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Book Summary

Recovery from Anger Addiction

I end the book with my own happy ending and how I am now recovering from anger, like I am still recovering from alcoholism, codependence, and love addiction. Because I am a “12 Stepper,” I add the flavor of a 12 Step recovery meeting and express my admiration of them by including the 12 Steps of A. A. in a closing chapter. The last chapter is a quote of the inspirational section of A. A.’s Big Book, popularly called “The Promises.” The similarities of these to my recovery story make the addiction parallels complete. 1 John Bradshaw, Healing The Shame That Binds You.  Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, 1988, p. 15. 2 Bradshaw, John, The Family, A Revolutionary Way of Self-Discovery. Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida. 3 Melody, Pia, Facing Codependence, What it Is, Where It Comes From, How It Sabotages Our Lives. Perennial Library, Harper & Row, Publishers, San Francisco, 1989. 4 John Bradshaw, Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child. Bantam Books, New York, 1992. 5 Charles L. Whitfield, Healing the Child Within, Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families. Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida.


To satisfy myself about my own failure in anger management classes, I searched out and summarized popular articles about how well anger management works for others, but only found articles that questioned its efficacy.  Then I tried to find professional articles on the subject, but was unsuccessful in finding many, so I hired a graduate psychology student with access to professional journals to search out papers on the “efficacy of anger management.” She skimmed or read abstracts from nearly 100 articles from professional journals, and sent me brief synopses of 25 of those. At my urging she wrote her own paper about 10 of those with general and specific comments about their efficacy. Each of these articles used meta analysis to compare numerous treatments and plans to each other, and those comparisons are reviewed. Her 7 page paper is included with my comments as an appendix with her as author as an attempt to make sense of a complex field for someone hoping to find an anger management solution. I leave it to the reader to compare recovery from anger as an addiction to managing anger as a behavior. In my story I am critical of cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment for childhood issues, as differentiated from adult issues. What worked for me was therapeutic work (grieving) on the deeply held harmful emotions planted with childhood abuse, and in mid-book I reference other authors at length, principally Alice Miller, who favors deep emotional therapy, John Bradshaw with his inner child work in Homecoming, Charles Whitfield and others. All of these authors advocate such work for childhood issues carried into adulthood. In short I feel through my experience that cognitive behavior methods are flawed, not for adult issues, but for childhood-carried-to-adulthood issues. But I do not reject cognitive methods for adult problems, and I follow this opinion up with an appendix called “Mind” with a short philosophical discussion of how powerful I believe the mind is throughout life in effecting change in personal or worldly matters (after the mind grows to be rational in early childhood which happens after abuse has scarred the emotions). This appendix ends with 80 quotes that I have collected over the years demonstrating the perennial wisdom of positive, even “knowing,” thinking. I felt it appropriate to end this addiction recovery book with the Serenity Prayer, so as an appendix I attached the original long version as well as the common shortened version. They are the last lines of the book. The history and author are interesting, and it makes a good ending to a recovery book. Miscellaneous—Scholarly and Authoritative; Footnotes I have endeavored to make this a scholarly work and authoritative. I am a physicist with only two college courses in psychology. Although I have published about 15 papers in prestigious scientific and engineering journals, I have experience in therapy only by extensive study of recovery books and years in therapy with many therapists and formal programs. Therefore, I have supported all of my theories and speculations, based on my personal experiences with research into numerous sources. There are over 80 footnotes to document all aspects of my thoughts about anger as an addiction with references to authoritative books about addictions, recovery, shame, trauma, losses, pain, grieving, mythology, crying, spirituality, and even history. Book Purpose The overriding purpose of this book is to give back to the recovery community and partially repay a debt which I feel keenly, the return of my life, sober and functional, and now finally free of toxic anger.  If only one or a few people now suffering, either as an angry person or the victim of an angry person, is comforted and helped toward recovery, the book will be a success for me. That was the sole purpose until I got deep into the writing.  Then I realized that this was the “working my steps” for my anger addiction.

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