Anger Management While in Recovery

Celebrating Mind, Body and Soul Wellness
Celebrating Mind, Body, and Soul Wellness
February 10, 2023
Recovering from Marijuana Addiction
Recovering from Marijuana Addiction
February 15, 2023

Anger can certainly play a role in substance misuse and vice versa. When someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are often less in control of their emotions. They may experience mood swings, say things they don’t really mean, and lash out or become more aggressive than they would be while sober. That’s where anger management comes in.

On the other hand, many people who deal with unresolved anger look for outlets to cope and end up turning to drug and alcohol misuse. This only creates an even bigger problem. This is why learning good anger management techniques is a very important part of the recovery journey, something that is often taught to patients during their initial stages of treatment.

Unresolved Anger and Addiction

Many people experience anger due to unfair circumstances as well as any abuse they may have received at the hands of another person. This could be due to physical, mental, emotional, or even sexual assault that happened to them long ago when they were still a child. Children often don’t have the capability to process trauma, so, in many cases, they suppress it deep within themselves and try to pretend like it’s not there. However, you can only suppress the emotions associated with trauma for so long before they begin to come back up.

Other factors that could play into one’s unresolved anger could be experiencing bullying, being treated unfairly at work or school, being mistreated in a romantic relationship, as well as a variety of other things.

In addition to turning to substance misuse, some other things someone with unresolved anger may do or experience could include:

  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Becoming a bully themselves
  • Having trouble making or keeping friends
  • Struggling with anxiety or depression
  • Getting into trouble with the law
  • Developing low-self esteem
  • Having trouble with romantic relationships
  • Experiencing trust issues

Developing Healthy Anger Management Techniques

When you begin treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD), you’ll have the opportunity to work with a therapist on a regular basis. This trained professional will be able to help you sort through past trauma and work through your emotions in a healthy, more positive way. They will help you to better understand why you feel the way that you do and will provide you with guidance for moving past this anger and beginning the healing process.

One key part of anger management is forgiveness. This doesn’t mean that you are required to forgive those who have hurt you in the past, but you can learn to let go of their actions so that you can no longer think of yourself as a victim but as a survivor. This can be the first significant step in taking your life back and moving forward. This process can take time and patience, but it is possible.

Things You Can Do on Your Own

Regardless of where you may be in your recovery journey, and no matter how in control of your emotions you may feel, anger can still occur out of nowhere. It can be brought on by painful life circumstances or even simple daily inconveniences like being cut off in traffic while on your way to work.

Anger is a natural human reaction. There is little that we can do to prevent ourselves from experiencing it in some form or another from time to time. However, what we do have control over is how we choose to respond to it. A key component of this is continuing to learn new ways to cope with your anger and finding out what works most effectively for you.


Exercise is one of the best ways that you can find relief from anger. Not only does it allow you time to cool down and clear your head, but it also causes the release of endorphins. These endorphins create a sense of pleasure and can totally change your perspective. By the time you finish your workout, you may hardly remember why you were so angry in the first place.


Journaling is also a really great way to sort through your emotions. It can be tempting to lash out at others verbally and say things we don’t really mean. But journaling is a much better way to work through what you are experiencing and try to get to the bottom of why. This can give you the time to calm down so you don’t end up doing something you regret.

Talk It Out

Sometimes one of the best ways to work through anger is to just talk it out with a trusted friend or family member. Having the chance to vent and get everything out is a great way to let that anger go. They may also provide you with an outsider’s perspective that may help you see things differently.

Anger is a natural human reaction that we all experience from time to time. While we might not be able to actually avoid anger altogether, we can control how we respond to it. Many people with unresolved anger also struggle with substance misuse. This is why learning good anger management techniques is a very important part of the recovery journey. Speaking with a therapist is one of the best ways to learn to let go of past anger and begin to heal. It can also help to journal, exercise regularly, and speak with a trusted friend to get your anger off of your chest. If you are struggling with substance misuse, The Kimberly Center can help. Call (855) 452-3683 today. 

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