Anger can be a prevalent and debilitating feeling throughout recovery. From withdrawal symptoms during detox to the constant stress of battling stressors and urges, anger can be a common emotion. However, learning to manage this anger is paramount to maintaining one’s sobriety. The effects of anger can not only be an inherent stressor on its own, but it can also compromise other aspects of one’s recovery including relationships and identity. This can make dealing with anger a crucial part of one’s daily routine.
What Are the Symptoms of Anger?
Anger can manifest in a few different ways and it is important to be aware of how one’s anger may affect their daily life when left unmanaged. For some, anger can set in quickly in response to a direct source, leading to irrational overreactions or physical and verbal outbursts.
This quick onset of anger can cause an individual to lash out violently, causing damage or even leading to physical altercations. Others may begin with verbal outbursts, saying things they may not really mean, and find themselves unable to stop or manage their tone or volume when anger gets ahold of them. This language can become riddled with blame, easily straining one’s relationship with their most important supporters in recovery. Other symptoms of this kind of anger include headaches and muscle hypertension, as well as compromising one’s grounding strategies and decision-making skills.
Others may experience anger building over time, typically as the result of constant stressors being left without an outlet to be processed. Various stressors can include workplace stress, frustration around one’s continued battles with cravings and urges, and interpersonal and communication difficulties. This buildup of stress can lead to anger and disillusionment with one’s recovery and a growing distance between oneself and their friends, family, and supports. As the little frustrations build, relationships can become increasingly strained, and negative thoughts can become invasive and ever-present.
The Importance of Managing Anger
Regardless of how anger manifests in an individual’s life, managing the symptoms of anger and providing it with an outlet is necessary. Anger can feel inherently irrational, and one’s experiences with anger can compromise their otherwise practiced and effective coping strategies.
Experiencing urges in the moment and having one’s decision-making skills mired by anger can lead an individual to reengage with addictive substances. This can make slips and relapses more prevalent, and emotional outbursts can deteriorate relationships one is otherwise working to build. The irrational nature of anger stands in contrast to the control one is practicing over their newfound sober life, making anger something that needs to be processed in healthy ways in order to keep in pace with one’s higher goals.
Anger Isn’t Inherently Bad
Anger is typically regarded as a negative feeling that needs to be avoided, and it is common for an individual to want to push aside these uncomfortable feelings. However, anger is just as important as any other emotion, and having a way to express one’s anger is paramount for ensuring that these feelings do not continue to fester in one’s mind and body until they result in dangerous outbursts and strained relationships. Regarding anger as another equally important emotion to express, such as sadness or happiness, is the first step in allowing oneself to process these feelings in a safe and healthy manner.
Getting Control of Anger
Practicing anger management techniques early in one’s recovery is essential for having these strategies well-versed and ready to implement quickly when needed. Practicing mindfulness strategies and breathing techniques can help an individual begin to identify and accept anger as early as possible. Being aware of one’s feelings and how they affect one’s thinking is paramount in exercising control. Thinking before acting on impulse can make a huge difference between keeping safe and acting rashly against one’s better judgment.
Maintaining self-care strategies also allows each person to prevent stresses from building in the back of their mind or manifesting as anger. Having a daily outlet in art, music, movies, exercise, or any other kind of self-care act allows an individual to process feelings of anger with personalized methods of self-care and agency, giving their emotions a more controllable and understandable form.
However, sometimes professional help may be necessary as anger’s prevalence throughout the recovery process makes addressing this transformative time in one’s life both delicate and important. Having a professional to help guide an individual through expressing these emotions in safe ways and begin to implement self-care routines can help each person better understand their emotions and responses. Getting professional help with one’s anger while managing addiction recovery is a personal journey, but necessary for a holistic approach to a healthy future of prolonged sobriety.
Managing anger is incredibly important, and can also be exceptionally difficult. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol and the difficult feelings of anger or outbursts that come with it, we at Everlast Recovery are ready to help you take the first step towards regaining control of your life today. Our home-like, intimate atmosphere is curated to help you relax and detach from outside stressors while exploring your unique recovery needs and goals. Caring, educated professionals are standing by ready to help you explore how anger has affected your life, as well as how addiction has impacted your emotional resilience, all while implementing personalized recovery strategies. Your time with us can be further personalized with your own best practices and other effective therapies, from art and music therapy to physically active mindfulness walks and yoga. For more information on how we can help you, call us today at (866) 338-6925.