I had maybe a few months of abstinance under my belt when a man with twenty years of sobriety said something in a meeting that stuck with me to this day. He said,"Alcoholics don't get angry, they are angry."
I left the meeting wondering what he was talking about. I thought to myself I am not angry. I am not angry at all. Why would he accuse me of being angry? Not only was I in denial about my anger, I was also convinced he was talking about me!
It took many years of recovery and doing all twelve steps to begin to understand what he meant. The Big Book warned me that the number one reason people quit the program of recovery is resentment. It continued to say that as an alcoholic, I did not have the luxury of being angry.
When I did my fourth step and then continued on with my tenth step, I began to see my anger. I was angry I wasn't smarter, prettier, thinner or wealthier. I was angry my friends seemd to get what my parents wouldnt give me. I was angry I wasn't married with children when I thought I should be. The list went on.
Nearly thirteen years later, I can see and accept my ongoing resentments. I am angry I am not decisive. I am angry I wasted so much time in my addictioin. I am angry my son won't behave. I am angry I have to work. I am angry my husband asks too many questions when I am exhausted.
Recovery teaches me I dont need to be perfect, my recovery from addiction helps others, my son is only five and will misbehave and my husband asks a lot of questions because he is interested in me.
Alcoholism, when untreated, renders a person irritable, restless and discontent. In this mood, I can easily focus on what is missing in my life or wrong in my world. With that focus, I automatically become angry. Therefore, the solution is simple.
When angry, I immediately pray to be saved from my anger. I look for my part in the wrong doing and visualize how I might handle the same situation better the next time it comes up. I do this for several reasons, but the main reason I do it is to prevent a relapse. If I let myself simmer in the anger, eventually I will hurt myself or someone else.
I am not unique. I have seen countlless alcoholics with many years of recovery go out because they stopped working the spiritual aspects of the program and slipped back into a constant state of unhappiness.
Each day, I take the necessary steps to stay spiritually fit and that is how I counteract my anger.