By askme4myhelp 01/16/18

As an alcoholic, one of the toughest things to do is to cope with life's everyday occurrences. Being in the automobile industry, more specifically a sales consultant, my days are occupied with dealing with clients needs.  Be it in the sale of the vehicle, the delivery, the after service; a salesman's job is never done.

In sales, one of the first pressures placed on the consultant is the sale because without a sale, you income is negligible .  A commission based business since the beginning of time, it's an industry with limitless potential for income, though you must be diligent in your management of time and especially your emotions.  This roller coaster industry can play havoc on your needs and wants, though more importantly, it will test your coping skills on a daily basis in terms of your relationship with your clients, loved ones and inner circle.

I can still remember the first car I purchased on my own, a 1999 Ford Escort Wagon.  With my daughter in the womb and a rusty old Pontiac hatch in the driveway, it was time to make that first big purchase in my family-oriented life.  My lasting impression of  that experience was the thin blue haze that permeated throughout the showroom from the cigarettes lit at every sales desk, the slick haired consultants with their quick wit and even quicker sales pitch and the manager's high-pressure close.  In today's vernacular, we're talking about the Jordon Belfort sales approach from 'The Wolf of Wall Street.'

Today, I am very fortunate not to work in the rat race of the 70, 80 or 90's automobile industry.  The tools of those decades are still practiced today, though with very little success. Today, with the internet, full disclosure, the consumer protection agencies; client or guests walk into showrooms fully loaded, well informed; sometimes even better equipped than the salesforce.  The automotive industry has been reduced to internet associates, who expedite their responses; with the sole intention of having the client come into the store. In an industry where brand loyalty needs to be at a premium, sales manager's are spending large sums just to get the loyal service guests to consider changing their wheels in order to meet the ever increasing sales targets from the manufacturer.

The pressures for success in the 21st century bring a new set of skills needed to cope.  Paying the mortgage, monthly bills, groceries and life's pleasures were not enough to fill the hectic day, now, interpersonal skills are at the forefront of the industry's ever consuming day. The daily catfight for a reduced client base has become the norm for the new guy on the block.

A recovering alcoholic, coping with the daily grind has been a work in progress.  In a prior life, my tool of choice was a bottle of red or perhaps even two.  Building the tolerance to consume was a full time business, similar to growing my client base in the automobile industry.  As I perfected my selling skills, so to did I master the art of the drink.  Those skills outperformed my closing ratio because I would always close the deal on a good bottle; never any complaints or cancellations, always success, though that wasn't coping or surviving.  It was masking, camouflaging and disrespecting.  A Fools Overture as sung by Supertramp.

Today, my coping mechanism is my recitation of the 'serenity prayer', it's my ever reminder of Step 1 from the Big Book.  Coping today is all about my recovery routine; exercise, regularly attending my AA meetings, being a sponsor, a friend and a comforting voice of reason in a world forever punctuated by greed, disaster, pain and sorrow.

Most importantly, my recovery is fuelled by my service to a nation of like-minded people who I will never judge but will forever encourage and support on their journey.  Being humble, being available, being a resource, these qualities are the driving force in my daily routine.

If I can inspire one suffering soul through my actions, words or my understanding, I have been of service to them and myself;  THAT'S  what fellowship is all about !!


by: Stewart Michaelson
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