Anger is a powerful emotion that can manifest itself in many ways. Often a person in recovery doesn’t recognize the symptoms until it’s too late and may make the mistake of acting out on that anger. Rage can be a dangerous trigger for using and needs to be avoided. If you have outbursts of rage, punch walls, or find yourself cursing in traffic or under your breath at work, then you’re dealing with anger in an unhealthy way. If you blow up at somebody, you will probably make you feel guilt or shame. Feelings like guilt and shame are one reason anger can be toxic to people new in recovery. But you don’t havge to react like you once did to anger. It’s time to learn some new coping skills.
If you’re in recovery, or currently have a substance use disorder, you may feel like you don’t know how to manage your anger. Maybe no one ever taught you or maybe just one day you think it just went out of control all on its own.
Symptoms of Toxic Anger
When you’re angry, do you:
- Become abusive? Do you hit, punch, push or hurt other people? Do you threaten people with violent acts? If this sounds like you, you need to seek out a therapist. Violence is never the right thing to do, and you need to learn to control your behavior.
- Manipulate others? Do you act in a way that makes somebody close to you feel bad? Do you do things so you can get a specific reaction from somebody? Do you use people?
- Go numb? Some people who have experienced traumatic experience use this as a defense mechanism.
- Freeze with anxiety? Anxiety can keep people from healthily expressing their anger. It can also take a toll on your daily life.
Ways to Calm Your Anger
Calming your anger may take some time, but the good news that it’s something that you can practice and plan.
If you’re angry, one of the quickest and easiest things to do is concentrate on your breathing. This is also an excellent exercise for people with anxiety. Breathing exercises can slow your body’s response down, and give you time to think rationally.
Meditation can also help you begin to slow down and become a calmer, more centered person. Some people in recovery even swear by yoga, but it’s really up to you to decide what you enjoy the most.
Exercise is also a great way to rid your body of stress and anxiety. When you break a sweat, your body releases endorphins, which are the natural feel-good, calming chemicals that help you battle stress every day.
If you’ve been violent when you’re angry, a therapist is an excellent place to start learning about anger management. There are also support groups that people can go to when their anger is out of control. Look online for support groups in your area. Manipulation is something that many people start doing during their addiction, and it’s genuinely a toxic behavior you need to explore with a professional therapist and your support group in recovery.
Anger can be a serious trigger when you’re new to recovery. So if you’re struggling with it, please don’t “go it alone.” Get help coping with it.
Getting Help for Substance Abuse
Addiction can lead to a lot of behaviors that can make you feel bad about yourself. Recovery, however, is for anyone. No matter who you are or where you come from, there is the chance to reclaim your life and feel whole again. You deserve another chance. We are here to help you. Give us a call at (619) 363-4767 to learn more about our treatment centers and how we can help you, from detox to longer-term treatment.