Coping in a Crisis


Last week at work I couldn’t find my phone. Not my personal phone, but the mobile I am given by my employer to use for work. Because of the potential security and data protection consequences if a phone is lost, it is treated as a disciplinary matter. It’s not something you would lose your job over but it is taken very seriously. Basically losing a phone is not good.

When I was drinking this would have been a huge disaster. I would have been rifling through my cabinets and files in a haphazard attempt to locate the missing item. There would have been swearing and self recriminations. There would certainly have been tears and panic and an absolute certainty in my mind I was going to lose my job.

This time it was different. I was not exactly calm but I was able to report to my boss that the phone was potentially lost. I was able to go through my things in a logical and measured way. I didn’t cry or swear. When I couldn’t locate the phone I was able to think through to the last time I had seen or used the phone. Before I got sober my memory was terrible, my brain simply didn’t function at anything above about 60% and that was on a good day. This time I was able to recall that the last time I had the phone I was wearing a jacket which I don’t wear very often – only generally for interviews or formal meetings. The jacket has a small pocket into which a mobile phone fits perfectly….

I drove home, checked the jacket and found the phone.

For me, this new sense of calm and control in the face of a crisis is one of the main benefits of sobriety. I am not a chilled person – I never will be. But now less things seem to be a crisis and those which are, I can handle better. It was exhausting lurching from one crisis to the next. Now I don’t have to do that anymore life is more stable and I feel more in control. I am kinder to myself, sometimes bad things are not my fault, its OK to say “no” if I can’t handle something, I don’t need to feel inadequate because I haven’t completed a task immediately.

Not drinking suits me just fine.

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