I’m dealing with a horrible situation right now; I won’t go into details but suffice to say that someone from my past has reared his arrogant and utterly unreasonable head once more in my life, and has forced me to deal with the fallout from his recent behaviour.
There’s no doubt that this person’s actions amount to a sizeable dollop of stress being dumped into my world, but I am attempting to employ positive tactics to deal with them for the first time ever since I initially had to cope with the strife caused by this individual several years ago.
Back then, I was a heavy drinker. He antagonised me; I drank to obliterate all thoughts relating to him. As I have since discovered, being sober brings with it a great deal of clarity and sense, and the last thing I would conceive of doing now by way of a coping strategy, is drink. No; this time I have a greater calibre of ammo up my sleeve, and the most important elements of my artillery are self-esteem and self-awareness (having undertaken a law degree a couple of years ago also helps as I am now in a position to communicate with his solicitor without the need to fork out hundreds of pounds in legal bills to quieten him down).
The changes in me as a non-drinker whilst dealing with this situation are as follows;
a) Patience – I no longer go rushing in, guns blazing and looking for a fight. This time, I’m sitting quietly behind enemy lines, mulling over my next move, and knowing that I am in the right.
b) Empathy – despite his most abhorrent behaviour, I refuse to lower myself to his level. I am maintaining a position of understanding and reasonableness, seeking to avoid confrontation at all costs.
c) Physical exercise – when I sense the steady build-up of stress and anger, I’m going running. I’ll take out all that negativity in pounding the pavements whilst doing something good for me at the same time.
d) Sleep – by ensuring I get a decent night’s sleep, I’m able to think clearly and rationally and am therefore able to react to his behaviour in a calm and measured way.
It’s not rocket science, but in responding in this way, I win. I know that I am always doing the right thing for me and for my family, I am never falling into old habits that got me nowhere and usually made things escalate terribly, and in the future I can look back on all of this, fully confident that I could not have handled it any better. That comes from strength of mind and self-esteem and knowing who I am – three things that were perpetually out of reach when I was drinking on a nightly basis.