.

  8. Take the mask off the anger. Explore the feelings underneath all of that anger that hides it. Your anger is a product of you not being able to express your other feelings. This is mainly because you have never been given a way to explore these feelings. The feelings that lie under anger, such as loss, regret, humiliation are the types of feelings you need to explore and get to the bottom of.

  9. Write a letter, note or e-mail to the person you are angry with but do not send it to them. Write down everything about the person that makes you angry. Write why it makes you angry, always addressing the person. Then when you are finished, have someone you trust read Or better yet, read it to them. Having your feelings validated is very rewarding and can help you bury the hatchet. As in, you receive some form of closure with your anger.

  10. You will encounter conflicts in life. These conflicts will result in you getting angry. Do not be afraid of that. It is important to realize that you cannot avoid conflict. One of the main steps in addiction recovery and treatment is to face your conflicts.

  11. Learn different ways to deal with conflict. This is something we pick up from our home environments and unknowingly carry throughout our lives. It may be very ineffective as a whole- when dealing with problems. But it is the only way we know. So we need to learn how to deal with conflict in other ways. Many of us have a step by step process when faced with problems. We need to find ways to add or subtract come of these steps. For example, if you try and avoid the situation but it goes nowhere, try to change your steps.

  12. Do not be afraid to ask for help. The road to addiction recovery and treatment is one you do not have to face alone. Look towards your family, your friends, a therapist or even online. Many places offer free anger management routines that help you to focus your anger on other things.


The Benefits of Controlling Your Anger

For addiction recovery and treatment, dealing with anger is one the best ways you can open yourself up to recovery. Anger leads to relapse. There are countless examples of people losing their way due to anger and frustration and falling back into old habits. Habits that will then eventually get them killed.

Addiction recovery and treatment is a long road. It is not a necessarily hard road. You must be your champion. You must learn that you have total control over your body, your mind, and your soul.

Controlling your anger can lead to so many benefits. Your relationships with people are more wholesome and friendly and they will also be more psychologically rewarding. You can get more from your relationships than you ever did before.

Research has shown that healthy and rewarding relationships go a long way toward building a stable and healthy mindset. Most importantly, conquering your anger will help you conquer the demons of your addiction. Whatever substance that held you back will no longer be a stopping force to your progress.

Anger is a cork, a stopping point, and a nuisance. So many of the feelings that you bottle up inside are inaccessible because of anger.

So to better yourself, and better your life, you have to conquer your anger. Make anger a thing of the past and move on to newer avenues that will help you recover your health and life.

You are your champion, and it is time you made it that way!

Need Help with dealing with anger issues in your Addiction Recovery and Treatment?

If you want to understand the anger in your life and how it affects your recovery life you can get in touch with the Hotline at our Recovery Center where trained and experienced professionals are available to assist you in every way.

The staff at Chateau Recovery is always available to help you with your questions regarding addiction recovery and treatment.  Call anytime.

Chateau Recovery Center 375 Rainbow Lane
Midway, UT 84049, USA

Anger, Compassion, and What It Means To Be Strong

While anger can feel powerful in our bodies, many of us use angry behavior to avoid dealing with things that make us uncomfortable. Compassion gives us a way to be strong that helps us courageously face the things that scare us—about the world, and about ourselves—and help make them better.

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