A young man in recovery wrote to me: Anger is a clear and abrupt signal that something is wrong. I’m learning to respond to my anger by:

1) Not reacting in the moment. When I feel “hot,” let it sit – like a baking tray coming out of the oven.

2) Examining the anger when I’ve cooled down. What about it caused me to respond so negatively? What role did I play in the situation? What insights do my sponsor and support group have?

3) Taking action. How can I respond in a wise and constructive way to the problem?

My reflection: When my son was in active addiction, there were countless times when I erupted in anger. I felt powerless and didn’t know what to do with the rage that engulfed me. My explosions helped no one – not me, my family, or my son.

Today’s Promise to consider: Anger is a normal response and, with addiction, one that seems to come easily. It can be constructive if it causes us to take good action, but it can also blind us from making smart choices. For me, I’ve learned that anger is usually a kind of fire blanket that covers up my deeper emotions of fear, insecurity, or hurt. Today, I won’t be overwhelmed by anger, but I will pause, think, and pray for clarity. Those persons in recovery have much to teach us. Let me try this young man’s three steps.

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2 years ago

I love the clarity that this person in recovery has conveyed on how they deal with anger.
My son has relapsed again, and I wish I knew the trigger (anger?). Everything has been SO good for the last year. I fell into a state of thinking “maybe this is it-he’s finally committed!”
Yesterday I found myself mired in the old ways of thinking. I kept trying to remember all my al anon teachings, but I still torment myself with thoughts of what I should or shouldn’t say. I know it doesn’t matter at this point, but I ended our
Conversation with “just because you’ve slipped, doesn’t mean all the good times and months of sobriety are negated”. And “I love you-your family loves you”.
Now the wait. Where is he? He’s not going to work, and on and on with the awful familiar thoughts and fears. I still wonder if there’s anything that would help to say when my son is in the grips. .
Sorry to get off topic, and I thank the author for bringing up such an important emotion.

2 years ago
Reply to  libbycataldi

Thank you. Your words have softened my tears.