What do we do when the one we love keeps choosing drugs and alcohol over us? Most of us feel angry and rejected. Some of us choose to react to our anger by shoving it down inside. Others lash out. Neither option is good.
So what do we do with all the anger that seems like it comes along with this disease? How do we get back to a place of joy?
Here’s the first truth I need to you hear. It was written in a book called Quiet (and if you’re an introvert like me – this is a must read). The author, Susan Cain wrote:
Most of us believe that venting anger lets off steam. That aggression builds up inside of us until it’s healthily released. This dates back to the Greeks, revised by Freud and then punching bags and primal screams came along in the 1960’s. But it’s a myth. Scores of STUDIES have shown that venting doesn’t soothe anger; if FUELS it. We’re best off when we don’t allow ourselves to go to our angry place.
So what do we do with anger? I have a few suggestions (you didn’t think I was going to just leave you without some helpful tips, did you?):
- Take a deep breath.
- Remove yourself from the setting.
- Have a set of tools you can turn to (books, movies, songs, etc.) and dig into them at the soonest possible moment.
- Yoga. I just started a few months ago and it is amazing. It’s lots of breathing, relaxing music, and an instructor who was walking us through mediation.
- Prayer. Make a playlist of songs that really softens your heart and find a quiet spot and pray. Promise yourself that you won’t get up until you feel better. Don’t forget to make space to listen (prayer isn’t just a one-sided conversation).
I have found that when we’re angry, we need to go to the exact opposite place, which is compassion and empathy. Love on yourself. Do something kind. The more kindness you offer yourself, the quicker the anger will melt away and you’ll be able to offer kindness to those around you.
P.S. Remember: feeling angry is normal. Even Jesus got angry. So don’t try to avoid it, but let’s learn how to deal with it.
If you want to learn exactly how to take steps toward your own recovery when you love someone who drinks too much or suffers from addiction, I would love to help you. Your healing starts with you – not him. I’ve put together a free guide with 12 tips to get you started on this journey. Following these tips won’t always be easy, but it’s the beginning of your transformation. Sign up below and I’ll send them straight to your inbox.