Is It Normal To Experience Anger During Recovery?
Once you decide on a path of recovery, you might be faced with a multitude of emotions including anger. Anger is normal in recovery, as you face your addiction and the consequences of your addiction on others. While you were using, you may have used drugs or alcohol to lessen the feeling of anger. As you continue to use, you become angry at yourself for the damage that is being done.
Anger does not always subside once you enter a program of recovery. This emotion may have been present even before you started using drugs or alcohol. It will take time to resolve the feelings of anger in recovery but remember, this is possibly the first time you are actively addressing your feelings without using. It will take time but anger can be resolved. It is unrealistic to think that one will never experience anger, as it is an emotion that oftentimes can motivate changes in behavior. The important thing to remember about anger is that it is telling you something needs emotional repair. Take it as an opportunity to work on yourself during recovery.
There are risks associated with hanging on to anger in recovery including stress-related problems, physical problems such as insomnia and gastrointestinal distress, and feeling keyed up or on edge. Anger can also significantly impair your judgment and cause you to make negative choices in recovery. While anger is likely during recovery, there are some things you can do to recognize it and cope with it.
First, learn to recognize what anger feels like in a physical and psychological sense. Are your fists clenched, is your heart racing? Then you could be feeling angry about something. Recognize that it is there and what it is doing to you. Next, address the anger. What are some of the things that could be causing the anger? Are you having an issue with a friend or family member? You might want to write down when you feel angry and what the circumstances are. You may start to notice a pattern. You could begin to recognize certain stressors that are causing the anger and be able to proactively address them.
In the early stages of recovery, it might be a good idea to stay away from people, places, and things in which you feel angry. Over time you can learn to address the anger and appropriately recognize it and move forward. If you are feeling angry, practice breathing or other relaxation techniques to bring you focus. It is never a good idea to make decisions or confront an individual when feeling anger. Wait until you are calm and can clearly and objectively address the situation or person that is causing the anger.
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