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Getting Rid of Anger in Addiction Recovery: Why It Has to Go


Sober Recovery Expert Author

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For people in recovery, holding onto anger and resentment is like relentlessly peeling off scabs from a wound trying to heal. Even when people swear that they are not angry at anyone, they might actually have pent-up anger pointed at themselves, which can then take on the form of depression or self-loathing. These negative emotions tend to manifest in one’s behaviors, thoughts, and interactions with people, likely putting a dent in your progress.

Here are 4 reasons why individuals in recovery should deal with their anger immediately.

Holding onto negative emotions is detrimental to your progress in recovery. Here are 4 reasons why individuals in recovery should deal with their anger immediately.

1. You may wind up reaching for your substance of choice.

Holding onto anger can set you up for a relapse. When you resent a person, place, or thing, it fuels stress, competition, jealousy, avoidance, snarky jabs, and a hundred cold shoulders. This is especially true if you’re angry towards a significant other, family member, or close friend. Sometimes, their presence may even be enough to send you into an emotional tailspin. It’s a painful emotion that can easily become too much to bear when left unchecked and lead you down a road of old bad habits.

2. It takes the focus off of you.

Anger and resentment can stunt your emotional growth. It takes time and energy away from yourself and puts it on something that may be less important than your recovery. If you are uncomfortable with what someone else has done, take a moment to examine yourself before pointing fingers first. When you do this, you’ll begin to see what you could have also done differently on your part. It’s the continuation of the recovery process through responsibility for your behavior, thoughts, and assumptions.

3. It hands power over to other people.

There may be those around you who know they’ve burned you, while others may be totally unaware. Regardless, you’ve given all of them the power to elicit a reaction from you. Within certain family dynamics or friendships, the person you hold resentment against can get used to your reactions and chalk it up to you doing what you’ve always done. In the end, you may find yourself in a losing situation as you are left with someone renting space in your head for free. Instead, acknowledge any negative feelings as soon as you can and take full responsibility for your reactions.

4. You’ll be able to take steps toward forgiveness.

Once you start really dealing with your emotions, you will have more control over your anger. It may not happen overnight, but it helps to keep in mind that nobody is perfect—not even you. By looking honestly at your own mistakes, you’ll find that we’re all cut from the same cloth, and forgiveness will come much easier.

Negative emotions can bolster the ego in an unhealthy way, exceeding your pride that becomes detrimental to your sobriety. The longer you hang on to your anger and believe it is justified, the more you risk losing everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve in sobriety.

If you or anyone you know is looking to get help for addiction, you can visit our directory of treatment centers or call 866-606-0182 to begin a new path in recovery.

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