Anger And Your Alcoholic


In childhood I remember being told when disciplined by my parents, “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about”.

Even though that’s counter intuitive it somehow resulted in the tears drying up.

I always wonder if I didn’t have a reason to cry about the discipline or if I really thought something worse would happen.

Emotions are not the problem here it’s what we do with them that becomes the issue.

Anger’s a powerful emotion.

It may be one you use when frustrated.

Let’s look at a few things about anger.

Anger’s not right or wrong

Emotions are amoral.

They don’t have any intrinsic value in an of themselves.

For example, if you find someone starving because of the neglegence of another it’s reasonable to be angry over the unfairness of the situation.

On the other hand, if you find yourself angry because a friend decides to cancel an outing it may not be reasonable given the situation.

Anger’s an emotion that empowers us to fight and defend yourself.

The ironic consequence of anger is that it puts distance between you and those around you.

Your alcoholic may use anger to have you back away so using goes on uninterrupted.

You may find anger pushes your alcoholic away at times because it’s just too painful to deal with all his drinking does to your relationship.

In any case where anger’s present, there’s also a choice.

The choice may not be obvious because anger is strong and when you’re angry physically there is limitations on your judgment.

One of the best things to do is to slow down.

Take a few deep breaths.

Take as many as you need until your heart rate gets back to normal.

Then think about what your choices are and what is your best alternative.

Then and only then decide what you want to do.

This means you’ll not be acting out of anger.

You’ll actually respond instead of react.

I can assure you the outcome will be better than simply reacting with anger.

Anger’s not cumulative

Some think of anger much like a teapot.

When the steam in the pot reaches the boiling point the whistle blows.

Anger doesn’t really work that way.

There may be specific triggers that are more likely than not to result in an angry response.

They are most often characterized by issues of unfairness, helplessness and fear.

If there’s been a trauma from childhood, situations closely related to the event may trigger anger.

To really get a handle on anger resulting from such childhood issues may take a little time and often a lot of effort to resolve.

Anger may be irrational or rational

Not every time you or your alcoholic’s angry it it rational.

Rational anger is based on facts or truth.

In your alcoholic’s impaired judgment there are many time’s when the truth’s unclear or distorted and the facts uncertain.

This is a prime opportunity for irrational anger to be displayed.

Remember there’s the secondary benefit to your alcoholic. It distances you.

This makes continued use of alcohol much easier plus YOU become the reason your alcoholic’s drinking.

If you find yourself in the middle of irrational anger the best thing you can do is:

  • Calm down
  • Reflect on the truth
  • Review your choices
  • Decide what to do

It may take some time to become proficient at managing your anger.

As you work on it you will become much better at handling the situations that result in anger.

When your alcoholic’s angry the best thing to do is learn not to react. If you have to walk away to handle it, go ahead.

How have you handled your anger or responded to your alcoholic’s anger. Share with us in the comment section below.


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Here’s What 20 Other People Thought...

  1. kat

    Very good article, for many times I became angry at Rod, many times it led into fighting and getting out of control, with him now stoping the drink it is easier to stop and look at what is the argument about, you cannot argue with a drunk, you cannot reason with a drunk, but you can take yourself out of the equation and know its not your fault and its not personnel, it is his illness , at these times i go to the word of God and music to find peace in myself, for without peace anger will grow ,find your flower , he will come to listen to you more and just maybe you will win over this illness

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I think you nailed it “you cannot argue with a drunk”. I’m sure personal faith is a big source of support and comfort.

  2. kismet

    this article makes so much sense….my husband is irrational….cause hes always angry….always wants to fight….pushes my buttons to try & get met to argue….sometimes I defend myself makes things worse….& then it gives him fuel to say …well you get angry to dont ya s & that & you aren’t perfect… is better to just be quiet ..Ive learned this …but harder to say than do…..& nothing ever gets settled this way…because the conversation is all about defending myself for this & he has said to provoke me the counselor at his work wants us to parrot….but when I do this he gets angry at me & accuses me of not listening…defeating the purpose of what the method is for to make sure ya understand what the other is saying then to clarify & correct…not attack!this article is right on…thanks!

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      When your alcoholic’s angry it’s more about maintaining the addiction to alcohol than about YOU. Remember that.
      Thanks for your comment.

  3. ladypugsley

    There is another side to this as well.
    Sometimes an alcoholic will tell you they love you and couldn’t live without you.
    Has this ever happened to any of you?

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks ladypugsley as always thanks for your perspective.

