Don’t Get Mad, Get Evened

This Is You On Anger

i’ve been working on Step 6.

[We] were entirely ready to have God remove all [our] defects of character.

“Willingness” is the operative word here. Nobody is perfect, but in my heart i have to be willing to let my Higher Power take my defects of character.

Fear is a big defect of mineGuilt is another at the top of the list. Then there’s Anger.

When my children were toddlers, i refused to take sides in their arguments. i told them they had to work out their disputes between themselves and i always told them “It takes two to fight.”

If one person doesn’t want to argue, an argument cannot take place. If i find that i’m in a heated discussion, i am doing something to perpetuate the spat. A tool my Sponsor told me about is the question, “What is my role in this?”

The trick is to consciously avoid the situation—to catch myself out when my ire begins to rise and shut it down. The second i notice my tone is cutting, there are tools i use to dull the edge in my voice and remove the sting my words bring on the tip of my sharp tongue.

  • Agree with the other person’s perception (“I see why you would think that.”)
  • Ask for precise details (“Can you be more specific about that?”)
  • Stall (“Let’s talk about this later.” “I’ll get back to you on that.”)
  • Don’t say anything
  • Leave

i have to remember:

Not one single disagreement has been resolved because a person talked more…, l o n g e r, or LOUDER than the other.

About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home.

Posted on January 17, 2012, in AA Step Work, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery, Toolbox and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Damn! This is SUCH a wonderful post!!!! Mostly because i found myself in the middle of a really tense family gathering this weekend … and i could sense that someone (probably me) was going to BLOW!

    So VERY WISE words. Keep me posted on your success rate;-) I will practice these principles when i can. FIRST .. i must bog my poop!

    Thanks though for sharing Mr. Al!

  2. Yesterday I was reminded that allowing anger to settle in us and feeding the thought of revenge means we’re trying to control something that yet again is beyond our control. The anger will devour us and affect families, our friends and ourselves.

    Letting go of the anger, or any similar feeling that might follow after that a someone has wronged us… just letting go of it for your higher power to deal with, you can then rest assure that justice will prevail 🙂

    And funny that the reminder I got yesterday continues in your blog post that I read today. Thank you for sharing about step 6!

    In my profession I have been taught in the art of handling angry people. And a very simple rule, as you wrote, is to acknowledge what the other person is saying. One will quickly understand when acknowledgement is needed, because the angry person will be stuck in a loop, repeating whatever-it-might-be because they don’t think the other part hears or understands. Acknowledgement ends that loop, the angry person hopefully calms down and reason can take place *phew*

    And that picture in your post is absolutely mad! hahaa

    Take care, Al K!

    • “In my profession I have been taught in the art of handling angry people. And a very simple rule, as you wrote, is to acknowledge what the other person is saying. One will quickly understand when acknowledgement is needed, because the angry person will be stuck in a loop, repeating whatever-it-might-be because they don’t think the other part hears or understands. Acknowledgement ends that loop, the angry person hopefully calms down and reason can take place *phew*”

      I really like this a lot. I relate to it a lot — that “stuck in a loop” part especially. I know for me, probably the number one reason I can get angry is because I don’t feel heard, I feel ignored, I feel dismissed, I feel invisible, and I feel brushed off. When I feel angry, a simple, “So what you’re saying is XYZ, blah blah blah…” can go miles and miles towards calming me down. It’s true that when I feel angry it is accelerated when a person fuels the fire by saying through words, body language or tone, “You’re wrong” and then goes on to defend his or her actions or beliefs as if life is a competition where someone has to “win.”

