Anger is one of the most challenging emotions to deal with, especially when you’re in recovery from addiction. When unresolved anger builds up inside, it can quickly act as a trigger to relapse and undo all the hard work you’ve put into your sobriety. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon in recovery to carry around a lot of anger. This anger may stem from past traumatic experiences, feelings of shame and resentment, or frustrations with the detrimental impacts the addiction has had on your life and relationships

While anger is a normal human emotion, learning to process it in a healthy way is vital for anyone recovering from substance abuse or alcoholism. Bottling it up or lashing out can quickly derail your progress. That’s why it’s so important to develop positive outlets to let go of anger before it causes bigger issues.

The Dangers of Unresolved Anger for Recovery

Anger puts an incredible strain on your mind, body, and spirit. It’s an incredibly toxic emotion to hold inside that can have negative effects such as:

  • Fueling feelings of negativity, resentment, and blame that hold you back from growth
  • Increasing cravings to use substances as a way to self-medicate
  • Damaging personal relationships, careers, and reputations
  • Triggering relapse behaviors that unravel all your hard work
  • Raising the risk for mental health issues like depression and anxiety
  • Contributing to chronic physical health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease

If you cling to anger, it becomes an anchor weighing you down and holding you back from healing and achieving your full potential. Letting go of anger is an essential step to achieving the peace and serenity that comes with sustained sobriety.

Ten Ways to Let Go of Anger in Recovery

While there is not a single solution to letting go of anger and managing it effectively, several healthy outlets and coping strategies can help you process anger in a constructive way. 

  • Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Learning to be present in the moment through mindfulness helps you stay grounded instead of dwelling on the past or future. Meditation brings awareness to the emotions and thoughts feeding your anger so you can process them proactively.

  1. Exercise It Out 

Going for a run, hitting the boxing bag, or doing an intense workout are all productive ways to release pent-up anger and blow off steam in a healthy manner. Physical activity boosts endorphins to improve your mood.

  • Journal and Reflect

Get the anger out of your head and onto paper through journaling and writing out your thoughts. Review what you wrote from a distance and with a fresh perspective later. On your angriest days, list everything you are grateful for to gain some healthy perspective.

  • Share at Support Group Meetings

Recovery support meetings such as AA or NA provide a safe space to open up about what’s fueling your anger with others who can relate. Getting your feelings off your chest reduces their power over you. You can also gain insight into how others deal with their anger.

  • Talk to a Professional

Working with an addiction counselor or therapist gives you tools and techniques to express anger and manage its triggers appropriately. You can dig deeper into the factors contributing to the anger and learn healthy ways to deal with them effectively.

  • Practice Forgiveness

Anger often stems from hurt, betrayal, or trauma caused by others or yourself. Learning to forgive frees you from those burdens and resentments. While this step may not come naturally or be easy, it is essential for letting go of anger.

  • Recite Affirmations or Mantras

Create positive affirmations or find an inspiring mantra that directs your mind away from angry thoughts onto more constructive lines of thinking.  Some affirmations to use that can help direct your thoughts away from anger:

  • I release all anger and resentment. I will choose to let go and be at peace.
  • My anger does not control me, and I have the power to stay calm.
  • I forgive those who have upset me, and I forgive myself. 
  • I let anger melt away and will make space for positive emotions like joy, gratitude, and love. 
  • Do Something Creative

Do something creative to channel your anger into more productive and rewarding outlets. There are endless creative pursuits, such as artwork, painting, music, woodworking, and writing.

  • Read or Listen to Audio Books

Find motivational or spiritual books or audio programs that resonate with you and teach how to move past anger and cultivate inner peace. Set time aside each day to read or listen to books that calm your mind and ease your anger.

  • Spend Time in Nature

Remove yourself from stressors and immerse yourself in nature. Some outdoor activities to consider include hiking, fishing, camping, or exploring local parks and trails. You can even sit quietly outdoors and listen to the sounds of nature around you.

Contact Our Pennsylvania Recovery Center

Are you or a loved one struggling with a substance use disorder? Mountain Laurel Recovery Center in Westfield, Pennsylvania is here to help. We offer a variety of programs and services to put you on the path to a lasting recovery. To learn more, please contact us today!