Anger is just like Smoking?

I was re-reading part of the book “Hardcore Zen” by Brad Warner today when I stumbled on the following…

Reacting to anger is an addiction, pure and simple, just like smoking Marlboros. Objectively it takes more resources to keep smoking than to stop. Yet giving it up seems much harder than continuing because you’re addicted.

I swear it hit me like a ton of bricks, being a smoker it hit even harder because I could really understand the addiction side of it. And lately, I’ve been having some issues letting go of anger and or irritation, especially at work.

After reading the caption in the book, I now realize what I was doing and why. For so long my reaction to anger or being irritated is that I built a wall and would let things stew throughout the day (they’ve yet to boil over though, I’ve got that part locked down). This in turn cause me to get even more irritated and I’d carry that shit with me all day.

At he end of the day I can put that shit to bed, but the very next day, in the very same place- the shit hit the fan and my cyclic existence of anger and irritation starts all over. I’m going to try and be a bit more aware of it now, knowing it is just an addiction to the habits I’ve already created. The hard part is kicking the habit.

In more way than one…


  1. Dava, fortunatly it’s not an everyday occurence and I really enjoy my job. I guess the point of the post was how I’ve come to a realization that anger in my life, and the way I react to it, has become a pattern based on habits I’ve built up to deal with anger. And that I need to work through it and change those habitual patterns.

  2. “I built a wall and would let things stew throughout the day (they’ve yet to boil over though, I’ve got that part locked down).”

    I once spent about 7 years with my anger on lockdown. in Buddhist psychology there is a form of the kleshas called “sleeping in hiding.” In Tibetan that’s bag-la nyal-ba. Or bag-chags, ‘hidden formation,’ which I used to interpret, for obvious and dumb reasons, as ‘bagged cats.’ Put a cat in a bag and it will keep struggling until it finally finds a way out. The lockdown doesn’t last forever, although it can last a long time. I don’t think quitting anger is the same as quitting smoking. I’ve tried both. Both are habitual patterns, but then so can a lot of things be, like writing blogs, going to work, combing your hair or shaving your head.

    And I would suggest that if you are suffering from irritation at work, it could be because the job itself is irritating. Quitting is always an option.

  3. I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes just walking in the building sets my blood to boiling.

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