“You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry,” is what Bruce Banner says when describing the creature he periodically becomes, the Incredible Hulk.
Luckily, we don’t deal with anger the exact same way as Bruce Banner. But we all have at least a little of the Incredible Hulk in us.
Drug and alcohol abuse can bring out our inner Hulk. This can happen if we’re the ones abusing drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, many of us know mean drunks. Other people react angrily if people ask them about their drug or alcohol problems. Still others become angry at themselves if they are abusing drugs or alcohol.
Anger is also a typical reaction from the loved ones of drug and alcohol abusers. The loved ones might be angry because the abusers
- might be hurting themselves physically.
- could be hurting their families physically, emotionally, or financially.
- broke promises they made.
- experienced relapses from their sobriety.
The loved ones might be angry with themselves because they feel responsible for their loved ones’ addictions. They might be angry because they’re not living the lives they expected to live. In short, addiction often brings out a lot of anger all around.
If we’re angry and don’t do anything about it, it can be destructive. But there are ways we can channel our anger to make it more constructive than destructive.
Anger can be a sign that someone’s in pain and that they need to do something about it. What should they do? It depends on the situation, of course, but for addicts and families of addicts, therapy is often a good idea.
Therapy can help people examine the reasons why they’re angry. It can help them find ways to address this anger. For example, family therapy requires drug and alcohol abusers and their families to attend therapy sessions together. These sessions are good ways to explore the emotions of the entire family. These sessions acknowledge that while powerful, anger doesn’t have to destroy.