Coping with Anger and Alcohol

Coping with Anger and Alcohol

Alcohol should be enjoyed responsibly and in moderation.

It can pair well with a nice meal, or simply add some fun to a party.

However, for many people, anger and alcohol go hand in hand.

Problems with anger and alcohol may simmer on the surface after a few drinks or suddenly explode with drunkenness.

It's important to remember- issues with anger and alcohol are not always related to being drunk.

Some anger and alcohol issues require only a few drinks to emerge.

Either way, negative behaviors related to anger and alcohol are often destructive to relationships.

Those struggling with anger and alcohol often struggle with other, unresolved issues such as bitterness, unwillingness or inability to forgive, low self-esteem, and/or resentment.

Seek immediate treatment from a licensed addiction professional when struggling with anger and alcohol.

Let's examine some of the destructive behaviors related to anger and alcohol, and some helpful means for coping with them.

Available Addiction Counselors

Maria Roncalli, LPC

We all need support, someone to listen to us...

Colorado Springs, Colorado

(719) 345-2424

David Geldert MSN, PMHNP-BC

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, Colorado

(720) 449-4121

Coping with Anger and Alcohol: Rage

For many, alcohol puts them in a relaxed, good-humored mood.

For others, alcohol makes them more talkative, even more, honest and forthright.

For someone struggling with unresolved anger issues like an inability to forgive or bitterness, alcohol may bring these feelings to the surface.

When combined, anger and alcohol often lead to rage and even blackouts.

Think of unresolved anger issues as a small leak in a huge damn of emotions.

Everyday water leaks from the damn, dripping unresolved negative emotions.

Now, think of alcohol as a hammer smashing against the leaking stones of the damn.

Alcohol breaks a hole in the damn, and flood emotions come spilling out all at once.

That flood of negative emotions, released by the combination of anger and alcohol is rage.

Rage is destructive behavior, leading to irrational thoughts, verbal slanders, name-calling, and even physical violence or abuse.

Once released, rage often unfairly rehashes past mistakes or wrongs.

Many people struggling with anger and alcohol issues also struggle with an unwillingness and/or inability to forgive.

People often keep lists of wrongs.

Rage related to anger and alcohol runs down the list of wrongs, either refusing to forgive or denying forgiveness that's already been offered in the past.

When anger and alcohol combine to produce rage, words can be said that may never be able to be taken back.

Violence and even physical abuse are often the product of anger and alcohol.

In fact, many people admit that what they say or do when under the influence of anger and alcohol are things they would never do sober.

Harmful behaviors related to anger and alcohol are destructive to relationships.

If you or someone you know struggles with anger and alcohol issues, seek the help of a licensed professional counselor. 

Coping with Anger and Alcohol: Know Your Limits

One way of coping with anger and alcohol is knowing your limits.

Every person is unique, with unique tolerance for alcohol.

For some, the responsible and moderate amount may be a certain number of drinks.

For others, it may be the ability to rink certain kinds of alcohol, and avoid others.

Know yourself- know your limits.

Know how many is too many, or which alcohols to avoid altogether.

Every person deals with anger differently too.

Some people do not deal with their anger in a healthy way, keeping it bottled up inside.

Others dismiss their anger, ignoring it until it explodes into rage and abuse.

Knowing your limits also means being aware of how you deal with anger, and how drinking alcohol may affect it.

Remember, a person doesn't have to be drunk to act out in anger or rage.

Everyone is different. Knowing yourself means knowing your limits when it comes to anger and alcohol. 

Coping with Anger and Alcohol: Precautionary Measures

Rage related to anger and alcohol issues can explode suddenly, without warning.

The smallest words, actions, or events may trigger a person's anger fueled by alcohol.

For example, a couple may be having a few drinks and watching a movie together- everything seems fine.

A character in the movie commits infidelity.

There have been past infidelity in the couple's relationship.

One partner becomes irritable, has another drink, and then rages about their partner's past wrongdoing.

An argument ensues, then more drinks and the situation escalates.

Remember- Rage related to anger and alcohol is often irrational, and that means even the most irrational, seemingly insignificant trigger can set someone off.

Precautionary measures are an effective means for preventing rage related to anger and alcohol.

Precautionary measures mean identifying alcohol-induced rage triggers specific to you and others around you, and avoiding them while drinking.

You may need to decide that certain topics are best not discussed when under the influence.

You may identify certain movies, songs, and/or media related to past wrongs or mistakes.

For example, if there has been cheating in the past, and a certain song was discovered to have been significant to that illicit relationship, then avoid that song when drinking.

Precautionary measures need to be as individual and unique as you, and those you drink with.

Part of enjoying alcohol responsibly is creating a safe, non-threatening space in which to drink.

Coping with Anger and Alcohol: Time Out

Once rage related to anger and alcohol has reared its ugly head and destructive behaviors have begun, seeking a time out can be helpful.

Remember- rage and abuse related to anger and alcohol are irrational, and tend only to escalate and get worse.

Too often once an alcohol-induced argument or fight begins, more alcohol is consumed to either calm you down or numb the pain/anger.

A time-out can mean stopping drinking. It can mean putting the alcohol away or even pouring it out.

Rarely does adding more alcohol to a rage situation related to anger and alcohol help.

Time out can also mean stepping away from the rage exchange of words or abuse.

Be alone, find a quiet place away from others.

If you are not in the same room, it's more difficult to continue to fight and fuel alcohol-induced rage.

Remember, when it comes to time out, never drink and drive, wander into strange public places or take rides from strangers.

Time out means making you and any others involved in rage related to anger and alcohol safer. 

Coping with Anger and Alcohol: Excuses vs. Forgiveness

More often than not, rage related to anger and alcohol will cause hurt feelings, reopened wounds, distrust, and even physical pain as a result of violence.

It can seem difficult, if not impossible to move on after an alcohol-induced fight.

A fight or argument caused by anger and alcohol often leaves you wondering- Did they really mean what they said?

Or was it just the alcohol talking?

Is that person really capable of physical violence, or was it just anger and alcohol?

If that person never got drunk again, would they say those things to me or hurt me?

There is a difference between making excuses for destructive behaviors related to anger and alcohol, and offering true forgiveness.

Each person is unique and therefore each relationship, situation, and series of events is unique.

There is no standard rubric for judging whether or not a person's alcohol-induced rage deserves to be excused or even forgiven.

That's why those struggling with anger and alcohol issues, and especially those being harmed by them should seek immediate professional counseling. 

Conclusion

As we have seen, coping with issues related to anger and alcohol is difficult.

Rage often destroys relationships.

Identifying and implementing precautionary measures and time-outs may be a challenge.

Each requires compromise and self-discipline.

Don't go it alone.

There are many factors to consider when coping with anger and alcohol.

A licensed professional counselor can help you identify those factors and formulate a strategy for you.

A licensed professional counselor can advise you on difficult issues like excusing behaviors and forgiveness.

There is healing in addiction. Anger and alcohol do not have to run or ruin your life.

Get help today. 

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