The Danger of Justified Anger

By Jackie Monahan 06/29/20

I was asked, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? I had to let go of the anger I had towards my father.

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Angry woman with folded arms
Anger and loathing towards my father was the driving force for most of my life. ID 179349431 © Antoniodiaz | Dreamstime.com

I will never forget the day I learned how to let go of justified anger. I had just gotten sober and attended an AA meeting, where they were reading out of 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. I was listening but not fully until I heard these words from Step 6, “Self Righteous anger can be very enjoyable.” In a perverse way we allow people to annoy us because it brings a comfortable feeling of superiority. We proclaim our own righteousness by criticizing them instead of taking the time to help them understand why and how they’ve annoyed us. I sat up straight and dove into the reading eager to learn more about it.

My first addiction was resentment. I hated my father, who was a narcissistic, alcoholic republican. All of my memories were clouded with intense loathing for him and making him wrong. It was my driving force for most of my life. The reason I turned to alcohol. I was putting him in the wrong, but I was killing myself with my self righteousness. I couldn't live another moment with the anger inside me.

I had tried everything I could think of to let go of the anger. I went to therapy, read every single self help book on forgiveness, wrote him letters, some I sent, others I burned. I had (on the advice of a guru) written his name on a balloon and let it go. The only thing that that accomplished was hating the guru. I had been to shamans and psychics. I felt alone. Nobody I knew had the level of resentment I had. I was dying. My justified anger was killing me.

I went to see Abraham Hicks. He said to “lay new pipes” to not dig out the clogged pipe but to lay a new one so you can go with the flow. I was willing to try it. It sounded great in theory but there was a darkness in me I just couldn’t let go of. Then I discovered the Law of Attraction. It states that when you are indulging in self righteous anger you are blocking the path of Deliberate Creation. Deliberate Creation is a principle that enhances the manifestation process by helping you to eliminate the resistance whilst boosting your Law of Attraction powers to attract good things into your life. I immediately connected with that. I wanted to learn how to go from one to the other. I would do it in a heartbeat. No questions asked. I read all that I could about Deliberate Creation but It didn’t give me the steps to change. It just told me to change and I was left disappointed and frustrated once again.

I went to a hypnotist who had been successful in getting me to quit smoking in one session. I did four sessions on letting go of self righteousness, but nothing changed. I was just succeeding in getting angrier.

So on that day when I read about justified anger and self righteousness in the 12 and 12 and that it causes excessive misery in our lives, tears flowed down my face. Finally, I had a direction. I had a recipe. A book that was written before I was born, before my mother was born had all the answers.

The first thing I had to do was admit to myself that I preferred to hang on to self righteousness. I had to admit that it was an addiction in itself. I had an ineffectual behavior and that I was getting a “hit” out of being right and making someone else wrong. That I was continually choosing to be a willing victim of my very own justified anger.

I was asked, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? I had to let go of the anger I had towards my father. Not for his benefit. For my peace of mind. Was I pardoning anything? No way in hell never. But I did what the book told me to do. I became “entirely willing to aim toward perfection.” I had my sponsor, I had the recipe, and I had the willingness. We seek progress not perfection in AA. I do not need to be perfect to experience unconditional love. No one does. It is free for all of us at any time. But striving for perfection keeps me doing the right thing. Not for anyone else but me. Doing the right thing gives me peace of mind. The right thing is never justified anger, it is deliberate, intentional creation from a place of love.

I have a sponsor that helps me “unclog the pipe.” I asked my sponsor how I can be of service at this difficult time. She said, “Don’t silently scorn. Don’t make anyone wrong. Stay right sized. Don’t think I am better or worse than anyone. Take action from a place of love and change. What I am, is what I will see. To wholeheartedly be the change I seek to see.”

Since I let go of justified anger and self righteous behavior I have now been able to practice Deliberate Creation. I can accomplish so much more and I produce quality work. I open myself up to creative energy and give myself over fully to the process.

Getting in touch with my higher power and using that to take action instead of self righteous anger has completely changed my life for the better. Living from my heart is how I live today. It prevents me from a slip up of drinking, but more importantly, a slip up of emotional drunkenness.

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Jackie Monahan has been called "The Queen of deadpan" by Roger Ebert, "A F%cking Genius" by Roseanne Bar, "Unstoppable" by Curve Magazine and "the funniest b$tch on the Block" by Amy Schumer. Monahan toured with Amy for 5 years. Jackie has since been headlining clubs and making guest appearances on TV and is beloved in the indie film scene. She performs at: The Comedy Store, Improv and alternative rooms. You may have seen seen her on Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show, Last Comic Standing, or Comedy Jam on Showtime. In addition, Jackie starred in and co-wrote Madeleine Olnek’s beloved Sundance feature film "The Foxy Merkins" which was also nominated for an Independent Spirit award for best Director. Jackie was Zylar in Olnek’s Sundance hit "Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same" which received rave reviews from both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. She has been professionally trained at UCB and Groundlings but she was born with a spot on sense of timing and a unique look at life that cannot be duplicated. Jackie won Time Out New York Joke of the Year, and was voted comic to watch by Esquire magazine who said “Jackie has the looks of your friend's hot older sister with the jokes of a deranged serial killer. She will kill you and you will be smiling.”