The Missing Peace: Solving the Anger Problem for Alcoholics, Addicts and Those Who Love Them

Anger ventilated often hurries toward forgiveness; and concealed often hardens into revenge.” Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Have you ever loved an alcoholic or addict? Probably most reading this would answer, “Yes!”

Alcoholics and addicts (love, sex, porn, gambling, shopping, eating, etc.) are angry about a lot of different things:

Growing up in an alcoholic’s or addict’s home
Being poor
Being rich
Wrong shape, size, color
Terrible education
Bad, dysfunctional relationships
Hating their jobs

The list could go on and on.

The people who love us have to put up with abuse, bad moods, depression, frustration, lies, manipulation, and lots and lots of broken promises and relapses.

Our loved ones pray for us, berate us, leave us, pay for interventions, give up on us, and come back to us or find another alcoholic or addict and experience the Bill Murray “Groundhog” movie mania that can drive anyone insane.

Now one of the misleading missing pieces of recovery is the rule that you’re not supposed to be angry. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says we don’t have the luxury of our basic human emotion – anger.

Years ago, I attended an AA speaker’s meeting in Georgia. The guest speaker had 36 years of so-called sobriety. She was one of the angriest “old-timers” I’d ever listened to.

After the meeting, about eight of us went to lunch. I was hesitant to say anything at first. Most of my lunch companions knew I worked in the field of recovery, and I have done so for 35 years.

Finally, Stan, who doesn’t talk at the meetings said, “Did anybody think she was very angry?”

Well, the gossip flew around the table like buzzards pecking over a dead possum carcass. By the way, gossiping in my book, The Missing Peace, is a form of anger and rage. I slipped. But everyone at the table agreed she was pretty much full of venom that spewed out on all who heard her – so it wasn’t just me. Never mind the alcoholic cliché, “If you spot it, you got it.” Anger and rage are like a virus that spreads contagion (sorry about the timing of these words).

So, here’s what I did after that meeting. I went directly home, sat down, and wrote this book, The Missing Peace.

It is not anger that drives us to drink, drives away the people who love us, but RAGE!? Rage is what us alcoholics and addicts must avoid for the fear of relapse and self-destruction. Rage is what covers our emotions. Rage covers sadness, loneliness, and sometimes, even love. Anger is a feeling while rage is an action or behavior that numbs our feelings.

Anger is an emotion that is God-given for us to feel, to stop injustice, abuse, and get us out of stuck places. Rage is a stuck place that alcoholics, addicts, and those who love us know too well.

I want to thank Teitelbaum Publishing for publishing The Missing Peace and I hope it will help you or someone you care about or love deal with their anger/rage.

Missing Peace Book Cover 2

Interruption Rage: The Kind of Rage No One Has Talked About

People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing. ~ Will Rogers

See the tiny toddler going to explore the dog in the neighbor’s yard? Now listen to what she might have heard – best case – “Get back here young lady.” Worse case from the very anxious or perhaps exhausted parent, “Don’t you ever leave this yard, or you’ll get a spanking.” I can’t believe spanking still happens, but that’s another blog post.

Toddlers to teens to adults, trying to go forward, trying to get somewhere, testing limits and boundaries all thwarted in time and space by well-intentioned adults. Even the police officer who pulls us over for speeding to our destination is good intentioned most of the time.

I call it “Interruption Rage.” It takes many forms: you’re in a hurry and the person in front of you at the grocery store says, “I forgot something.” Interruption. You’re dancing with your sweetheart and someone cuts in – interruption. You’re finally going on the much-needed vacation and the flight has been cancelled or the ship is held at port for a germy interruption. Or perhaps you’re speaking at a lecture, having a heart-to-heart, come to Jesus talk, and the would-be listener interrupts – you explode – “Stop interrupting me, damn-it!” or you just shut down.

These small and large interruptions are stored in our bodies and fester there sometimes for decades.

We as children or teens could not safely express the momentary anger at those who guard the gates, monitor the hallways, shuts the doors on our momentum going forward literally or figuratively. So, we return to our cribs crying or we fantasize our cars have machine guns mounted on the hood so we can use them to get the guy who cuts us off on the interstate. Thus, the mild-mannered, never-in-trouble accountant heading home at 5:15 on a Friday after staring non-stop at columns of numbers gets cut off one too many times. They floor their Prius, drive like crazy, cutting others off to catch up to the surrogate, over-anxious parent, teacher, partner. The disproportionally pissed-off accountant best case starts cursing and shooting the bird. Worse case gets the offender to pull over and one or both go to jail, and we call this Road Rage – my new term – Interruption Rage!

How about you? Been interrupted recently?

He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage … and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.” ~ Herman Melville