We often use anger as a way of getting what we want – it is sometimes much easier to be angry than to stay calm and make our needs known.
I have read many times that “venting” is supposed to be healthy, but in reality, it is only a temporary fix. I have found that reacting in anger only made my feelings of frustration worse. I knew that coming into recovery meant I had to learn to cope with anger – it was vital to my continuing sobriety.
First, I needed to find the causes of my anger – what people, places and things made me angry and why. Was my anger justified? Was the level of anger I felt reasonable, given the situation as I saw it?
I learned that when I start to feel angry (the telltale signs for me are buzzing in my head and burning in my ears), I have to find ways to avoid an angry outburst that only ends up making the situation worse.
Very often, our anger is misplaced – it can simply be a result of miscommunication with others, our own negative perception of a situation or our unrealistic expectations of other people in our lives.
When we feel frustrated, our emotions can and will take over – that’s part of being human. But if we give in to it, or use it to manipulate or hurt others, we will likely hurt ourselves more, either physically, emotionally or socially. The anger I carried a lot of the time resulted in alienating friends, family and co-workers. It became an excuse for relapse.
I have learned how to cope with anger in more healthy ways, before it gets the better of me. I may take a long walk, talk to someone who can be objective, or simply count to ten in my head before I say or do anything. These coping skills have helped me deal with anger and its negative results – and maintain my serenity.