Recently, I’d begun seeing a shrink to help sort out all the exciting and wonderful feelings I’ve had lately. You know, despair, hopelessness, general lack of self-worth, all the really fun ones. With all this talking about feelings, it was inevitable that, at some point, we’d start talking about the very strong feelings that I have about cocktails.
You know, I’ve been to see a bunch of shrinks in my time, and I really NEVER LEARN. When I told shrink du jour about my alcohol consumption, she reacted as though I’d expressed a penchant for setting small animals afire, or let loose my inner desire to one day reign supreme over a den of three-legged children. She spent the remainder of our 45-minute session alternately berating me (in low-key shrink speak), labeling me an alcoholic, and insisting that I stop drinking entirely.
“CAN you stop drinking?” she asked me, peering over the rims of her tortoiseshell glasses.
“Of course”, I lied.
I left her office feeling shaken, stupid, and morally eviscerated – emotions I might expect after, say, inadvertently attending Catholic Mass on “right to life” weekend, but not precisely the state of mind I seek to encounter after paying $100 for 45 minutes of talk therapy. I’m not a dim person, I know that I could stand to cut back. But stop entirely? Like, no more Prosecco ever? I hardly think that’s necessary. The thing about these shrinks is that once they find some self-destructive behavior, be it bulimia, shoplifting, or fun with knives, they latch onto it as a topic to start every discussion. And, with that realization, came the notion that, from now on, every session would become about drinking and I would have to either:
a) continually lie to my therapist
b) continually defend myself to my therapist.
Neither option seemed viable, and the more I thought about it, the less I appreciated her condescending tone on the whole matter. Two days later, I cancelled all future appointments.
It was a shitty, rainy morning, and when I commented that I felt better this day than I had yesterday (a day that, as it happened, had been sunny), she asked me, “is that because the weather matches your mood?”
It struck me as perhaps the dumbest thing anyone’s ever said, especially when one considers its contextual similarity to the seminal song of my nascent adolescent angst. I was fifteen years old when that shit was OK to take seriously – now I’m 28, and you, shrink, look to be hitting somewhere around the half-century mark. So, two days later, I cancelled all future appointments.