Most people use drugs and alcohol as a way of numbing feelings and not dealing with uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, sadness and anger. All of these feelings can be relapse triggers, so it’s critical to identify healthy coping skills in early recovery.
Today we’re going to talk specifically about anger. The following are our top tips for letting go of anger and not letting it rule your life or your sobriety.
- Awareness of your feelings and behaviors is the first order of business. You have to realize that you’re having a hard time or having certain feelings in order to change them.
- Taking responsibility for your emotions and responses is next on the list. It’s important to get out of the “blame game” and know that you’re accountable for you.
- Your attitude will greatly influence your success of failure in drug and alcohol treatment and recovery. If you have a negative attitude, don’t expect good things to happen. Instead, try to be open to new ideas and ways of operating. You make not be as “right” as you think.
- Self-talk is next on the list and it’s critical to your level of happiness. What you say to yourself and how you explain the good and bad things that happen in your life, determines how you think and feel. It’s always a choice.
- Don’t take responsibility for people or things that you don’t have control over. Take responsibility for yourself and keeping your side of the street clean.
- Develop resources and a support system that encourages the positive changes in you and in your life. Stick with the winners and be careful about who you allow into your life.
- Self-care behaviors are another critical aspect of letting go of anger. People who take care of themselves feel better about who they are, have more energy, and are more likely to be happy.
- Develop positive alternative responses to counter the older anger responses. It’s best to work with another person on this. As Einstein said, “You can’t solve a problem with the thinking that created it.” Whether it’s with a sponsor, healthy friend, counselor or in drug and alcohol treatment, try and get someone else’s input as you identify these new behaviors.
- Practice rehearsing the new responses. Keep a journal to track and reinforce change. A journal will also clarify issues which require further problem solving, or dysfunctional patterns which are keeping you from the progress and change you want.