Do you find yourself becoming irritable and unreasonable. Maybe without knowing it? How does your program of recovery help you out of that?

Eric, Spencer, and several of you share our experience, strength, and hope around these questions and many others.

The suggested Al-Anon/Alateen opening says

Our thinking becomes distorted by trying to force solutions, and we become irritable and unreasonable without knowing it.

How Al-Anon Works, Chapter 2
  • We often start with definitions
    • Irritability is the excitatory ability that living organisms have to respond to changes in their environment. (Wikipedia)
    • What's that mean? Let's try, “It is commonly defined as the tendency to react to stimuli with the experience of negative … states (especially anger) and temper outbursts.”
    • Unreasonable: “not defined by or based on good sense”
  • We spent a little time walking through an article “7 Quick Ways to Stop Being Irritable” from Psychology Today.
    • Figure out the source – what is really going on here? (Step 4: Inventory).
      • Slogans: Keep it Simple, Easy Does It. (Episodes 131 and 235 on slogans).
    • Reduce caffeine and alcohol – For me, I need a certain base level of caffeine, or so it might seem, anyway.
    • It's often the little things – a bunch of little stuff piles up and becomes a big thing. (“The straw that broke the camel's back.”)
    • Get in touch with your compassion – Bernice shared an incident where having a little compassion totally changed her mood. (Episode 169, Feelings. Also, the “self hug” from episode 335, Isolation, to feel compassion for yourself!)
    • Gain perspective – changing my point of view can change my mood, for sure. (Episode 258, Perspective)
    • Rid yourself of nervous energy – “Move a muscle, change a thought” (Episode 292, Sayings)
    • Get quiet or alone time – “5 minutes without words”, meditation (Episode 151, Meditation)
  • We also looked at a blog post “Traits of unreasonable people“, with particular focus on how we ourselves have exhibited these traits. The post suggests that unreasonable may lack these traits

Listeners shared how they become irritable and unreasonable; how they recognize that this is happening; and what tools help move out of that state. Some feel irritability and unreasonableness in their body as a tightness or other sensation. A common tool for recognition is HALT (am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?), which leads to solutions of addressing whichever of those factors is aggrivating us – eat, rest, or talk to a friend, for example.

We also recognized that working a program of recovery tended to reduce our stress levels and how quickly we could become “activated” by a situation into irritability and unreasonableness.

Readings and Links

We read from Courage to Change, May 18, and How Al-Anon Works, Chapter 1 in part 2, Lois's story.

We discussed 7 Quick Ways to Stop being Irritable, from Psychology Today, and Traits of Unreasonable People, a blog post.

Eric referred to many of our previous episodes, which are linked in the text above.

Upcoming topics

A topic proposed by a listener: How can I reconcile and combine recovery and activism?  How can recovery, the serenity prayer, and the traditions of Al Anon guide us during these times?

Eric has suggested the topic of self-blame and self-criticism, with the possible show title of “It's not your fault?” Do you find it much easier to list your faults than your strengths? Are you always ready to take the blame? Do you feel like a fraud?

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

Music from the Show

Fine Young Cannibals – She Drives Me Crazy
Pink – So What
Helen Reddy – Leave Me Alone

3 comments on “Irritable and Unreasonable – 336

  1. Caryn says:

    I needed a dose of recovery today and HP reminded me of your show. I knew I was in the right place as soon as I read the title. I threw a tantrum today after a number of small irritations happened in rapid succession (I fumbled my keys in the door, twice, my glasses steamed up because I was wearing an uncomfortable mask and I thought {my distorted thinking / beliefs} I was supposed to hurry because my mom was “waiting” for me to open the door; then I felt embarrassed at my clumsiness in front of others. So, 30 seconds of annoyance activated a 5 minute tantrum followed by half an hour of the family walking on eggshells around me and finally me making yet another 10th Step admission. This episode helped me: 1) to feel not alone, 2) gave me an aha moment, and 3) offered a number of tools I will use going forward. Gratefully in Recovery, Caryn.

  2. Sharon says:

    Great talk I’m also in chronic pain anonymous and so much applies. The sharing on future topics of negative self talk brought up a thought for me. “You’re not the enemy” recognizing myself a a friend has been a huge part of my work as everyone. I keep coming back, congratulating the miricle for the desire to keep coming back. Sorry feel I’m rambling thanks again Sharon 804 894 4561

  3. Brenda says:

    I really, really, needed this today. Started off the date angry and irritable and immediately logged on to find a podcast on your site. Found this one and it is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you and thank my HP. Please don’t stop these wonderful podcasts. I have learned so much and gained so much peace by listening to them – especially when I cannot attend a meeting.

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