    • Ross

      Yes its happened to me and id beleived it. But when i dont let him move in, he gets spiteful and sends letters from his lawyer to strong arm me.its neverending cycle unless i figure how to take care of me and got off of it. Does he love really? id wanted to think so. But honestly.i dont think so.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        With the poor judgment of alcoholism it’s hard to determine if he loves you or not. I hope so.

  4. “respond instead of react”… interesting.
    anger passes through me quickly and I have to give myself a lot of credit, I can remain calm, not get angry back, when someone is spewing anger my way. My trouble is not internalizing all the angry insults and comments. i cant help but hear them over and over again long after the incident. and i believe them. i believe that what that person said in anger is what they really feel so it becomes impossible for me to be looked at by them after the fact. i just feel so horrible about myself when i see them. like I’m the garbage they treated me as. the hurt goes on. i’ve tried to blog about it; that’s how i’ve tried to re balance my emotional reaction to their behavior but…i have to say…its pretty impossible. i know that alcohol and or desperation takes over when chemicals r involved but…my brain was still very sober, so i endured the full hit. it’s like drunk driving incidents. the drunk driver is rarely hurt, and the sober people end up dead. because we take the full blow. that’s traumatizing in itself. to be yelled at, insulted, swung at, grabbed… it stays with u. how could somebody not REACT to treatment of that sort, especially the first time it happens and u weren’t prepared. it takes some conditioning to react instead of respond. At least i know enough to not yell or hit back. I’d never do it. loosing control just like them is asking for trouble.its the aftermath that i keep reacting to; how they made me feel. I want to feel good about everyone, especially those i care deeply for, but it feels like cutting a scared wolf from a trap. doing it is dangerous because they want to protect their pain… i pray a lot. some times i feel that’s all i can do, that and keep all the good things about the person in the front of my mind. i like to smile so its what i actively put my energy into.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Anger turned in can be as harmful as anger released. Resolving the issues surrounding what causes the anger is the key.

  5. absolutely…it’s self destructive.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Very and at times not understood until it takes it’s pound of flesh.

  6. David

    I have the same problem Michelle described. I rarely speak out or act out in anger but I internalize a lot of what he says to me. And of course, he never really remembers anything nasty he says. His friends think he is hilarious so it must all be me. I’m just putting words in his mouth, is what he says. So I just bottle it all up. The mean things he says and the anger I feel. It isn’t just the personal stuff either. He goes on and on in a very offensive way about stuff on the news, people we know, my family. And sometimes we could be having a great conversation and out of the blue he says something so mean or dirty or violent, I feel absolutely sick to my stomach. I feel ashamed of myself and ashamed for not responding. But what is the point? He is sometimes so drunk he can’t string a complete sentence together. I read recently that what people say when they are drunk is what they think about sober but would never say. I truely believe this about my husband so it is pretty hard to take this webisite seriously when I read here that we shouldn’t take anything they say personally. It almost feels like letting him get away with being a jerk. Since he doesn’t even remember most of it, I’m the only one who gets to remember and gets to suffer. That makes me even more angry. I am angry almost every day. It just never goes away.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      When you bottle up anger and frustration it can cause major health issues. One of the best ways to get some of it out in a healthy way is to journal. You don’t have to even write in full sentences, spell correctly or follow any rules. This is simply a place to get it all out. I hope you know his words to you are not a reflection on you… it’s a reflection on someone who’s ill and uses poor judgment.

  7. David

    Thanks for your suggestion. I am a bit worried about my health because there is a history of heart disease and cancer in my family. I have tried journalling in the past but have been dreadfully afraid of people in my family reading it and I would really hate for anyone to know what is in my mind so I stopped. It did just occur to me as I read your advice that I could just type it all out on my computer and delete it so that is what I will do. Thank you.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      The journal is only for you, for your benefit and the goal is to get it out.

  8. How does one “get a handle on anger resulting from such childhood issues”. It seems to me that this would/could be an example of cumulitive anger. I suppose it could also be a heightened sensitivity to a situation.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Here are a few ideas how you get a handle on the anger from these childhood issues.

      1. Live in the present not the past
      2. Take responsibility for what you feel, think, say and do
      3. STOP taking responsibility for what your alcoholic feels, thinks, says or does
      4. Speak the truth
      5. Learn to be yourself

      These will take time to get used to but they help a lot.
      Thanks for your comment.

  9. I think anger can be directed into something positive. It’s all in what you do with it. It can refocus you and make you make moves that are necessary in a life of an addict.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Anger can produce significant emotional energy. If directed in a healthy helping way it can move you toward resolution of issues very difficult to make.

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