Anger is hurt in disguise. When I fume, I don’t embark on an infinite quest to figure out why I just blew up. That pursuit is fruitless because anger is a symptom of pain. Instead, I ask myself why I feel so incredibly hurt. Before sobriety, I drank to alleviate the pain. Alcohol provided me with a false catharsis. It gave me the ability to forget people, places and things from my past/present that instigated any heartache/heartbreak. Drinking numbed my mind, body and soul. I was purely a skeleton, a shell of my authentic self. This capability to forget pain set into motion an alcoholic robot who developed an emotional disability—incapable of expressing genuine emotion. That’s what alcohol does, it short-circuits your healthy processing of emotions and abandons you. When I stopped drinking, I had this eruption of unresolved sentiments. I was forced to think without the medicinal power of booze. I reflected on my childhood, my choices, my pain and my past. It was an influx of unsettled dust. I desperately wanted to snap my fingers and magically watch the dust settle to the ground. I believed that getting sober would unravel the complexities of my broken past. I worked diligently, I processed thoughts and overcame fear. What I learned: This type of therapeutic work is not a magic key that opens the gate to emotional and mental freedom. Just because I have acquired two years of sobriety doesn’t mean the pain has fully subsided. I get triggered, I melt down and occasionally throw a temper tantrum. Why? Because I’m human. There’s no amount of therapy, inner-reflection, healing and recovery that renders us immune to certain triggers. What recovery does teach us is to learn from our mistakes. Keep those people close to you that truly understand the pain that’s eliciting the anger. Cherish their unconditional love and support; They are critical to your sobriety. Finally, Instead of asking yourself, “Why am I so angry?” Ask yourself, “Why am I still hurting?”
If there are any take-aways from this blog post, I want it to be this:
Remove yourself from people, places and things that trigger your ugly side. I find it difficult to control my own emotions under particular circumstances. I finally accept this. What I do have the ability to control is:
- whom I surround myself with
- under what circumstances
Don’t subject yourself to triggers. Refrain from toxicity and reexamine the conditions until you can comfortably and constructively refrain from being triggered. In the meantime, continue to process the pain to prevent any future emotional eruptions. Whether it’s 1 year, 5 years or 10 years, seek progress, not perfection.