After years of working to free himself from alcoholism, codependency and toxic shame, retired aerospace researcher Verryl V. Fosnight had a breakthrough: His lifelong anger problem wasn’t a bad behavior, but another, even more deeply-rooted addiction. In Recovery from Anger Addiction, Fosnight skillfully and candidly chronicles his quest for wholeness from the emotional damage that began with his mother’s severe beatings, his father’s unwillingness to stop her, and his parents’ demand for perfection from their only son.
At 73, Fosnight is not a young man, which gives even more credence to his story of soul-searching through numerous counseling sessions, workshops and books. Well-researched and footnoted, professionally indexed, and written in a tone that sometimes borders on the scientific, Recovery from Anger Addiction is an easy-to-read book that appeals to both emotion-based and intellectual readers.
The author offers a detailed account of his angry episodes, from cursing a woman who broke in line at the movie theater when he was in high school to being jailed for assaulting his third wife at their posh home, without being overly graphic or sentimental. Anger, he states, made him feel “good, powerful and in control. … Anger was not my problem, I believed; it was my solution.” He also shares advice from well-known psychologists and other experts, sometimes challenging their approaches, sometimes embracing them.
The near-mathematical “equations” and diagrams depicting the causes of trauma, the link between abuse and anger, and other emotional triggers are a bit technical, perhaps even unnecessary. And Fosnight tends to overanalyze the effectiveness of crying, anger management programs, and other topics in a way that can sound mechanical and cold.
Nevertheless, this is an extremely interesting book that is as well-written and informative as many penned by professional counselors and celebrity psychologists. For readers battling “rageaholism” and their loved ones, Fosnight’s self-help memoir is a page turner that validates just how difficult that struggle can be.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.