i just stopped. i just did.

From JenniferKay, who was worried after session #1 that her therapist wasn’t a good fit:

“I had my second therapy session today. She said that we need to examine the reasons why I stopped drinking. She said that it was very black and white thinking. She said that I did not drink in excess. She said that online support people probably were drinking much more than me. She said that stopping drinking was a control issue. Basically, she said that I need to journal about my reasons for not drinking and that I needed to be more confident about not drinking and giving specific reasons not to drink.

On day one, I told her that exactly the truth about how I felt regarding drinking. I said that I didn’t like hangovers; I said that I didn’t like drinking each night; I said that I worried about all the rules that I would make for myself and break. She said that those were good reasons, but I needed to go deeper on the issues of why I just stopped. I started crying and said: I just did.

I’m upset. I am feeling so anxious. I was so excited because she seemed like she was totally going to support me.

I’m not going to drink … but I felt stupid in the therapy session, and I couldn’t think of what to say, and I wanted to leave, and isn’t not drinking a control issue for everyone? I mean if I say I’m not drinking, I’m controlling that Ugggghhh

Also, I was talking to my husband, and again, he said: ‘I’m not going to say anything, but I’m still not really sure where you’re going with this, but I want you to be happy.’ Then, he cracked open a beer.”

me: yeah, maybe that therapist isn’t for you. and that’s fine, there are lots of therapists in the world. you want someone who understands what we’re doing. those of us online are probably drinking more? where does that even come from? that’s not an informed comment, clearly. drinking more than people in AA? I don’t think so 🙂

it’s ok. If you were trying to find a ‘dentist’ and if the dentist makes you cry then you don’t go back to them and you find another dentist who gets it.

what a shitty thing for her to do. really. she’s not validating what you’re saying you want. like really, we all need to be drinking? like no one can decide not to drink and be happy about it?

oh god.

if you want to talk to ME (ha!) I have one spot open on Friday, let me know.

love, me


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • from shell bell: Hi Belle!
    I love and hate this email- i love that JK was reaching for acceptance and support from 2 “stable” sources in her life (so she thought), her therapist and husband. I HATE that fact that they are really not supporting her- at all.

    It is their ignorance, I hope she stays strong and gets a person to walk with her – I have been sober (thru you blog) for almost 2 years- and it is still is hard to find people who “get it”- but when you do- its a gold mine and you don’t have to explain yourself … I hope that comes her way- she needs companionship too.

  • from Amos: Using this therapist’s line of thinking, you are controlling if you choose to stop doing something unless you do it to excess.

    So we have to be obese to decide to diet?
    Swear every other word to decide to cut out cuss words?
    Get preliminary osteoporosis due to inactivity to decide to engage in a little weight bearing exercise?
    Be trailing clouds of white powder before going to drug rehab?
    Get cited by public health for having 50 cats before stopping taking them in?

    This is fun: see what you can come up.
    In the meantime, I could pitch a bunch of waterballoons at that therapist. Or sumpthin’…….

    • Honesty, I have been lurking here for awhile, but this “therapist” story made me so steaming mad, I’m poking my head out of my “lurk” shell.

      Only smoke six cigarettes a day before deciding to stop? (In my lifetime, this was deemed “medically insignificant…so why would you quit?”)

      Only cut yourself “a little” – not enough to leave deep scars, hmm, are you inhibited or uncommitted?

      Why do you change the oil in your car before the oil & engine lights come on? Do you have a problem with your car’s wisdom and authority?


      SC’s point is well taken, but I’m still not buying a therapist’s questioning of JenniferKay’s decision to quit as a “control issue”. Pure speculation, I know, but, as someone stated above, I’m wondering if I’m smelling a little of a therapist’s Wolfie in this.

      I’m any case, I concur with Belle and all who said “seek elsewhere”. There is nothing in you that NEEDS alcohol, and anyone who questions your decision to quit given your very clear and simple reasons has issues of their own that you don’t need to take on, much less pay for.

  • I’m trying to think of a positive about a therapist not supporting someone’s decision to quit a habit that can do no good, but a great deal of harm. Smoking and drinking both make the person feel better while they’re doing them, crap afterwards and will kill you if you carry on long enough. I didn’t need to delve into the reason I gave up both habits – I just needed cheerful, positive support to see it through the first few weeks and months of such massive habit changes.

  • from G: Therapist? I don’t think so! This woman sounds dangerous. Is she even qualified in any way, shape or form? The only thing she seems proficient in is creating issues in clients that she will then, presumably ‘charge’ to put right! No, this therapist spells danger in more ways than one. I’m a qualified Registered Mental Nurse, so speak with a little authority. Stay away from therapists like this, they shouldn’t be practising! This therapist would not be a good fit with ANYONE!

  • A true and helpful thing I heard from a therapist I knew personally: A therapist can only take you to his/her own wall. When the wall is hit, you are both stuck and it’s time to quit the therapy and move on to a better healing place. Don’t give up on you.

    • I’ve had this same experience with an acupuncturist and a nurse practitioner. I believe that they were projecting their own denial from their personal lives onto me. They didn’t want to hear about how “innocent” glasses of wine were making me physically ill. That would mean they might have to look at the poisonous nature of their own alcohol consumption.

  • I was lucky when I stopped drinking because I do tend to be harsh and black/white about things which was one reason I was convincing myself I didn’t have to stop drinking. My therapist was keen enough to help me with the harsh treatment of myself while recognizing that stopping drinking was necessary for me and not part of the black/white issue. My boyfriend at the time also continued to drink in front of me and question my decision, telling me I was being too hard on myself. I’m about 2.5 years sober today.

  • this is incredible. Many, if not most, therapeutic schools of thought emphasize self-understanding and intense probing of the “why’s”, but this is ridiculous. Incidentally in the years of mental health practice, I find no benefit whatsoever in understanding “why” people do the unhelpful things they do. Not once has understanding why ever helped my patients to change.
    I think hangovers are a specific enough reason not to drink. Even if you have had no other consequence, that should be plenty
    I wonder if this woman even took 5 minutes to look at the online sober community!
    I am certain there are thousands, probably millions of people out there, right this very minute, thinking “if I could only figure out why I drink too much, I could stop”. Ha! Not so, and is a total waste of time. I don’t think there is anything at all to the notion that as drinkers, we are more troubled than average folks, and that is the root of the issue. I truly believe that a genetic vulnerability underlies the problem, and you could have a perfect childhood and an idyllic existence and still wind up a problem drinker.
    Don’t try to figure out why, just DO.

  • Definitely new therapist.
    I am a controlling, black and white thinker. I understand wanting control. I work on this in therapy a lot.

    But right from the start my we decided that not drinking wasn’t a black or white decision. Not drinking is a form of self love and allows time for real understanding and healing. Alcohol is not a necessity for life. In fact, it’s a poison.

    So find a therapist who supports you and who you are willing to be honest with, even if it is hard to say the words.

    Not drinking is the most awesome gift you could ever give yourself.

    • Definitely time for a new therapist. Why would she even question anyone’s decision to stop drinking when all it does is cloud your thinking?!

      • I imagine the therapist is questioning her decision because that’s the job of a therapist. For all we know, the writer is struggling with perfectionism due to feelings of unworthiness, and is choosing to quit drinking as a way of ‘perfecting’ her life and making it above reproach – building a facade of perfectionism around a vulnerable spirit.

        I’m not saying this *is* this case, but it’s well within the purview of a therapist to ask pointed questions and dig deeper. Tears aren’t necessarily the sign of a bad therapist; they’re the sign of a powerful emotion.