Living with addiction demands our priorities as well as our mental and emotional well-being. When we cannot meet the desire for immediate gratification, our emotional state can make it difficult to respond appropriately to close family members or friends.
Additionally, if regular communication between your parents involved shouting, angry outbursts, and harmful words, you may have believed this was normal behavior.
As adults responsible for our personal choices, we can choose to communicate more effectively. That choice begins with thinking about how we want to respond to a situation before reacting negatively.
React Versus Respond
Do you react to triggers or respond effectively? Working toward recovery is a long road beside which are multiple rest-stops providing opportunities to rethink lifestyle choices. Effective communication is the bedrock of most relationships: personal and professional. Those of us prone to impulsive outbursts of behavior are more likely to live with the consequences of breaking relationships and losing jobs.
Reacting to the moment means an impulsive response with harmful, damaging words; in some cases, it also includes harmful actions. If you did not get the promotion you were hoping for, do you ask how you can better prepare next time, or do you throw a temper tantrum and just quit, regardless of how it might affect your family? If you were unable to meet your immediate needs for prescription medication, illegal drugs, or alcohol, how did you respond?
Re-Learning Old Behaviors
Addiction takes over our rational thought processes and overrides our potential good actions, including our ability for effective communication. When we live under the shadow of substance misuse, we become accustomed to the behaviors and thought processes associated with it.
The key to change is a willingness to do so, and this means taking advantage of the support available to you through counseling sessions and your support group. Role-play can help you gain insight into your thought processes and the impact your responses have on others.
Things You Can Do Today
- Think before you speak. Pausing to think before responding helps you control your temper and can prevent over-reactions. Beginning now, take a breath, and turn a reaction into a response.
- Work with your support group to identify the root cause of your anger triggers. If you are not able to eliminate them, consider in advance how you wish to respond.
- Take a moment, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would you feel if they lost their temper with you? Taking time out to understand the impact your temper has on others helps you build empathy and awareness.
- Weigh the outcomes. Remain calm or act out? Which will get you the best result? Sure, running a rampage like a giant toddler may get you to rule through intimidation for now, but for how long? How does that impact your close relationships? Don’t let frustration negatively impact your interactions with others.
- Be introspective. Continue looking within. What causes your temper tantrums? How important is it that everyone agrees with you all the time?
The strategies above may help you while you’re working with your professional network to explore ways to resolve anger issues and re-wire learned responses.
Living with addiction demands our priorities as well as our mental and emotional well-being. If we cannot meet the desire for immediate gratification, we may become angry or hostile with close family members or friends. Beneath the shadow of addiction, we become accustomed to certain behaviors and thought processes. Our default setting may be a swift reaction rather than a thoughtful response. Taking advantage of available support through counseling sessions helps us gain insight into our thought processes and our impact on others. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains’ inspiring landscape, the Detox Center of Colorado offers a solution-based transitional residence program aimed at accountability and recovery. No matter how far you are on your journey of substance abuse recovery or mental health recovery, we look forward to helping you explore the range of supportive treatment and aftercare options available to you. Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035. It may be the best thing you do for yourself today.