How to Manage Your Anger in Sobriety
Besides knowing how to identify the tendency signs of a person who might suffer from mental health conditions, it is equally important to know how/what to suggest to get the person to take charge of his/her life and control their health condition before it’s too late.
Today’s article is contributed by Caleb Andersen, and is a timely reminder for us all; that help is available everywhere to those who try. And in his own words, Caleb Andersen wrote, “Having had personal experience with addiction, I’ve seen how important it is to address mental health issues before they take control. I truly believe it’s lifesaving to nurture our innermost selves before mental health conditions become debilitating, whether it’s something as common as stress and anger or something as complex as depression or suicidal thoughts.”
As part of his work with Recovery Hope, Caleb is offering insights and support for those who may be struggling. You can reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Recovery Hope website (https://recoveryhope.org/) for more details, to contribute to their projects, or to lend a helping hand. – Ron WZ Sun
How to Manage Your Anger in Sobriety
Anger management and addiction don’t always go hand in hand, but when they do, recovery and sobriety can become even more difficult to achieve. Part of the challenge is that the anger and addiction fuel one another, creating a cycle that is dangerous and seemingly impossible to break. To achieve and maintain sobriety, you need to address both issues.
- Understand the Relationship Between Anger and Addiction
You may not know whether anger resulted in your addiction or addiction resulted in your anger, but you need to realize that anger and addiction co-occur. If your anger occurred fist, you might have sought out substances to calm your rage. Or, you may have coped with the personal or professional issues caused by your anger using drugs and alcohol. Sometimes, people who have anger management issues turn to substances as their stress and rage build.
On the other hand, addiction can lead to anger simply because various substances cause aggressive and violent behavior. Substance abuse also causes other problems in people’s personal and professional lives, which can create more anger and resentment. The key to successful recovery and sobriety is addressing substance abuse and anger management issues as separate issues; the anger will not dissipate as soon as you become sober.
- Exercise Regularly
Managing your anger in healthy ways is an ideal way for you to stay sober. Doctors and counselors recommend that people in recovery exercise regularly. Not only does exercise help you heal the damage addiction did to your body, but it also reduces stress and your likelihood of being unable to control your anger.
Pay attention to your mind and body. If you begin to feel angry, go for a run or take a brisk walk. Or, hit a punching bag or engage in kickboxing to stop your anger in its tracks. Any form of exercise will help you release your stress and center yourself again.
- Take a Time-Out
Believe it or not, time-outs are not just for kids. By definition, a time-out gives you a chance to remove yourself from a situation that triggers your anger and lets you cool down. VeryWell recommends following a time-out plan to make the most significant impact:
- Make a plan before you are in a situation that triggers your anger
- Plan what you will say to explain your time-out
- Pay attention to body cues that indicate your anger is rising
- Use your explanation to remove yourself from the situation
- Manage your anger until you reach the time-out area
- Practice mindfulness to cool down quickly and effectively
- When you become calm, think about what you will say when you return to the situation
- Return to the situation and enact your plan
- Learn How to Forgive
Forgiveness is powerful, and you need to learn to forgive yourself and others to maintain your sobriety. Forgiveness relieves you of resentment, anger, and thoughts of revenge. You may not forget what caused your pain, but you can forgive those who hurt you to free yourself of negative thoughts and feelings. The Mayo Clinic highlights a few of the benefits of achieving forgiveness, including healthier relationships; improved mental health; less stress, anxiety, and hostility; lower blood pressure; and improved heart health.
Keep in mind that you will need to forgive yourself, too. Your counselor will help you work through forgiving yourself and others. He or she will help you determine which relationships and situations cause you the most stress and anger, and help you work through them. Your counselor also will help you determine which anger management techniques are most effective for your situation.
Recognizing that anger and addiction create a vicious cycle is a step in the right direction when you want to achieve and maintain sobriety. As you work your way through recovery, be sure to exercise regularly and especially when you feel your anger rise. Learn how to take a time-out when you are in situations that trigger your anger. And, work with a counselor to learn how to forgive yourself and others to let go of your deep-seated anger and resentment. Managing your anger successfully is the key to remaining sober.
By Caleb Andersen