Anger management is an essential skill in early recovery. We learn the lesson at an early age that anger is a negative emotion. As a result, we often suppress anger.
There are destructive ways to express one’s anger. But it can also be a constructive and healthy emotion if appropriately managed. This basic, natural feeling serves as a warning sign that something is not right in our environment. Anger serves as an important part of the brain’s fight-or-flight response to a perceived threat.
Addiction turns substance use into the primary form of anger management. Anger is always unhealthy and dysfunctional when combined with substance abuse. The addict uses drugs and/or alcohol as a means to suppress the unpleasant feeling. But the anger is merely exacerbated. This requires further use of substances to cope. This vicious cycle must be addressed in addiction treatment.
Everyone gets to decide how angry he or she wants to be. Anger can be controlled. The human body cannot distinguish between physical and emotional threats. Both result in similar symptoms. These include shallow breathing, high blood pressure, clenching of the jaw, sweating, and accelerated heart rate. In addiction recovery, we teach the addict or alcoholic to acknowledge these warning signs before exploding.
At MARR in Atlanta, clients acquire new life skills like anger management. They deal with anger without the use of drugs or alcohol. They also learn healthy ways to manage this intense emotion. These include talking it over with another person, exercising, pausing, and praying. In short, our clients learn to confront natural feelings of anger positively.