The Role Anger Can Play in Our Addictions

The Role Anger Can Play in Our Addictions

For many of us, our addictions are our means of escaping the painful things in our lives we’re unable to confront. Anger is one of the most difficult and destabilizing emotions we experience, and handling our interpersonal conflicts can feel impossible, especially when we don’t feel we have an understanding with the other person. Many of us go the route of avoidance. We avoid the issue altogether, sometimes cutting off relationships in order to avoid it. Oftentimes we haven’t learned healthy ways to express, communicate and process our anger, and so we are afraid of having to face it. We bury it under layers of addictive substances and behaviors. We drink and use to avoid it. We focus on dating and relationships to not have to address it. When we look at anger closely, we see that our inability to deal with it in healthy ways can be a motivating and destructive force behind our addictions.

Many of us learned that it’s not good or polite to express our anger. We’re taught that it’s better to stay silent on the issue and pretend like nothing has happened. We come to believe that anger is a negative emotion, and we’re trying so hard to think positively that we think we shouldn’t feel anything that isn’t totally positive. Our emotions have a way of catching up with us, though. The more we suppress them, the more they resurface in toxic ways. Our anger can present itself in the form of severe anxiety. We can become increasingly agitated, restless and hostile. When we’ve been hurt, we can be consumed with fear that we will be hurt again. This can make us defensive, overly self-protective, even paranoid. When we don’t heal our anger, it can transform into depression. We aren’t able to communicate our anger, so we shut down and internalize all of the pain, which over time eats away at our happiness and wellbeing.

When we turn to our addictions, it’s often our anger we’re running from and trying to escape. We drink and use to forget and to numb ourselves. We find though that when the high wears off, the anger is still there, waiting for us to deal with it. We get reminders everywhere. The people we’re distancing ourselves from might keep trying to patch things up with us. This can keep triggering our anger repeatedly. We might direct our anger from one thing onto other things in our lives, transferring and misplacing it. Our anger can grow and fester, leading to disastrous consequences. We lose relationships that were important to us. We hurt ourselves and others in the process. We never quite heal because our anger blocks us from being able to.

Our treatment programs include various kinds of therapy to help you get to the bottom of the underlying issues contributing to your addiction. Call 888-570-7154 for more information.