While I did know that people with opposing types of personalities often find themselves on different sides of the barricade when conflicts arise even before I joined a rehab program, I had no idea that our points of view would put us at odds to the point of open attacks. Thankfully, the staff of my clinic – and to be honest, all rehab clinics – share a zero tolerance for aggressive behaviors. The crises that occasionally arose were quickly dealt with and the “mutineers” were pacified before the situation escalated into violence.
I Had No Idea I Could Become So Aggressive
Open and direct forms of resolving conflicts was never my forte. In fact, I was substantially more prone towards a passive aggressive form of conflict resolution which, as I would find out later on, is not really a better option.
However, once the early sobriety kicked in and I had no way to numb my frustration aside from drowning it into a jumbo size glass of Jack, I was shocked to learn that I couldn’t really refrain from snapping at someone at the slightest provocation. Every little thing that was bothering me about myself, my current situation, and, of course, other people threatened to send me on a rampage. Well, not literally, but you get the point.
The First Time Around I’d Always Get into Trouble
In my opinion, the first thing they should tell you in rehab is just how much of your latent tendencies for aggressiveness will reveal themselves. At the same time, among the initial parts of the “curriculum”, a lesson plan covering the clashes between individuals with opposing personality types and how to diffuse these conflicts would be more than welcome.
Unfortunately, in my case, that was only going to happen later on, when the anger and resentment towards some of my “inmates” had already developed. It was much harder to learn how to cope with the people I grew to despise – I’m sure the feelings were mutual – than trying to prevent these feelings in the first place.
What Often Set Me Off
For the most part, the group meetings were packed with grandiosity-obsessed guys who always projected their problems with alcohol on society, family, and co-workers. They overvalued themselves to such a degree that listening to them prattling about how brilliant and misunderstood they are made my blood boil. I wasn’t exactly an example of humility, but these guys – there are ALWAYS these guys – were definitely crossing a line.
Dealing with the Anger
When we eventually got to the part about dealing with frustration and anger resulting from a conflict between different character and personality types, it was hard to apply the theory in practice. You see, although you try to view every interaction as a means to learn something new and although you learn when it’s better to step back and take a deep breath, the frustration is too deeply seated.
But, and this is important, in spite of the fact that my first rehab program was not exactly a tremendous success – mostly because I didn’t really embrace the idea of sobriety – the second time around I actually dedicated myself to live and think by the healthy guidelines. And that, my friends, is really all it took!