Lucius Annaeus Seneca wrote the book on anger as one of the early stoic philosophers in the first century. Quite literally, he wrote On Anger, a mere fifty pages or so examining the subject of anger and men’s relationship to it. For Aeon, contributor Massimo Pigliucci offered his guidance on a stoic way to approach anger in the modern age.
Seneca wrote that anger is a temporary madness, as Pigliucci puts it. Look to any crime show on television to see this storyline proven true. “I plead insanity!” a crazed criminal will yell as the courts realize his actions were done on no other behalf than his uncontrollable anger. Seneca felt that even in the most righteous of situations, that golden area where some anger and actions taken due to anger are acceptable, anger should never be acted upon. Taking from Seneca’s writing, Pigliucci quotes that “other vices affect our judgment”, yet it is anger which “affects our sanity: others come in mild attacks and grow unnoticed, but men’s minds plunge abruptly into anger…Its intensity is in no way regulated by its origin: for it rises to the greatest heights from the most trivia beginnings.”
Men are prone to anger. Testosterone is an aggressive hormone and can the abrupt insanity which Seneca refers to. Men use their anger as part of their prowess and their power, as a way that they mark their dominance and demonstrate their worth. Yet at the same time, there is a difference between the man who gets riled up for the sake of a miscommunication and encourages a fight versus the man who maintains his sanity while not engaging in the ruckus. Men in recovery learn how to regulate and control their emotional states. Learning to work through their anger is more helpful than learning to work on their anger because men are angry. Humans are angry. People get angry. Anger is part of our natural fight or flight response system, making it part of who we are. Our anger does not have to define us or play a part in dictating our recovery. Men who come to treatment find a way to positively redistribute the energy caused by their anger through strength training, endurance, fitness, wilderness excursions, therapeutic journaling, therapy, meditation, and more. Through recovery men make peace with their humanity as well as their potential. Angry, “insane” men have the capacity to become sane, sober men.
Thankfully, there is a way to heal. If you have found yourself trapped by the cycle of addiction, there is hope. Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, shows men how to find freedom from addiction. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men reclaim their lives mind, body, and spirit. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474