      I think many people get angry not only because they want to control something that is out of their control, just like Riversurfer says. However, I know for me anger is never (or rarely) lodged in a vengeful, hateful kind of place, but a frustrated one instead. It’s often like the angry cry of an infant screaming, “I’m fed up already! Please HEAR me and help me out!” It’s in the place of “beyond words” and pure emotion, pure frustration with the status quo. There are all kinds of flavors of anger and all kinds of ways to deal with it when someone else is angry, IMO. It’s true that sometimes the best course of action is to leave. I really, though, think it depends on the angry person in question. With someone like me, who has anger (aka a “feeling”) that just wants to be HEARD, to have someone walk away and simply leave is the worst thing possible. It only affirms for me the very worst: no one wants to listen, and no one cares. When I feel angry, sometimes the most wonderful thing a person can do is come to me and say to me, “I see you are really upset here” and give me a hug and really listen to what the trouble is. Like Riversurfer writes: “Acknowledgement ends that loop.” So, so true in my own case! Maybe that’s because I am ruled by estrogen — love what Jen wrote about wondering how you guys deal with the testosterone!! I wonder if our gender “flavors” the kind of anger we have, and if they are really different types of anger because of the way we are wired up, hormonally and otherwise.

      Anyway, I don’t think there is one simple solution to dealing with another’s anger: a lot depends on “reading” that person and really knowing him or her, and how he or she will *best* respond. Your suggestions, Al, are *all* valid ones, depending on the individuals in the situation. It’s a bit like knowing one’s kids and how different means of discipline work differently for each one. As far as dealing with our own anger, I think that the Serenity Prayer works so very well: asking for and receiving peace to deal with the unchangeable, having the courage to change what can be changed, and knowing which is which. That’s the Golden Ticket.

      Thanks, Riversurfer, for your comment. It really helped me understand myself and others when it comes to anger! I appreciate it a lot!

      • WOW… you truly are an amazing writer! To interweave some of my words with your perfectly clear viewpoint made an enormous impact on me. I mean, I identified myself in so much of what you wrote about your own thoughts on anger – that I could basically copy your entire text and call it my own.

        I am not at all well connected with my emotions. Well perhaps in theory, I am good in handling the qualities of analytics and ratiocination. But practically, I cannot handle emotions let alone descibe them, particularily scary ones such as anger. I suppose the day I can, I have at last gotten in touch with my emotional life (to a certain degree).

        I must re-read what you wrote, to remember and to recognize – thank you so very much for sharing!

        By the way, do you have a blog of your own?

        Take care mrs D!

      • Thanks, Riversurfer. 🙂 I’m glad that what I wrote could interweave with your ideas so well, and take the understandings between us both up another level! It’s what I love about blogging and commenting, something I have been involved with for about 7 years now. So, yes, I do blog, but I don’t link it in here since I write as my “real self” on my blog. To preserve Al’s anonymity, I have been using Mrs (fka “Miss”) Demeanor as a kind of pseudonym/alter-ego to be able to comment on Al’s posts.

        I have been thinking about writing as Mrs Demeanor about some of these recovery issues, too, however. In my other virtual-world-where-I-use-my-real-name (lol), I can’t really write about recovery issues there, much for the same reasons.

        If I ever do start writing as Mrs Demeanor, I’ll let you know. 🙂

      • Thank you, I appreciate that mrs D!

        I’m glad to hear that you blog, because I believe that you have so much to share. And for now, I will continue reading your insightful comments that are so very appreciated.

      • Well said and very astute, my Lady Love! These kind of situational responses are definitely based on the people involved and the individual circumstances! There are no absolutes is the only absolute!

        Keep coming back,

        Al K Hall

  3. Are you SURE?!

    Wait. I am about to argue. Damn. Get thee to a meeting says Bus #59!

    Al, this is a fantastic reminder! I need this. I was born to fight, I love to win and Man! That is a waste of time and hinders any chance at serenity.

    I also have a teen boy. How you men handle all that testosterone is beyond me….

    Back to the basics for me. Thank you!


    • Lol at the testosterone! i deal with mine by running the Bar None, lol. And you’re so right about anger wasting time and inhibiting serenity!

      Keep coming back, Jen!

      Al K Hall

  4. Thanks, I saved this so I an refer back to it from time to time as a reminder.

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