A friend asked today how I manage my anger since quitting drinking alcohol. I told her when my anger is bubbling up, the best things I can do for myself is cut out caffeine, go running or other vigorous exercise, and to stand up for myself and police my boundaries. Another thing I can do to express anger (any any emotion) productively is to write in a paper journal and make drawings. This is from my blog post on July 27:
I was determined to be able to keep my behavior in check. During the most stressful work times, a couple emotional outbursts (tears in a meeting, dressing-down a coworker) were enough to mortify me and drive my self esteem even further down. So with my new health insurance, I went to the doctor for help. He sent me to the shrink. The shrink told me I had to stop drinking caffeine to keep my anxiety down. So I quit coffee and soda. Then the shrink told me to get more exercise, so I started running. Lo, my outbursts are nowhere to be found.
Nowadays I’m back on the coffee, big time, and I’m mostly walking for exercise. I don’t see the shrink anymore either. And my anger is just fine, because I’m lucky enough right now to be living very stress free. If I find someone keeps “poking the bear” inside me, I talk things out with that person, if it doesn’t improve, I don’t hang out with that person. But hard times inevitably come and with stress and pain comes anger, anger at ourselves and others, and the tools will be there, ready to be picked up again. So it’s not a permanent state of extreme vigilance, but its handy things you can do to keep your anger managed when it’s threatening to boil over and make you think less of yourself.
And I thank the universe every day that I’m not drinking, oh boy, there’s simply no hope to manage one’s anger after a few drinks, as far as I know.