Learning to deal with uncomfortable emotions in an effective and healthy way is likely new territory to those who are in early addiction recovery. While we learn to manage our emotions more effectively as we accumulate greater lengths of sober time, it is likely that we all have moments of weakness during which “spiritual soundness” flies out the window and we are ready to explode with anger.
Anger and Recovery
Whether we get stuck behind a little old lady traveling down the freeway at 20 mph or we find out that our roommate has eaten the last of our cereal yet again, we are liable as human beings to snap from time to time. This is normal and we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves for occasionally losing our tempers. At the same time, anger can become an issue and we have a responsibility to own up to our faults, especially when we are in recovery and are working an honest program.
But how exactly do you deal with anger when you’re newly sober but unsure about how to manage your anger and recovery at the same time?
Dealing with Anger in Early Recovery
Before properly tackling your anger issues, you must first partake in a little self-analysis. What makes you angry? Maybe you start to get angry when you let resentments surrounding work, interpersonal relationships, and your home life start to build.
If this is the case, you can probably begin nipping the issue in the bud by talking to your sponsor or another sober support before giving your anger a chance to build.
If you find you lose your temper regularly, you may need to practice some healthy coping skills so that the anger does not eat away at you. Some common healthy coping skills are going for a walk or run, reading a book, calling up an old friend, writing your thoughts down in paper or in a journal, etc.
It can even help to get in tap with your spirituality. What does this mean exactly? It means working to understand yourself and getting in tune with your inner emotions without letting them control you. You can do this by practicing meditation, reciting positive affirmations, exercising, or focusing on nature. Not only will these help you start the process of getting in touch with your spirituality but it can help you calm down and discover what matters most.
Healthy Ways to Deal with Anger
For more detail on healthy coping skills, take a look at these popular ways to help handle anger and aggression, and try employing some of them when you feel yourself start to lose your cool.
Don’t deny your feelings.
Recognize and acknowledge the way you are feeling. Are you pissed off? That’s okay. Analyze why you’re so mad. What role did you play? Take a mini inventory and do your best not to place the blame on others but focus on what your anger says about you.
Call someone you trust right away.
As soon as you feel yourself starting to lose it, give your sponsor a quick call. Talk through your experience and the way it made you feel. Putting things on the table as soon as they transpire can and will make a world of difference.
Take a jog around the block.
Release some of your built up aggression through physical activity. Taking a quick jog will wear yourself out and will help relieve some feelings of anger you may be experiencing.
Communicate with the person you are angry at in a healthy way.
While this is not always the easiest thing to do, sit down with the individual who you feel has wronged you and talk things out like adults. Wait until you’ve cooled down a bit, of course.
Try to immediately reverse your attitude.
Want to scream at the lady in front of you at the grocery store who is paying for her milk with nickels and dimes? Try smiling at her and practice patience. Maybe consider even offering to buy her milk for her.
Give it some time.
If you’ve tried all (or most) of the above, and you still feel a little bit rubbed the wrong way, just give yourself time to let things blow over.
Losing Your Temper from Time to Time is Normal
Remember to not be too hard on yourself. If you beat yourself up every time you flip off the moron who cut you off in traffic, you will only be engaging in more self-defeating behavior. Simply acknowledge the areas that need improvement and make a conscious decision to work towards bettering yourself. Progress, not perfection!
Seeking Help for Addiction
Are you not able to control your anger? Do you find that you resort to abusing substances as a way to cope with your anger or frustration? Getting help for an addiction to drugs or alcohol can help you work on the true underlying problems of your condition. By getting help, you can learn to work through your emotions and cope with life in a healthier manner.
Lighthouse offers a full continuum of care for the treatment of addiction, which can begin with medical detoxification and inpatient rehabilitation. Don’t hesitate to get the help you need today by calling our admissions specialists now at 1-866-308-2090.