Anger. It’s a massive contributor to relapse. How many times did we justify our drug use because of something that occurred due to an angry outburst. There may have been times we even created arguments with our family or friends just so we could get ourselves worked up, firey and then on a mission to go and score drugs, or indulge in addictive behaviours like gambling, sex addiction or over eating and exercise.
How many times did we become agitated and impatient because we were withdrawing from drugs or desperate to indulge in our addiction. We flew off the handle with the people we loved and cared for.
Anger is a big contributor to relapse because of these reasons and only causes us to become angry with our ownselves which resulted in self-depricating behaviours and further exaccerbating our addictions.
Anger management is a huge part of our recovery and also as we begin to embrace Islam we remember that the Prophet saws had the best of manners and he came to perfect our manners. He never got angry unless it was for the sake of Allah.
A man came to the Prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and asked him for advice. He (Peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Do not become angry.”
The man repeated his request for advice, and each time, the Prophet replied with this one phrase that sums up all good attitudes and behavior: “Do not become angry.” (Bukhari)
“The strong man is not the one who can wrestle, but it is the one who can control himself when he is angry.” (Bukhari) When we are in recovery, it is important that we try to minimse the opportunities for us to become angry. With this hadith in mind, we must learn to walk away from conflict and potential arguments. Umar ibn al Khitab, early Muslim and 2nd Caliph of Islam said;
“I have not regretted my silence once. As for my speech,i have regretted it over and over again”
In recovery from addiction we must learn to improve our character flaws and change the negative behaviours that have become habitual. If we claim to be in recovery or on the path of Allah yet continue with our destructive anger, then we need to check in with ourselves and look at what needs to change.
We need to work out where this anger is stemming from. One of the number one reasons for relapsing is resentments against others. Islam teaches us to overcome our grudges and forgive eachother. The Prophet saws forgave his enemies often and preferred mercy over anger. He had many opportunities to become angry or resentful but he, peace be upon him, always chose forgiveness. He is our role model, and in recovery we must strive to take on this beautiful attribute. We must try to cleanse our hearts of ill feelings and resentments against others. Is it not the case that we have hurt so many through our addiction but want forgiveness from those people? The Prophet, saws, said;
”Do not be angry with each other and do not envy each other and do not turn away from each other, and be slaves of Allah, brothers. It is not permissible for a Muslim to shun his brother for more than three nights.” (Imam Malik’s Muwatta)
Sometimes forgiveness does not come easy. Perhaps, we forgive a person but they keep on giving us a reason to be angry. This is a test from Allah and we need to struggle on and get through this. Shaitaan loves to see relationships broken, especially close family. Shaitan loves to see us fight and hate. We must seek refuge in Allah from Shaitan in order to keep ourselves guarded against anger and resentments.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, instructed us to cool ourselves with water by making ablution when we become angry. If we are able to do this, we must. It will be a purification for that ‘hot head’ and we will repel the shaitan. He, peace be upon him, also instructed us to change our physical position. He, peace be upon him, said;
“If any of you becomes angry and he is standing, let him sit down, so that his anger will go away. If iit does not go away, let him lie down.” (Ahmad)
Not only will we begin to see improvements in our recovery and in our spiritual well-being in general but with the right intention, to serve and please Allah by controlling our anger, we will inshaAllah reap the benefits of this struggle in the next life too.
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:
“Do not become angry, and Paradise is yours.” (Sahih al Jamil)
The Messenger of Allah said:
“Whoever controls his anger at the time when he has the means to act upon it, Allah will call him before all of mankind on the Day of Resurrection, and will let him choose of the Hur al-‘Ayn whoever he wants.” (Abu Dawud)
Allah has told us in His Holy Book, The Qur’an;
“And march forth in the way to forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the righteous; those who spend in prosperity and in adversity, repress anger, and pardon men. Verily, Allah loves the good-doers.” [Al ‘Imran; 134]