Anger and substance abuse are behaviors that we use when under excessive pressure and tension. It is OK to look at and enjoy aggression on the news, in videos, and interactive war games. We can buy tickets to boxing matches and rough spectator sports. In some ways these interactions help us discharge angry feelings that we have about life in general.
However, if we try to discharge our angry feelings more directly, we will find ourselves locked up. Society encourages competition and aggression provided it is done in a civilized manner. The result is that much tension and stress is caused, we feel angry, but there is nowhere for us to express it.
Substance abuse provides relief from feelings of stress and tension, as do feelings of anger. To remedy addiction to anger, or substance abuse, people need addict help.
Anger can be used to simply let off steam, such as when we hit our thumb with a hammer.
When people experience chronic and intense feelings of anger it is a symptom of that person feeling pressured and powerless – chronic anger means frustration. Substance abuse is a common response to chronic frustration, for which people need addict help.
When anger and rage is turned on us in a close relationship, we can feel frightened, insecure, intimidated. If there are no reasonable alternatives on offer we have to stand and face it. Do we appease or stand and confront this angry aggressor. Eventually an outcome will occur – one will be the winner, leaving the loser sullen and resentful. Achieving solutions by force and power never leads to happy outcomes.
Anger itself is never “right or “wrong” – the justification of anger always depends upon which side of the fence you are. If you lack sympathy with the aggressor – his anger will be a vicious attack, if you are on side with them you will say that they are justified in their rage. Anger is a fairly primitive demand for compliant behavior. Anger uses a lot of energy, causing stress all around.
Anger management techniques teach us to develop for example better language skills, increase our awareness and knowledge of other people’s positions. Teach us skills to better manage people and situations. Managing anger does not help to address the emotional issues involved. Successful conflict resolution has to address the feelings that people have about the situation. Often anger management techniques help to defuse anger but don’t deal with the roots of the conflict. Resolution still occurs on the terms set out by the one who is dominant. Compromises will never satisfy us unless they also resolve the feelings that we have about a situation.
Many self help books have been written on how to become a winner – assertiveness training is all the buzz – putting the fist into a kid glove will ensure that you get your way. Books that deal with how to win just about anything you want, don’t deal with the emotional side of things – how you actually feel when you have got what you want and “won” Anything won at cost of causing pain and with disregard for the wellbeing and rights of other people is essentially hollow in terms of real satisfaction.
A resolution to anger can be found in talking to another person about the situation – someone non-judgmental who can help to normalize and validate the experience of anger. Resolving emotional issues that relate to anger, in a holistic way, also provides addict help in recovery from substance abuse.