Why conflict is easier to deal with minus the booze

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.


11 thoughts on “Why conflict is easier to deal with minus the booze

  1. I have GOT to get back into running. I remember when I was in my first year of my first round of sobriety I would run when cravings or imbalance crept in. Once my back is healed I am going to start running again. I could feel the invigorating relief of running just by reading this post. thanks soberista!

    • Good for you, do it! I find it hard to get out there sometimes, especially in the winter, but when I do it’s pretty much a cure all! Thanks for your comment, hope you are having a good weekend. Lucy x

  2. Jennifer says:

    Yikes- so sorry you are going through that right now. But you are so right about being at SUCH an advantage dealing with this sober! Thanks for this post and for all that you’re doing to help others. I visit your blog frequently and it always makes me feel better. Hope your situation works out in your favor and you can put it behind you very soon. xx

    • Hi, thanks so much! Really appreciate your comments and I am so pleased that what I write makes you feel better, that’s a lovely compliment :-). Thanks, I’m getting there…much easier without alcohol!! Have a good weekend, Lucy x

  3. “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.”
    So well said! So true, so true, so true. It’s so hard to pinpoint the *monumental* changes/shifts in us that happen after a sustained amount of time sober…until something like what you’re going through confronts you and lets you pull out your newfound arsenal of AWESOME. Much good vibes your way in sorting it all out.

  4. Thanks for this – it is very difficult, probably impossible, to notice the positive, far-reaching changes that occur in our characters once we ditch the demon drink, until something like this happens and you suddenly notice that, wow, I can cope! A great feeling and an undeniable benefit of being sober. Thank you, for reading and commenting – much appreciated. Happy Saturday! Lucy x

  5. ‘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.’

    I simply CANNOT believe what a difference it makes to my life to get a decent night’s sleep! The one thing that I noticed immediately after I stopped drinking was what an amazing thing it is to be rested. That was shot to hell when I had kids, and I still struggle to get enough rest sometimes, but it’s getting better as they get older.

    I am sorry to hear that you have this unpleasant situation in your life right now. But your attitude is great, and you are doing this strong and sober. Chin up!

  6. Love this post – goes to show how far we have come, even if we don’t always see it right away. Your frustrations are there, clearly, but they are tempered by some wonderful self-awareness, and more importantly, the *action* behind it. It’s not a theoretical life…we have to live it. And how you strengthen your resolve in how you react to others when they disturb us. This is where growth occurs, this is where we dig deep, this is where the true Lucy rises and shines.

    Thank you for sharing this – I know you have inspired a lot of people. Myself included.


    • Hi Paul, and thanks for your kind words. I totally agree with you – by handling difficult situations well, you grow as a person, which means that you handle things even better when they next arise. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, I do appreciate it.
      All the best, Lucy x

  7. well done Lucy focussing on the positives in life as tha is half the battle and virtually impossible to achieve when in the grip of alcohol. I am suffering at the moment and waiting fo surgery; before i would have been on downward spiral as i am a workaholic and missing the buzz sooo much but with a clear mind free of alcohol i am managing really well and keeping positive and grateful for what i do have xxx good luck with the “problem xxx

    • Hi and thanks – Great to hear that you are coping with a difficult situation better without alcohol in your life. For me, instead of a downward spiral, acting in a positive way to deal with life’s difficulties just adds to your self-confidence, which leads to being happier within your own skin; a virtuous circle! Then because you are dealing with it in a more productive and positive way, the outcome is usually more positive. Sounds so simple, but for me (and you, by the sounds of it) it is simple -without alcohol my life just feels easier by the day. Thanks for posting your comment and lots of luck in getting through your wait for surgery, and your post-op recovery.
      Lucy xx

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