alcoholism and anger

Emotions can run high during the recovery process. One of the more powerful and hostile emotions is anger. Anger is a common emotion and is defined as feelings of displeasure and annoyance. Anger is completely normal, however, failing to control your own anger can lead to problems down the line. This is especially true when it comes to anger and addiction

Anger is an emotion that can stem from a variety of different reasons. It can be something small or an underlying trauma in some cases. However the anger may have come about, it’s important to know how to deal with anger in a healthy way. There are methods of dealing with anger that are effective and healthy as well. When it comes to anger management in addiction recovery, it’s crucial to be practicing proper anger management. 

Substance Abuse and Domestic Abuse/Violence

As such a destructive emotion, anger has been linked to substance use disorders. Those who grow up in an aggressive and violent household can end up becoming violent themselves. This also goes with substance abuse as well. When it comes to domestic violence, children who witness aggression between their parents/partners end up having a number of negative symptoms including: 

  • Bullying
  • Getting into fights
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Rebellious behavior
  • Worsened performance at school
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse

Developing a personality is an important part of growing up and witnessing these traumas or other disturbances can make a negative impact. Starting to use substances at such an early age can end up being extremely harmful. Turning to drugs is not uncommon for those who experience traumas or violence on a regular basis. These same people are never taught about coping with anger in a healthy way. 

Anger management in Recovery

The Connection Between Anger Management and Substance Abuse

Anger can be a healthy emotion at times, however, when a person fails to control it, it can end up causing serious issues. This is especially true for those who are dealing with substance abuse. When it comes to anger and addiction, it’s crucial to manage anger effectively. Addiction can create a vicious cycle of drug of alcoholism and anger (or other addictions). 

A person may have angry outbursts when under the influence of drugs. They may lash out in anger before soothing their anger with more drugs or alcohol. This creates a dangerous cycle of anger and substance abuse. As time goes, a person’s addiction and mental health will only worsen. Regardless of whether the outburst or drug use comes first, a person should get help. 

A person can end up developing a dependence on the cycle of anger and substance abuse. This can happen without a person even realizing it. This constant cycle can end up leading to mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and overall feelings of hopelessness. To cope with these a person may use drugs and thus, the cycle continues. If you or a loved one is dealing with an addiction or a mental health disorder, it’s important to get help sooner than later.

Anger Management in Addiction Recovery

Emotions tend to run high during recovery, especially near the beginning. Past traumas, stresses, and other situations may have a person feeling angry and aggressive. During recovery, it is important to learn how to cope with these emotions in a healthy way. If these emotions are not managed effectively, a relapse may be in the cards. 

During the process, there will be many opportunities to learn coping strategies while talking through these feelings. While it’s normal to be angry sometimes, it’s important to keep a leveled head when it comes to drug addiction recovery. Fortunately, there are several ways a person can learn to control their anger and cope with life’s stresses. Like anything else, coping with anger takes time, patience, and determination. 

How to Manage Anger During Addiction Recovery

Understanding how to deal with and manage your anger is vital to recovery success. This can mean the difference between a healthy and unhealthy state of mind. There are many positive ways of coping with anger. Let’s take a look at how to effectively manage anger during recovery. Some of the common ways of dealing with anger include:

  • Journaling
  • Exercising
  • Talking to a professional or loved one
  • Meditation
  • Hobbies or activities
  • Practicing Self-awareness


Keeping a journal is a great way to manage your anger and your stress. This method is used for stress management and relapse prevention as well. Sometimes putting your thoughts down on paper can help you come to terms with these feelings. Also writing down what you are grateful for can also be therapeutic for anger and stress management.


Exercise is a vital part of a healthy and balanced life. We hear it time and time about how important exercise is for our body and mind. Exercise can help reduce stress and make us feel and think clearer. Exercising can also be a great outlet for anger, going for a jog or hitting the gym can help your mind and body cope. 

Substance Abuse

Talking to a Professional or Loved One

One of the most effective ways to manage anger is to talk to someone about it. Talking to a professional or someone you can trust is crucial to managing your anger. Holding all those angry emotions in can be a recipe for disaster in some cases. Opening up and understanding why you feel the way you do can make a massive difference during recovery. 


As one of the more holistic options for addiction treatment, meditation can be a powerful tool for coping with anger. Remaining relaxed and letting your body settle down is a great way to ease tension and anger. Meditating doesn’t take long and can essentially be done anywhere. Meditation is used for some cases of addiction to help during therapy and recovery. Meditation can be a great outlet to manage anger. 

Engaging in Hobbies or Activities

One of the best ways to distract yourself from your emotions is to pick up a hobby. There are so many opportunities to do something you love. Whether that be picking up an instrument, reading, writing, drawing, or just joining a club. Taking your mind to a creative and free space can help you deal with anger. However, it’s important not to completely ignore your anger, still speak to a loved one or therapist if needed. 

Practice Self-Awareness

One of the best ways of practicing anger management in addiction recovery is to be self-aware and open. It helps to know what makes you angry or what triggers certain emotions. Dealing with these or avoiding them is key to managing your anger. If there are certain things that need to be addressed such as boundaries, self-awareness can help you achieve that. Likewise, if there are situations that you know will make you angry, it’s best to try and avoid them. 

Managing Anger Through Therapy

Therapy is an essential part of the addiction treatment process. Rehab centers like Coastal Detox, have a variety of different therapy options available. We help you manage all emotions and thoughts you may be having. Included in this are anger and other emotions. Talking to a trained professional can help you change your mindset and manage your anger. Additionally, therapy is not a one size fits all situation either. 

There are several different types of treatment for anger and addiction, options that can be used for both situations. Understanding self-control, awareness, and other elements of one’s self are crucial to managing anger in recovery.

 Therapy can help anger management in addiction recovery by:

anger management in addiction recovery
  • Improving a person’s communication skills
  • Improving problem-solving skills
  • Impulse control
  • Learning to forgive others
  • Using logical thought and reasoning
  • Managing frustration
  • Practicing self-awareness and mindfulness
  • Removing triggers (in a healthy way)

These are fundamental parts of anger and addiction recovery. Learning to understand your situation and coping with anger in a healthy way is crucial for long-term sobriety. With the right help and practice, a person can live a better and calmer life. 

Two of the main forms of therapy (used for both anger and addiction) are cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT focuses on changing how a person thinks about their surroundings and thoughts. It helps to replace negative emotions and influences with positive ones. 
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) – DBT helps a person accept uncomfortable thoughts while teaching coping mechanisms and techniques along the way. 

Both CBT and DBT are effective in treating cases of anger and addiction. 

Getting Professional Help

With the link between anger management and substance abuse, it’s important to have professionals help on your side. At Coastal Detox, we help our clients overcome their addiction with effective, research-based treatment. Sometimes all it takes is one step forward to make a change in your life. If you or a loved one is suffering from drug addiction, it may be time to get help. Give us a call today to learn more about the detox process and what comes next.