Anger is an emotion which can have negative consequences in recovery. It takes multiple steps to understanding oneself, what leads to anger and how to work through the process of letting go of anger so as to move on in recovery.
Addiction can have a vice grip on people’s lives, even in recovery. Freedom is based on forgiving others who have done harm. One of the hardest things to do is offer forgiveness to a person or group of people who caused physical, verbal or sexual harm. Lack of forgiveness stems from an unwillingness of a person to let go of a hurt which is holding an individual back. Holding onto anger only hurts the person who refuses to let go.
Negative Effects of Anger in Recovery
When a person is unwilling or unable to forgive, holding on can cause serious side effects. The reasons can include the following:
- Stress causes disease. Withholding forgiveness and not ‘letting go’ can have serious problems for the body emotionally and physically. Stress can lead to high blood pressure and lots of physical illness. Stress can lead to heart disease and other serious life-threatening issues when not handled properly.
- Resentment and anger may trigger relapse. Stress caused by not forgiving a person can lead to relapse. Stressful life events can occur which support an individual’s turn to drugs or alcohol to help ‘escape’ life’s problems. Lack of forgiveness can become like radiation, a lethal cocktail of emotions which can have serious physical ramifications.
Letting Go of Anger in Recovery
Letting go of anger is a process. Forgiveness is a process. It starts with taking one step first, then the other, and then another step until completion. Begin with the following steps to help get started on the path to letting go.
- Recognize the need for change within oneself. More than likely, a continuous cycle of anger, bitterness, rage, depression, loneliness and drug/alcohol use is rampant which needs to change before anger can be let go.
- Write down the person’s name, the wrong committed and emotions attached. Try to pin down the act and focus on it. Deal with each act one at a time rather than putting the issues all together in one. This helps deal with one issue at a time and release one by one.
- List all major issues and leave nothing out. Sometimes it helps to write out a list up to three times before the mind will process all the hurts. The mind may not allow a person to overload so do the best job possible and move to the next step.
- Write out the following phrase. “I now forgive (name) just as if it never happened.” This will allow the hurt to be forgiven.
- Say it out loud. “I now forgive (name) as if it never happened.
- Sign the name and date it. This creates a contract with the individual and finalizes the act of forgiveness.
Letting go is one part of a multi-step process of recovery. Find a supportive community of others to help guide you throughout the recovery journey by calling Hired Power today. We will help you locate the right resources and tools to help you get started.