Anger and resentment are a toxic brew for just about anybody, but for alcoholics they can be deadly.

They are symptoms of a mindset that is simply out of synch with recovery. Healthy (and enjoyable) sobriety is established when the alcoholic learns and utilizes tools to recognize and process negative feelings. Letting go of anger and resentment is an essential strategy for maintaining sobriety.

Here are a few tips for letting go of anger and resentment:

  • Pause, when angered, frustrated, or otherwise provoked, and put the event in perspective. Is anger going to help? Will reacting in anger elevate the situation to a more frustrating exchange?
  • Appeal to your better nature—there is a deep wisdom in each of us, and it invariably provides a sense of calm and a more practical sense for a practical solution. If you accept the idea of a “higher power,” then this appeal would be called prayer. Either way, it has tremendous power to heal negative emotions and offer up intuitive insights and solutions.
  • If anger over the same event or person recurs, it becomes a resentment. It is often the case that the alcoholic with a resentment bears some responsibility for the offending situation. It is useful to do some introspection and ask “Do I have a part in this? Have I been entirely honest with the person involved? Do I have an expectation that the person or situation should be different than they actually are? What am I afraid of?” Fear is the underlying theme in most anger and resentment; identify the fear and realize that anger and resentment are the products of the fear, not of what the other person is doing. Again, an appeal to inner wisdom to remove the fear can have tremendous healing potential.

There are other techniques for letting go of anger and resentment. A final key element, though, has to do with honestly discussing them with a trusted person who can offer perspective and steer you away from what appears to be the problem and back to the tools mentioned above.

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