Understanding Anger in Recovery

Irritability, frustration, and anger are among some of the common emotions that you will experience during your recovery, especially in the early stages. The physical and emotional damage caused by years of drug or alcohol abuse creates chemical imbalances that can take years to heal. Certainly, you have come a long way in your recovery — and if you have been able to manage your emotions, you should be proud.

However, our current circumstances present many new challenges, from social distancing to working from home to limited interaction with family and friends. The stress of it all could be causing triggers that incite your anger. Thankfully, if managed properly, your anger could be turned into a useful tool for your recovery.

The Purpose of Anger

Anger is an emotional response to your thoughts. Anger is among the major emotions that everybody will experience at some point in their life, along with sadness, happiness, and fear. When you experience anger, it is your body’s way of telling you to address a problem. Anger is there to help establish boundaries, keep you safe, and prompt you to take action. While the negatives of anger are valid, such as taking negative action instead of positive action, eliminating or suppressing anger could actually cause you more harm.

Just like you cannot eliminate the disease of addiction, you cannot eliminate anger — however, you can manage it. When you try to deny an emotion as strong as anger, the energy you use will take its toll on your mental and physical well-being. Think of suppressing anger as trying to hold a beach ball underwater. When you repress anger, you are rejecting your body’s need to release the emotion. Unresolved anger is very taxing on a person’s physiological and psychological health.

Identify the Source

You should never deny an emotion from happening. However, if you are frequently having episodes of anger, this is unhealthy as well. Anger does not usually manifest — it stems from something deeply rooted within you that you have not yet addressed. After an episode of anger, ask yourself why you got angry. Where is this pain coming from? The stresses of our day-to-day life can bring out the anger, but they are not usually responsible for the anger.

Once you can identify the source, open up, and talk about it with peers from your support group, your therapist, or your doctor. Finding the source will likely help you monitor the anger and how frequently you feel angry. When you can address the cause, you help prevent anger from interfering with your mental well-being.

Managing Anger

It might seem that your anger is always out to get you. Practicing ways to express and endure a bout of anger can not only help you manage anger, but discover things about yourself. Whether it is fostering communication skills to help express how you feel toward others, exercising, writing, or playing music, there are plenty of ways that you can use the energy provided by anger to focus on a more positive outlet.

Avoid Toxic Situations

This might be more difficult given the current situation — especially if you have complicated or toxic relationships with someone you live or work with — but you will need to do your best to avoid the pitfalls that lead you toward anger. If certain people or places trigger an angry response, do everything you can to avoid them.

You are not responsible for how somebody else feels, so if you find their mood to be toxic, do not play into it. If you still need to interact with this person, such as a family member or co-worker, just remember who you are. Put yourself first and always offer compassion instead of confrontation. Understand when you are at fault, but more importantly, when you are not at fault.

Around the house, you want to arrange your environment to accommodate recovery — anything to motivate you to do activities you enjoy that are also good for you. Keeping healthy foods in the fridge, designate a space to exercise, or take time to paint or garden. Remember that you are in control, and you can avoid a triggering situation when you maintain a positive environment.

Your recovery is all about discovering yourself and owning your actions. Recovery should offer the support you need to explore your emotions, whether with meditation, exercise, or therapy. Sometimes this means allowing your emotions to flow through you to discover the underlying causes of them. If you have turned your anger inward and are feeling depressed, anxious, or self-destructive, it’s time to get help. At True Recovery, we understand that no one’s journey is the same. We offer 24/7 care to meet your individual needs, and we believe in the success of alternative care methods. Life is too short for anger or addiction. Let us show you how to achieve a happier and healthier life. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.