Everyone gets angry; it’s a normal emotion and one that’s likely to surface as you embark on your new sober life. If your anger becomes intense or prolonged, however, it can jeopardize relationships, employment and your recovery. Anger is among the biggest relapse triggers.
A crucial step in managing anger is to understand it – and this includes the many myths surrounding the negative emotion. Here are some common misconceptions, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- Myth #1: Anger is inherited. A common misconception is that the way you express anger is inherited and can’t be changed. On the contrary, studies show that people are not born with set and/or specific ways of expressing anger. It’s a learned behavior, which means you can learn healthy ways to express anger.
- Myth #2: Anger automatically leads to aggression. Aggression is not a good or the only way to express anger. Instead, SAMHSA recommends learning assertiveness skills, changing negative and hostile “self-talk” and challenging irrational beliefs.
- Myth #3: Venting anger is always desirable. Holding in your emotions is not healthy nor is always displaying anger in an aggressive manner; for instance, screaming or beating a pillow. While once thought of as therapeutic, this type of aggression has been found to just reinforce aggressive behavior. In other words, the more you act angry, the better you get at being angry.
Your Anger Control Plan
According to SAMHSA, an effective set of strategies for controlling anger should include both immediate and preventive strategies. Here are some ideas:
- Taking a time out (formal or informal)
- Talking to a friend (someone you trust)
- Exercising (take a walk, go to the gym, etc.)
- Attending 12-step meetings
- Exploring primary feelings beneath the anger
Relapse Prevention at 10 Acre
Let us help you learn how to identify and cope with stress, anger, self-pity and other emotions that can harm your recovery. To learn more about our relapse prevention program, call today: 877-228-4679.