One of the topics that regularly comes up during the 12 step meetings I attend is anger. One of the things that I have learned is that anger is not a state of being but rather a feeling. This is an important notion. When I say “I am angry” what I’m really saying is “I am feeling angry”.
Anger is an emotion, a response. The good thing is that these responses are caused by your mind, your thoughts, and guess who is in control of those? Exactly, you are.This logically implies that by changing your thoughts, you can change your emotional (and physical) response.
Through the shares of many of the people I have come to know, I realized that the main two causes for anger are fear or frustration. What can be done to rid yourself of these emotions?
In my experience, a method that really works well is to have a good look at your expectations. Most of the time anger is the result off disappointment, because these expectations were not met. if you miss a plane you feel angry, because you expected to be on it. If the addict in your life relapses or uses, you feel angry because you expect him or her to be sober. By reducing the level of expectation, disappointments is less likely to occur, thus taking away the reason for anger.
Another handy technique is to ask yourself the question “is it really important?”. I have found that most of the time the answer to this question is “not really”. This realization allows you to retreat, to step back.
Some people might argue that this means that one has to accept everything. This is not the case. Accepting reality does not mean accepting everything. In accepting reality we have the opportunity to make better choices.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to talk instead of fight, to talk things over in a spirit of peace and serenity. And even if talking is not possible, isn’t that preferable to emotional outbursts, drama and turmoil? Especially when we keep in mind that we are powerless over addiction…