In our company, I’m the field supervisor. I’m the one who has to go deal with things when the site supervisors either can’t handle them or aren’t available. That happened to me this morning. A call at 8:00 AM changed my day, and practically all the chores (and fun) I had planned for the day are trashed: the price you pay for being a boss.
As I was rushing through the things I had to get done, I was thinking about how easy it was, compared to the way I would have dealt with the same sort of thing when I was active in my addictions. First of all, I might have ignored the phone call entirely, and claimed I just didn’t hear it ring. Then, before the next call, I would have put together an excuse that would not only get me off the hook but that (in my dazed opinion) would have made me look good some way: feeble neighbor to the doctor’s, volunteer at the hospice; or attract sympathy: grandmother died (if I could remember how many grandmother deaths I had left), food poisoning — any addict will know where I’m going here, because we’ve all done it.
Then, of course, I would have had to try to remember the details of the excuse for later, if needed, and also remember that I’d already used that one in anticipation of the next need for a story to tell. Finally, it would have been one more indication to my bosses that I maybe wasn’t cut out for the job — although I wouldn’t have figured out that part, because I was too smart to get caught.
Now, as a boss, I deal with those sorts of things myself. I see the patterns, the clues, the behaviors that set off all sorts of alarm bells. I realize, too, how obvious the trend must have been to the people I thought I was fooling, back in the day. In fact, I know they were obvious, because they ultimately resulted in my superiors forcing me into treatment with the threat of unemployment (thus saving my life — but I didn’t figure that out until later).
It was so hard being a drunk and addict. All the excuses, all the fumbling for answers, all the (useless) attempts to keep others from knowing about my problems were an incredible amount of work for a mind that was constantly impaired in some way. It’s so much easier now. I just tell the truth: I can, or I can’t and here’s why. It’s just part of the job — one of the things I get paid for, and that helps to keep our company in business so that I keep getting paid. Nowadays I mostly do what I’m supposed to — the “next right thing” — and it always seems to work out smoothly in the end. Life’s curve balls are much easier to hit now, and there doesn’t seem to be as many of them as there used to be.