Close this search box.
Close this search box.
addressing anger in addiction recovery

Preventing Resentment and Relapse: How to Address Anger in Recovery

Issues in Recovery That Lead To Relapse

Addiction recovery involves dealing with emotions such as anger. It is important to understand that anger is a normal human response, but it can be misguided, causing problems for you and those around you. Anger issues and recovery are two things that can create setbacks for individuals trying to turn their life around. But still, for many recovering people, anger is a significant problem.

Anger issues could be against oneself, at specific people, or society as a whole. Without processing anger constructively, a person with an addiction cannot move forward toward recovery. Furthermore, unprocessed anger can lead a person in recovery toward a relapse.

How does unresolved anger lead to relapse? Most importantly, what can we do about it?


Understanding Triggers

It’s no secret that addicts and alcoholics struggle with emotional issues. Anyone with experience in addiction or recovery can relate to the anger that comes with substance abuse. Addiction recovery and anger are often intertwined, yet recovery is still possible. Intervening on the anger response after recognizing it can help you manage feelings and prevent inappropriate behaviors. Learning to manage these emotions is not the same as learning to suppress anger. Suppressing anger is counterproductive, and can result in relapse. These coping skills and life skills are both core aspects of our Florida drug and alcohol rehab program.

On both fronts, mental and emotional, anger can fuel addiction. As previously stated, sometimes anger is directed at others. Phrases such as, “how could someone do that to me?” “Don’t you know what I’ve been through?” “If you lived my life, well, you’d get high too,” are all common refrains. Anger is a symptom of a more significant problem or underlying issue.

A lot of the time, anger is the result of being out of control. Being unable to control what happens to us, or even what we do in active addiction, can breed resentment. The inability to fix our own lives, or control the lives of those around us, can make this worse. That’s why surrender is such an important part of recovery. This theme- accepting our lack of control over others, and being willing to change what we can about ourselves, is the core of the serenity prayer you hear so often at twelve-step meetings.

Speaking of anger – why are alcoholics always so angry?

Overcoming Emotional Issues in Recovery

Firstly, understanding what triggers anger is the foundation of learning to manage your anger effectively. Some feelings, like resentments or fear, are byproducts of anger. Thus, knowing when your body is having a physical reaction to anger, like increased blood pressure or racing heart, can help you take interrupt this response. There are a few specific things you can do to help speed this recovery process along. After all, getting over anger can take a lifetime. Anything that can help cut down on some of these wasted years is undoubtedly a plus.

Managing Anger: New Skills

  • Start breathing exercises and pause before reacting
  • Writing in a journal
  • Exercise
  • Engage in Therapy, Individual or Group
  • Positive self-talk or writing a gratitude list
  • Being in nature
  • Meditation or Mindfulness exercises
  • Self-care routines
  • Checking in with yourself

The best drug rehabilitation programs address the entire person, including their anger or emotional issues. Good addiction therapy does not overlook anger or dismiss it but instead helps you understand how to cope with anger issues in recovery. So if you have questions about treatment, we encourage you to reach out to us directly. Want to get better today? Find out how!


Ultimately, we have a choice. We can choose to be right – which often involves being angry – or we can choose to be happy.

Scroll to Top