Friday, December 3, 2004

Anger Management

Anger is a difficult thing for a recovering addict.  The Big Book calls it "the dubious luxury of normal men."  We are encouraged, taught, maniupulated, cajoled and programmed to avoid anger.  However, anger, like breathing, is involuntary and inevitable.  That's because our demands from life are not always met.  We don't keep our minds on the way things are--but concentrate on the way things should be.  Thus our pique when the world forces us to acknowledge that life must be lived on its terms, not the terms we dictate.  That said, it is much more difficult to control anger than it is to control the expression of anger.  Anger will be felt, it's part psyche, part physiological, part neurological.  It is as powerful as love or jealousy.  We don't have an option not to feel angry if we are to encounter the world.  We do have an option of declining to express that anger outwardly towards others. 

Restraint of tongue and pen is one mantra suggested by the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Practicing tolerance and acceptance is another. 

Why am I concentrating on this?  Because I have had two extremely vivid episodes of anger in the past few days.  One I reacted to, the other I tried to forget.  My reactionary response took the form a flame e-mail, which I subsequently tried to ameliorate by writing the recipient back and telling him that it was an expression of affection and to please not be offended.  Surprisingly enough, it worked, although maybe I didn't fool him and he simply declined to get into a pissing match. 

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