Woman pushing glass anger management in sobriety

Anger Management in Early Sobriety – Facing Your Feelings Alcohol Free

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Something that hit me pretty hard in early sobriety was anger. Sometimes I’m just MAD as hell. It’s pretty amazing, actually, the amount of anger-energy that comes out of me. Madder than a hornet in a coke can. I’m mad that I can’t just keep moving on through my life as ‘normal’, mad that I’ve wasted so much time drinking, I’m mad that my upstairs neighbor stomp-walks across their bedroom at 3 am. 

I am super thin-skinned, and I think that somewhere along the way, I learned that it was easier to get angry or offended than to feel hurt, lonely, or tender. And then, it made sense to drink at those angry/offended feelings. And actually, angry drinking was commonplace in my life before I went sober. Sounds super healthy, right?

Now that I’ve gone sober I still get angry, and I am still offended very easily. I’m getting better at using emotional intelligence & self-compassion to understand why I am so tender around certain things, but that is a long-game. More immediately, I need to put that anger, that stress–those physical reactions–somewhere. So, I push my body when I’m mad and need to get that out of me. I cycle as fast as I can, or I once jogged (this lasted 2 weeks). I hate jogging so much, but it did help. 

Or I dance alone or search for something to laugh about, or I find something heavy that needs moving, or I scream into a pillow. Or angry journal, or, talk about it with someone…maybe. This is not the same stuff I do to soothe/comfort – this is big & loud and letting stuff OUT!

Or I do this breathing thing through one nostril at a time – it works, I swear: Left Nostril Breathing

Or, if I’m not absolutely raging, I’ll try: Guidede Meditation for Anger

Most of us are afraid of anger. We don’t want to feel it. We likely learned to drown our feelings in alcohol before we became mature enough to process them. But when we stop drinking, especially in early sobriety, many of us are surprised to find that drinking away our feelings had quite the opposite effect. The anger became FURY – an unmanageable force –

Reasons to drink wine are illusions
we seek to calm ourselves
With a potion
By knocking our feelings out for the count
But then how do we process them
Find out what they’re about?
And when they awake
They’re stronger than ever
Anger is angrier
Disgust more revolted
Fear is more frightened
So wine is more exalted
Sadness sees more and more clouds of impending doom
Eyes scanning rapidly for any bottles in the room

You may be surprised at how balanced you are when you face your feelings. Sober I find solutions to problems, I forgive when needed, I walk away from unsolvable issues and I have the clarity to now know the difference between the unsolvable issues and solvable ones. There is a balance that comes eventually from simply removing the chemicals and letting your brain do the processing it was designed to do. The balance came for me simply as I let myself be the responsible, experienced adult that I am, without the chemical alteration.

My emotions need to learn again I think
To just do what they should
without needing a drink

Thoughts on Boundries and Anger and Emotional Maturity :

Your Scars are Beautiful – Moving Toward Emotional Sobriety with Inspiration from Kintsugi

Diffusing the A in HALT or How to Stop Drinking AT people

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Poet and Philosopher David Whyte on Anger, Forgiveness, and What Maturity Really Means


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Poetic Reflections on Drinking Away Your Feelings, Alcohol and Anger Management, after Watching the film Inside Out

Reasons to drink wine are illusions
Every time
Presented prettily or desperately in an ever increasing line
Like in Inside Out (the movie)
Anger shouts
Misery dwells
Disgust decides
Joy compels
Fear provokes
Sometimes they all spoke
A myriad of emotions
A confusing commotion
So we seek to calm ourselves
With a potion
By knocking our feelings out for the count
But then how do we process them
Find out what they’re about?
And when they awake
They’re stronger than ever
Anger is angrier
Disgust more revolted
Fear is more frightened
So wine is more exalted
Sadness sees more and more clouds of impending doom
Eyes scanning rapidly for any bottles in the room
So now what if our emotions have got used to a booze fix
Perhaps they aren’t always honest with us
And have learnt a few tricks
Anger presses it quicker now
It’s ” had enough” switch
Disgust is always critical
She’s becoming a bitch
Misery thinks she’s only happy with a glass in her hand
Fear is now scared of everything and….
Joy seems to have left the building
My emotions need to learn again I think
To just do what they should
without needing a drink
I want my feelings to work for me and be mostly in order
Not be forever chaotic,  apathetic or continually falling over

This poem is by Floss

Boom Rethink the Drink Coffee cup in Sun Beam

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