Excessive ANGER is often a symptom of addiction.
by Ned Wicker
Anger is VERY destructive for all
There is a debate in the Wicker house about the nature of sin, especially the self-destructive kind of sin that is associated with any form of substance abuse and dependence.
In this context I am referring to sin as anything that is not in the best interest of the person, that kind of self-destructive behavior that is put into motion when the addiction takes control of our lives and reason is sent to the rear.
Pride is the root of sin
According to Biblical teaching, the root of sin is pride, our inclination to rely on our own decisions, our focus on our own wants and desires, apart from the provision of God. Pride says “I know better.” But what is driving the pride?
I say it is human nature to be prideful and because we are all more or less wired this way, we are all guilty of pride. My wife Debbie introduced another way of looking at this issue, saying that in some cases anger is triggering the action.
Now we have a foundational disagreement here over what comes first. But for the sake of discussing a contributing factor to drug addiction or alcoholism, let’s go with the anger argument and explore some ideas.
Anger is a very common emotion in men
Anger. Among men, it’s probably the most prevalent emotion. Men get angry and are more apt to handle a disagreement with their fists than they are with diplomacy. It’s a part of our chemical makeup, that strain of testosterone that give men an aggressiveness not found as often in women.
Women have their issues as well. There’s a woman I know who is eaten up with it. A confessed alcoholic, she is struggling between two worlds, one that abstains and one that uses alcohol as an escape. She has recently gone through a divorce and she has all of the emotion of a wounded mother bear.
She is capable of losing it at any moment, over any kind of trigger. There is no forgiveness in her heart for her ex-husband, although she clings to “Christian” values and is convinced that she has “moved on.” It’s a delusion.
Anger begets more anger!
Fury begets more fury and any opportunity to vent fury is greeted with enthusiasm and gusto. The more she vents, the angrier she gets. But in this emotion, which is like a heavy fog, she does not see that her emotions is her worst enemy.
Even if her ex-husband scores failing grades in every category, she doesn’t see that her situation in life, her misery, is self-inflicted. Any statement to that effect is greeted with extreme and immediate rebuttal and venomous rage.
We often are in denial about anger
Her denial of her emotion, even when it is the most venomous, is fascinating, because it illustrates our ability to subdivide our consciousness and block out any responsibility for the way we feel.
Somebody did this to me and I am a victim. I have a right to be angry. It also offers an excuse to drink. She is vindicated.
Anger is often passed to someone else we love
Anger is contagious. Her children feel the effects of the divorce, and because they live with their mother, they live with the hatred and the consequences of that hatred.
One child loves the father and wants to see him. The other child has sided with mom and will have nothing to do with the father.
The child who has sided with mom is rewarded for that behavior, while the other child receives the mother’s rage for seeing the father. Reports of behavior problems in school for the child who is close to dad ignite rage in mom.
She blames the father for spoiling her child and setting a bad example. The child prays that God will restore the marriage.
No room for reconciliation
Rage does not allow for reconciliation. She doesn’t want a truce with her ex. She was convinced that the courts would grant her full custody of both children and that both would not want to see him.
That wasn’t the case. She was certain that God would find in her favor and give nothing to the father because he was an alcoholic and a drug addict. It didn’t happen.
When her ex does anything she gets on the phone screams at him with a barrage of expletive-laden accusations. She was out of control, but didn’t see it. Her life is out of control, as she can’t control her emotions.
Can't make progress
Rage prevents progress. She is in denial. She is a victim. It’s somebody else’s fault. There is no sense of personal responsibility, and any Biblical principles of forgiveness and a little grace have been abandoned. She is not capable as long as she holds on to her rage.
The children hold on to hope for the parents to stop fighting, don’t understand why mom is so angry all the time, especially since the time spent with dad is so much fun. The child who does not see dad grows in anger and resentment. The rage is in control of everybody’s lives.
Anger disconnects from God
Anger kills the opportunity to grow spiritually and heal emotionally. She can’t move on because she is owned by her rage. The ex can’t move on because he is the object of the rage and it pours out over to the children. The children are caught in the middle, battered and beaten emotionally, with little or no say in what happens to them.
Even an amicable divorce is devastating, but this situation is so much worse.
There is no room for any kindness.
There is no recovery.