Anger and the Alcoholic/Addict

Anger is a normal emotion everyone feels at times. But unbridled anger can be disastrous for the alcoholic/addict and their loved ones. If anger is allowed to get out of hand it can even trigger a relapse.

Identifying the Problem
If you are an addict or alcoholic frustration and anger can be caused because you may feel your rights are being ignored or your needs are not being met.

Dysfunctional people often fail to recognize their own feelings of anger or understand the causes of it. They may not have learned how to deal with anger, and as a result have try to medicate it by using drugs or alcohol. If you have been overly dependent on drugs or alcohol for some time, you may have become numb to your legitimate needs. After you have achieved a period of abstinence and now recognize your other needs and rights, you may not have the skills needed to meet those needs.

Other unhealthy ways of expressing anger are also employed. Because of self-hatred, frustration and anger at their own selves, dysfunctional people will often lash out at those who are around them. Because they do not deal with this anger at self, the addict or alcoholic may fail to emotionally mature.

What You Can Do
Learn how to handle your anger instead of picking up a drink or a drug. No one benefits if you hurt yourself or others.

Try to figure out what causes you to get angry and with whom you get angry. Determine the various ways in which you express your anger. Are they positive and productive or negative and counter productive?

Identify more positive ways to express or deal with your feelings of anger. Sometimes merely recognizing that it is anger that you are feeling can help you learn to cope with it in a more healthy manner.

Sometimes managing your anger is just a matter of doing something different from what you have done in the past. Learn to express your anger in assertive (not aggressive) ways.

Oftentimes expressing your anger through physical exercise helps to vent your anger. Go for a run, walk, play physical games, work out.

Remove yourself from an emotionally charged situation so you have the opportunity to diffuse your anger. Do not stomp out of the room in a rage. Instead, politely excuse yourself and ask to take up the conversation at a later time — after you both have had time to think about things.

Talk with a trusted friend. Express your frustrations and anger. Sometimes by simply “getting them out” into the open and venting to a neutral party will temper emotions and give you a chance to think things trough more clearly.

Try to calm down by listening to music, praying or mediating. Get outside and take a walk or jog. Participate in an athletic hobby or sport to diffuse the adrenaline in your system and moderate your emotions.