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Managing Anger in Addiction Recovery

Last Updated: February 16, 2023

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Entering professional addiction recovery can be a life-saving process. It is also an emotional process. If you are experiencing emotional or mental health issues in addition to addiction, you can address the physical ramifications of a substance use disorder and mental health through a dual diagnosis program. Addiction recovery can be stressful, and it is quite common to experience anxiety, sadness and anger in recovery.

Anger is an emotion manifested to protect you from danger. It represents the “fight” in your natural “fight or flight” response. Anger occurs commonly in addiction recovery because your mind can be so programmed by the substance use disorder to remain dependent on the substance that anything that challenges that ideology seems to be a threat. The act of being in addiction recovery triggers a sign of danger to the disease, and diseases want to survive. Your mind can trigger anger as the last resort option for you not to seek the help you deserve.

Anger also arises when tackling the traumatic events in the past that may have contributed to your substance use disorder. When processing in the group or individual therapy sessions what you have lived through with substance misuse, it is not uncommon to feel anger.

This anger can also be a manifestation of veiled shame at behaviors that were exhibited when you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Once you have gone through the physical withdrawal process and your mind begins to regulate at a normal level, you are able to look at the past with clearer eyes. Guilt or shame over past actions can produce intense feelings of anger.

A safe and secure place to treat all of these emotions, especially anger, is in an accredited addiction treatment center. At rehab, a professional mental health staff can help you to learn ways to control your anger and promote the healing process.

Relaxation techniques, like those used to combat anxiety, can also assist with lessening the hold of anger. Taking deep breaths or counting slowly to a high number gives your mind and body a chance to regulate the surge of emotions. Slowing down also provides the opportunity to change the line of thinking so that anger does not continue to build. Additionally, this helps you to identify specific thoughts and experiences you and your addiction recovery specialist can work through in your dual diagnosis program.

It is perfectly normal to experience a wide range of emotions in recovery. Being angry is not a sign of weakness or failure. With the help of your addiction recovery program and other Ohio addiction treatment resources, your anger can be managed appropriately and you can progress in your recovery journey. Contact The Recovery Village Columbus to learn more about addiction treatment options today.


Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.