What Are Ways To Manage Anger In Recovery?

Numerous people, events, and environments carry the potential to impede the progress of one’s recovery from substance abuse. However, though occasionally overlooked, negative emotions like anger might also interfere with this crucial process.

Relationship Between Addiction And Anger

Everyone has felt anger at one time or another. This potentially toxic feeling causes individuals to feel additional adverse emotions such as frustration, rage, and even hate. Over time, such sentiments can fester inside one’s body and soul resulting in more serious problems like aggression, violent outbursts and criminal behavior.

Furthermore, in certain cases, anger grows so intense that persons dealing with such sensations often go to great lengths to mask them. One protective measure commonly employed is the use of alcohol or other drugs. As time moves forward, continued ingestion of said substances could result in dependency.

Types Of Anger One Might Feel During Recovery

Addiction specialists do not paint the concept of anger with one broad brushstroke. The emotion is often differentiated into various subcategories including:

  • Chronic anger like resentment towards past associations
  • Overwhelmed anger typically manifesting in frustration
  • Retaliatory anger, which may precipitate vengeful or spiteful behaviors
  • Assertive anger inspiring those feeling it to take action and change their circumstances
  • Self-abuse anger leading to self-destructive and potentially dangerous behaviors
  • Behavioral anger in which sufferers react to their feelings through physical actions like breaking objects or punching walls
  • Judgmental anger occurs when one opts to dislike or express anger towards someone or something they do not agree with
  • Persons displaying passive-aggressive anger avoid direct confrontation but often offer sarcasm or engage in actions geared towards purposefully aggravating others

Individuals in recovery can feel these emotions in varying intensity and may experience more than one category at a time.

Recognizing Triggers

Addiction treatment professionals and behavioral specialists maintain that anger is often triggered by:

  • Feeling used or taken advantage of
  • Not experiencing love
  • Being criticized
  • Having been victimized by unfair or unjust treatment
  • Helplessness
  • Physical, mental, and emotional fatigue

It should be stressed that the preceding list comprises common anger spark plugs. Every individual is different and what triggers one subject might not have the slightest impact on another. However, the major key to addressing and managing anger is recognizing possible prompts and partaking in swift actions to reverse said feeling.

Ways To Manage Anger In Recovery

Fortunately, anger does not necessarily have to interfere with the recovery process provided persons experiencing the problem institute safeguards such as:

Partaking In A Relaxing Hobby

Recovery program attendees feeling stressed or angry are urged to find a relaxing and productive activity. These endeavors should not only be fun but also time-consuming and mind engrossing. One should aim to participate in an undertaking that enables the bad emotions to pass and prevents one’s mind from straying back towards negative thoughts.

Communicating Effectively

Occasionally, voicing the reason for one’s anger might help said subject better cope with the problem. However, the individual in question must clearly and effectively convey their thoughts through honest and open dialogue.


Physical activity often helps the body release stress and negative emotions like anger. When one exercises, their bodies produce and secrete hormones designed to improve one’s mood and mindset.

Employing Humor

Most people have heard some variation of the saying that dictates laughter is the best medicine. Recovering addicts experiencing tense or anger-filled moments are encouraged to watch or listen to something funny. Humor tends to improve one’s mood and provide a sense of calmness.


Some people find comfort writing their feelings down. Recovering individuals are urged to consider all the people, events, and circumstances that might cause them anger at a given time and document said subjects and the associated feelings in a journal.

Partaking In Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can quickly calm both the body and mind during times of anxiety or anger. Commonly employed activities include yoga, tai chi, and various breathing exercises.

Identifying A Positive Distraction

When anger strikes, finding a positive distraction may prove soothing. Beneficial examples are watching television, listening to music, and scrolling through the social media pages on one’s computer or mobile device.

Contacting Us

For further information about managing one’s anger or other recovery-related issues, we encourage interested parties to contact us at 772-266-5320.

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Essentials mission is to renew lives impacted by addiction through personalized and complete behavioral healthcare. Our main purpose is to provide services and education to the client and family that will support long lasting recovery of mind, body, and spirit.