Anger, Alcoholism, and Addiction:
Treating Individuals, Couples, and Families

Ronald T. Potter-Efron


"OK, I'm not using (or drinking) anymore, but what do I do with my anger?" If a client finds no answers to this question, relapse is likely, fear will continue to poison the family atmosphere, and therapeutic gains will be jeopardized. Now, with this book in hand, counselors and therapists can help the recovering alcoholic or addict develop skills to manage anger and avoid outbursts of aggression or violence. Intended primarily for counselors working with alcoholics, addicts, and their families in chemical dependency treatment settings, clinics, or private practice, as well as for those treating family violence, this book elucidates the complex relationships among anger, aggression, and chemical abuse. Early chapters present models of normal anger, anger avoidance, and chronic anger. The authors describe how both anger avoidance and chronic anger are related to chemical use patterns, the effects upon family members, and how change can be initiated. A brief device for assessing chronic anger and its functions is included. General principles for treating anger problems, as well as specific applications of these principles in a chemical dependency treatment, are presented. Special attention is given to the challenges of anger management with the chronically angry. In addition, selected aspects of anger and aggression, including explosiveness, anger-inducing thought patterns, and long-term resentments, are covered. Anger and aggression reverberate within the family and immediate environment. Strategies are included here for helping affected family members live with an angry (and perhaps addicted) person, for working with angry couples, and for treatment of adult children from homes dominated by anger and addiction. The authors also address the need to treat self-directed and self-destructive anger. Finally, they look at professional anger issues, since many counselors have problems with excessive anger or anger avoidance, in both their professional and their person


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