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Anger is a normal, healthy part of the human condition when it’s expressed appropriately. While managing anger can sometimes be difficult for everyone, it is exponentially harder for people who are suffering from drug or alcohol dependency.
In part two of our five-part blog series, you’ll learn more about the relationship between addiction and anger, plus three proven strategies for controlling anger during recovery.
Understanding the Link Between Anger and Addiction
Believe it or not, some forms of anger actually serve a useful purpose in your daily life. For example, a controlled, moderate burst of anger is sometimes an appropriate way to communicate dissatisfaction to your friends or loved ones.
By sharing feelings of anger with others, you’re opening the door for a rational, peaceful resolution that everyone can be happy with. Drug or alcohol dependency makes this outcome highly unlikely. Why?
Substance abuse numbs your ability to experience anger. In fact, certain substances, including alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, are specifically chosen for this reason. While it’s true that these substances can temporarily mask feelings of anger, intoxication or withdrawal can also intensify these feelings.
When your anger finally bubbles to the surface, you are far more likely to erupt in an irrational outburst completely out of proportion to the situation. Worse yet, you might target someone who has nothing to do with the cause of your anger in the first place.
Anger and Relapse
Many of the people who seek help at our addiction treatment center cite difficulty managing their anger as a potential relapse trigger. This makes perfect sense when you think about it. Drug and alcohol dependency masks your feelings and prevents you from constructively processing anger. This leads to more anger, and – you guessed it – more substance abuse. To use the old cliché, it’s an endless cycle.
3 Tips for Managing Anger During Recovery
In order to break the destructive cycle of anger and addiction, you’ll need to find new coping strategies for dealing with this unavoidable emotion. Luckily, there are plenty of proven techniques that have helped countless others just like you. Here are a few to get you started:
- Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique that can help you focus on the present moment, while acknowledging and accepting your feelings.
- Physical exercise is a great way to relieve stress and pent-up anger. When you feel yourself becoming angry, try going for a jog, bike ride or engaging in any other brisk activity you enjoy.
- Simple relaxation exercises are convenient, effective and can be practiced anywhere, anytime.
Of course, not everyone will find success with these tips, and you may even need to use a combination of techniques. Whatever you do, keep an open mind and don’t give up. Eventually you’ll find something that works for you.
We Are Here to Help
Remember, anger is a perfectly natural, healthy emotion that we all experience throughout our lives. Drug or alcohol dependency prevents you from expressing your anger constructively, alienating you from the people who care about you and blocking your path to recovery. If you would like more advice for managing anger or any of the other stages of grieving, our addiction treatment center is a great place to start.
Our holistic approach to treating drug and alcohol dependency helps clients identify and address problematic behavioral patterns, emotional issues, interpersonal difficulties, as well as any traumatic life events that could be contributing to their addictions.
When you’re ready to start, The Raleigh House is ready to help. Call us today.