Managing Anger During Heroin Addiction Treatment

Anger has stopped more than one recovering heroin addict from getting what they need to maintain their sobriety in recovery. Without the sedating drug, many patients find that they are unable to calm themselves down or control their temper as they did when they were actively using the drug. The problem with anger is that it blinds the person experiencing the emotion and causes them to make poor choices without thinking. Whether that choice is to relapse on heroin, hurt someone they care about verbally or physically, or damage their opportunities at work or in the community, anger-based decisions are almost always the wrong ones.

Why Anger Happens During Heroin Addiction Treatment

Believe it or not, anger is something you can control. You cannot control situations or people and the decisions they make, but you can control your response. It is often inaccurate thinking that causes people to get angry. Paranoia, low self-esteem, the belief that people are saying or doing things to hurt you or embarrass you and many other incorrect ideas can cause someone to perceive that a situation occurred when it didn’t or blow small things out of proportion. Changing that thinking can change your emotional response and stop you from angry outbursts that can result in relapse during heroin addiction treatment.

Note: Anger is not an emotion that has to be completely obliterated for a successful recovery. It can be a helpful emotion at times. It’s just a matter of making sure that the anger is well-placed, controlled and does not result in violence, verbal abuse or relapse.

How to Manage Anger During Heroin Addiction Recovery

Managing anger during heroin addiction recovery starts with knowing what makes you angry. If you are angered by specific people, you can make plans to avoid them or not interact with them when you are near each other. If certain events make you angry, you can limit the number of times you have to endure these events until you can extract them from your schedule completely. If little things like someone bumping into your or speaking rudely to you upsets you greatly, there are a number of things you can do to stop yourself from overreacting. Here are just a few:

  • Ask yourself if this is really important enough to get angry about. Few things are. Do you want to give someone who irritates you the pleasure of knowing they got under your skin? Or if it was an accident, do you really want to be the person who flies off the handle for no reason?
  • Change your thinking. If you believe that someone is doing something to you or said something maliciously with the intent to hurt you, ask yourself if that is really the truth of the matter. Could it be your perception? Could it not be that they are not feeling well or are having a bad day? Most of the time, people are completely absorbed in their own experience.
  • Count to 10. Before you respond to anything, give yourself a chance to get under control.
  • Look at the situation from their point of view. Why are they saying/ doing the things they are? If you were in their situation, would you do the same thing? Relax. Explain your position and remain calm. The situation won’t be resolved with anger.

What are your suggestions for handling anger during heroin addiction recovery?

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