Recovery is a challenging and often frustrating journey. It requires a willingness to change, a commitment to hard work, and the ability to navigate difficult emotions. One of the most important aspects of the change process in addiction recovery is getting pissed off. Yes, you read that right – getting angry can actually be a good thing.
When you get pissed off, it means you are starting to confront the reality of the situation. You are angry at the disease that has robbed you of your health and happiness. You are angry at the wasted time and opportunities that could have been better spent. You get angry at the people who enabled you, who stood by while you spiraled out of control. This anger is a natural, normal, and necessary part of the change process.
Many people think that anger is a negative emotion that should be avoided. However, in recovery, anger can be a catalyst for change. It can be the motivation you need to push through the hard work and pain of recovery. Suppressing anger only leads to more problems in the long run. By allowing yourself to get pissed off, you are acknowledging the reality of the situation and taking the first step towards change.
The change process in recovery is often compared to the stages of grief identified by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. These stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In the denial stage, the individual refuses to acknowledge the severity of the problem. In the anger stage, they may become angry at themselves, others, or the situation. Bargaining involves trying to make deals with themselves or others to avoid the reality of the situation. Depression may follow as they realize the extent of the problem, and acceptance involves acknowledging the need for change and taking action.
Getting pissed off is a good sign that the individual is moving away from denial and towards the anger stage. This anger is a healthy response to the situation, and it can provide the motivation needed to make real change. In the treatment field, we don’t need to hold someone’s hand and reassure them that everything will be fine. Sometimes, things don’t work out well on their own. Real growth, hard work, and pain are required to make meaningful progress.