Growing Up

I had been drinking alone in my darkened apartment for eight months. I was unemployed yet I couldn’t find the energy to look for work. As my checking account dwindled, I awoke every morning with a growing ache of fear in my gut.

I went to a therapist for some help getting back on track. I took thirty minutes to explain what was going on with me. I expected her to commiserate with my situation, to tell me it’s not unusual for men to go through these kinds of changes when they hit fifty. I expected some insight and practical suggestions. Instead she dropped the hammer.

Her exact words were, “I don’t think I can help you, Jeff. I don’t think you have an ounce of humility in your whole body. Your brain is so cloudy from your daily drinking that you can’t hope to get any clarity on your life. And you have the emotional maturity of a thirteen year old.” I was shocked. The voices in my head were screaming, “You can’t let this bitch talk to you this way!” Somehow I kept my mouth shut and just looked at my shoes. She went on, “You are welcome to come here every week, pay me $80, lie on that soft leather couch and we can talk about your life, but I don’t think it will do any good. I suggest you consider the treatment center up the street.”

Today, as I relive that morning with the therapist so many years ago, I am so grateful she told me the truth about myself. I’m also grateful that I hurt enough to listen and take her suggestion.

Her inventory of me was exactly right. Humility is still hard to come and I still get cornered occasionally by stinking thinking. But, thanks entirely to the program and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, I’ve grown up. I’m no longer that scared 47 year old child, filled with self-hate, who walked through the doors more than twenty two years ago. I actually like myself today. I finally feel worthy. How sweet it is!