Anger Management Classes

by James A. Baker
(March, 2011. Recovery Today)


anger managementI am a pretty steady guy most of the time. I always try to get along with people whenever I can. The only time I ever have problems with anger is when I have had a few beers, and then I do tend to develop a quick temper when people mess with me. My wife says I need help because she thinks I have an anger problem, but here's the thing - I drive a truck for a living, and when I get home at night I just want to relax and knock a few back. If my wife or my teen-age daughter could just stay out of my way for a while, things would be fine. How can I convince them that if they would just leave me alone while I am unwinding, I wouldn't have this anger problem?

Irritated in Houston

Anger Management Classes - Help You Overcome Anger Problems

Dear Irritated:
Before we can even begin to discuss your unhealthy anger patterns, there is something I must be perfectly clear about: you will never overcome your problems with anger if you are abusing alcohol or drugs. This is not your family's fault; this is not a moral issue: it is a survival issue. The correlation between the abuse of drugs and alcohol with incidents of destructive anger is too high to ignore.

A study done in 1997 found that alcohol was a contributing factor in:

  • 86 percent of homicides
  • 37 percent of assaults
  • 60 percent of sexual assaults
  • 57 percent of men and 27 percent of women involved in marital violence
  • 13 percent of child abusers

Anger Management Classes

While these figures appear high to some researchers, a much more conservative study done in 1991 still found that 42 percent of violent crimes reported to the police involved alcohol abuse. In addition, 51 per cent of victims of violent acts report their attackers had been drinking before the attack. So, there is definitely a connection between unhealthy anger patterns and alcohol abuse. Here's why:

When you abuse alcohol or drugs, the impact on your body progresses through several stages.

Initially you feel a sense of euphoria -- "I am the most handsome (or beautiful), generous and entertaining person in the whole world. Isn't life great?" This may last for a while, but as the chemicals make their way through your system, things can go from good to bad -- and bad to worse -- very quickly.

Because alcohol is a depressant, euphoria eventually gives way to sadness, depression and - very often - anger.

On the other hand, some types of drug reactions move from euphoria to paranoia, anxiety and agitation. The result is still the same; the risk for extreme anger is very high.

Anger Management Classes

The effect in either case is to disable your brain's natural system of inhibitions. When you are sober, your brain will warn you that certain attitudes and choices are not wise and should be avoided. With those inhibitions disrupted by alcohol or drugs, you are likely to say and do all sorts of irresponsible, destructive things. Many of these bad decisions involve very aggressive and inappropriate expressions of anger that you might have willingly avoided while sober.

To the risk factors we have described so far, we must also add one more serious component: addictions to substances like alcohol and drugs are, themselves, red flags indicating that a person is struggling with another set of underlying emotional problems that are causing them a lot of fear and emotional pain. Their emotional situation may be caused by an abusive childhood, broken relationships, various traumatic occurrences or even clinical psychiatric conditions. The bottom line is that people afflicted by such a serious and ongoing level of emotional pain tend to be VERY angry people, even though they may cover it up pretty well most of the time. However, under the influence of drugs and alcohol, once their natural inhibition processes have been disabled, their anger can erupt in unpredictable, aggressive and often violent ways.


Anger Management Classes

If you have ever used alcohol or drugs before, during or after an anger event, it is important to contact your local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter. Look them up in the phone book, or call your local mental health association, social service agency or physician's office and ask for the number. Find out where there is a meeting tonight and BE THERE. Commit to attend 90 meetings over the next 90 days.

Of course, you have been telling yourself for a long time that you don't have a problem; you can handle it, it's not that big a deal. Besides, you know plenty of people that are worse off than you. Really? Do you know plenty of people that are being begged - and eventually compelled - to take an anger management course because their bad attitudes and poor impulse control is so destructive that someone they love - or maybe even a judge - has threatened them with dire consequences if they don't? Stop with the excuses already. This is no time to let your pride or your shame or your denial or your fear drive you to make yet one more bad decision!

Anger Management Classes

Do you want to get better? Do you want to beat your anger problem and restore your relationship with the people that you love, not to mention avoid going to jail? You can't conquer your anger problem if you don't stop drinking and drugging. Anger management training will help you deal with the anger, but not if you are still using. Call Alcoholics Anonymous RIGHT NOW and ask for help to overcome your problem with alcohol and/or drugs. You will find a friend on the other end of the line. You will find people at every meeting who care about you and understand you. You will get the help and find the hope you need.