Anger is a common emotion to experience during the recovery process. However, when an episode of anger presents itself, you might not know how to react in a measured way, which could cause harsh episodes of anger. Anger can cost relationships and distance the ones who care about us. Losing emotional control can feel like the onset of relapse, leading to negative or irrational thoughts like, I was better off when I was drunk or high. This is a sign to start seeking ways to start controlling your emotions and get back control.
First Recognize Your Sobriety
Sobriety can be hard work and should never be overlooked so congratulate yourself on being another day sober. What you have done is not easy, but at least you can appreciate sobriety.
Knowing Your Anger
Anger as an emotion creates hormones that give us a short burst of energy and adrenaline. It also raises our blood pressure and creates a feeling of being on edge, and this can last for a couple of days. Perhaps those thoughts you are having could also be influenced by the residual feelings as a result of a recent episode of anger.
Know that you are not alone. Anger is a common response during the process of recovery. It can stem from fear or pain. Knowing the root of anger helps. Perhaps in your situation, you’re feeling that things are unfair. After all, our addictions do steal away a big portion of our lives, and unfortunately, they can define us. Nevertheless, we know who we are and it can be maddening trying to prove this to ourselves. Being able to identify why you are angry and being honest about it is a great step toward managing the emotion. Much like your recovery from addiction, you want to look for what triggers your anger. These triggers might include feeling unloved, misunderstood, taken advantage of, feeling exhaustion, or feeling a sense of criticism from peers.
Once you have identified the triggers, whether yourself or with the help of a counselor or peer, you can then begin to find ways to avoid or manage these triggers. Luckily there are many ways to appropriately manage anger. Repression is NOT one of them. Repression only sets you up for a bigger blow up later on.
Effective Ways to Cope With Anger
By now you might be looking at these as though they are no brainers, but really look at them and ask yourself, how proactive am I toward trying any one of them? Each of these can interrupt an anger response before it leads to more irrational behavior. Some, such as exercise, can redirect the negative energy into positive energy.
Anger Is Part of the Process
Anger is natural for everyone to experience from time to time, and these methods are not a way to avoid it, but instead cope with it. Try finding a counselor or therapist, somebody neutral who will not trigger you. It might take multiple activities to curb your anger. For instance, if you can’t hike because it’s raining, so you paint or write.
Part of the recovery process is learning how to balance emotions again. You might feel lost as to how to manage your emotions because you no longer have the safety of your addiction to help you cope. The more tools you have to combat the anger the better your chances of managing it. This will take knowing the root of the problem, instilling positive outlets to combat the anger, and it will also take wanting to get better. Don’t worry about how other people view you. You know you and that is what you should focus on. Recovery is a long process and you will have to weather many emotional storms, but know that you are not alone.
True Recovery understands that recovery comes an abundance of emotions. The challenges can be difficult, but know that there is help for you. If you believe that you are struggling to get a handle on your emotions, please call us at (866) 399-6528.