Imagine finding a hornet’s nest. There are different options available to deal with this situation. We can carefully avoid it, but that does not solve the problem. We could remove it ourselves, but without training, we risk disrupting the hornets and being stung. We could try destroying it by using some means, but that is the most likely to disrupt the hornets and receive their defensive wrath. Or, we could hire someone skilled and trained to remove the hornet’s nest with their protective gear carefully.
The last scenario is obviously the safest one for our own positive outcome. Too often, in recovery, we resemble that hornet’s nest, waiting to explode with anger and other emotions as we try to tackle the problem of healing from our addictions. Our emotions within our own recovery can cause us to react like those hornets, defensive and angry. Treatment for addiction is very much like removing a hornet’s nest, the more we disturb the causes for our addiction, the more likely we are to become angry. However, in the hands of skilled and trained specialists to guide us through the process, we can safely release that anger so that no one gets hurt.
The Angry Hornet Analogy
This analogy is a visual representation of what we are doing to our emotions within recovery. We know that we need to shake everything up and remove the hornet’s nest–our addiction–but in doing so, we risk an explosion of angry hornets, or releasing a lot of anger that we may not have even known we had inside of us.
Digging into our recovery process can sometimes seem like reaching into an angry hornet’s nest. As we make changes and look to heal ourselves, we also stir up the emotions behind the addiction. Even though we are supposed to be healing, and healing implies calm or peacefulness, true healing involves tapping into all kinds of powerful emotions, including anger.
Where Anger Comes From
Anger is one of the basic emotions that is common to the human experience. We can feel angry because of past experiences, such as trauma or injustice or not being heard. We may feel angry at ourselves because of past behaviors, harm that we caused others, or not standing up for ourselves or setting appropriate boundaries. Anger can come from so many places, past or present.
Too often, we judge anger as bad or wrong, particularly if we were taught never to express our anger. But not expressing anger does not make it go away. In fact, resentment can build over time, and the anger can grow and become more like a monster than a simple emotional reaction to a situation. In the hornet’s nest analogy, this is like avoiding the nest and hoping it will go away when it only gets bigger and more dangerous in reality.
Why Recovery Releases Emotions
As we work to heal ourselves, we don’t just go from a person in active substance abuse to some peaceful little angel who behaves perfectly. Chemical dependency is not created overnight, it is a result of past pain and often long term use of drugs or alcohol. This long term use often creates more pain, particularly due to our behaviors while under the influence of substances. In order for that pain to heal, we have to move through it. Moving through pain often looks like anger.
Pain that may have once been tears or sadness or fear often turns to anger when it is locked inside and not allowed to come out over the years. As we work to heal from the substance abuse and the pain that caused it, we stir up the proverbial hornets nest, and anger comes out. Pure, unadulterated anger. Sometimes even rage. This can happen all at once or it can happen in multiple releases. But it is actually good to release the anger and emotions. Allowing ourselves to experience the anger completely and get it all out allows us to heal more effectively.
The question should really be “How can I release my anger in recovery?” Although we are taught that anger is wrong or that expressing it is bad, when we stir up the hornet’s nest of our recovery with trained professionals’ careful supervision, we can release the anger in safe ways where no one gets hurt and we can heal.
Why am I so angry in recovery? The anger we feel in recovery is an expression of the pain inside of us. The more pain we have, the longer we have abused substances, the more anger we will release. However, this is not a bad thing. Releasing anger is actually a part of the healing process and if we allow ourselves to experience it fully, we increase our chances of healing fully. Rancho Milagro Recovery focuses on healing our addiction through releasing the pain and anger that has harmed us all of these years. Call us at (951) 526-4582. We are not afraid to reach into the hornet’s nest and help you release all of the anger that you have been keeping inside of you. Your healing is our goal and we are willing to help you work through anger, rage, sorrow, loss, or any emotions you may have to heal completely from your addiction. Feeling angry in recovery is not only normal, it is healthy and a part of your healing process.