A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1 KJV
A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.Proverbs 15:18 KJV
The Bible gives us many references about the conditions and consequences of anger in our life and in the lives of people that we are in relationship with. When you can develop a way to manage the anger that has been pushed deep down in your heart and soul, life in recovery gets better.
Another consequence of addiction is that you use rage to express anger. Rage is a dangerous threatening condition that harms people and creates overwhelming fear. You can learn to express your anger without the rage. Anger is a feeling that is a part of the human experience. When you begin to express your anger without rage, you can break the cycle of rage as an expression of anger. Here are some tools that can help break the cycle. Rage is a distortion of reality.
In his book:
Addictive Thinking, Understanding Self-Deception
– by Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.
He says there are three phases of anger:
I added some of my comments to help further illustrate his three phases
1 The reflex emotion: First phase of ANGER
The unconscious or reflex reaction that most people have little control over. What happened that made you feel angry? Did you feel disrespected, belittled, embarrassed or “look like a fool”? How did you react to the situation?
2 Reacting to anger : RAGE
How did you react to the situation? Did you use more drugs or drink more, throw something, hit somebody, say something offensive or threaten to walk out on your spouse if it happens again? Although you cannot control feeling angry, you can control how you react to it.
3 Retention of anger: RESENTMENT
How long do you hang on to anger? A few minutes, hours, days, years…? Addictive thinking creates serious consequences for anything and everything you go through. In the Alcoholics Anonymous big book it clearly says the number one killer of alcoholics is resentments. A part of the 5th step is about making a list of people you have a resentment against. Have you ever heard someone at meeting level say they still have a resentment against someone? Can you “let go, let God?
WHEN SELF-CONTROL IS WEAKENED BECAUSE OF CHEMICAL USE
(A) The anger reaction may become severe.
(B) The rage reaction may become severe.
(C) The resentment may become long lasting.
Often addicts and alcoholics seem to think that the entire world is unfair to them. They feel victimized by everyone. They often feel belittled or humiliated by everyone; they are angry with everyone, including God and themselves. —
Addictive Thinking Understanding Self-Deception
— by Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.
Here is an example I use to make the point:
You come home from work and say, “HI, I’m home”. The family is absorbed in watching an exciting program on television so nobody greets you, then your son or daughter says, “Shhhh, we’re trying to watch this movie”.
For the addict or alcoholic the family’s reaction to you coming home is interpreted as they have little or no respect for you. Constant use of alcohol and drugs are the basis of this distortion of the truth.
If this happens often enough the addict and alcoholic can feel that the people who caused this feeling should be punished because they broke a social rule of addiction; I am in control and nobody tells me what to do or rejects me.
How can you change this dangerous pattern of rage? Learn about the difference between anger and rage. Talk with a sponsor or counselor about what makes you feel humiliated and why it does. Stop projecting your thought on to other people and situations. Take responsibility for your own actions.
This is not an overnight process. It takes time. One situation at a time, one day at a time. Remember the 10th step: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
How It Works
“This thought brings us to Step 10, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.” — Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book p.84