Audio: “My therapist is an ass-hat” (response)

This is Sober Podcast Episode #188 for my weekly sober podcast series.

ok, so I sent out an email recently where someone was worried about their therapist. and I said something sweet+kind, like “maybe your therapist is a nice person, but she doesn’t understand this boozing thing.”

then I got this in my inbox swiftly afterwards:  Wanda: “That therapist is a full-of-shite asshat and she DOESN’T mean well; she’s incompetent and a self-absorbed, ego-driven fuckwit with no ability to empathize who is a danger to her clients. C’mon, where’s Ranty Belle today? … There are a ton of these certified fuckwits out there therapy-ing people to death with their bull-shite theories and irresponsible advice. [Grabs virtual cardboard and felt pens, makes crude sign, runs to Courthouse to chant with other concerned netizens: We Want Ranty Belle! Show Us Your Ranty Belle! Give Us Our Ranty Belle!]”

and so after that, I had to record a full length podcast in reply … how could I not 🙂

Below i’ve posted the first 3 minutes of the podcast. if you’d like to listen to the whole thing you can use the link to download at the bottom of the post.

What would you say to a therapist who encouraged you to ‘keep drinking’ …




Download the audio podcast episode 188

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(ps, my blog allows for anonymous comments – so you don’t have to fill in a name or an email address to post your comment below).

Over the next 24 hrs, I’ll select a blog comment and that person will receive a present funded by the Sober Good Works donations.


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

  • I have talked a lot about my drinking with my therapist. Now – he simply accepts that I don’t drink – that is how I’ve dealt with my drinking for a long time. He therefore listens intently in how I discuss these things. He was confused about the “admitted we were powerless…” bit at one point in his research and we talked a long time about this.

    He is probably learning more from me than I am from him – and that is all ok

  • I like to believe that I would reply with something like, “If I told you I had a cocaine problem, would you tell me that I should be able to return to moderate use of cocaine?” or whatever her choice of words were. But, I tend to think of the best replies long after the interaction is over. I do hope that I would kick this therapist to the curb and find a new one.
    But…the truth is that if I were struggling with wolfie at the time of the conversation, or even if wolfie was quiet, but my world was too overwhelming at that moment, or even the next day or week, my brain would try to use that therapist’s words as an excuse to drink. And, if not an excuse to drink, yet another reason to feel ashamed of myself (my personal issue is shame), which in and of itself is my brain’s favorite reason to drink, as wine temporarily drowns my shame).
    I’d guess that the therapist either has no idea how wolfie works or may even be an addict her/himself and doesn’t want this client’s sobriety to shine a light on his or her use. Either way, this therapist wouldn’t be a good fit for me.

    • Just a “devil’s advocate ” thought. What if as a therapist they see so many people that make their issues bigger than they really Are? My dad is a legit hypochondriac and he constantly complains that the doctors don’t listen.
      What if were in the midst of a couple of generations that are always thinking “they have cancer” ? Maybe therapists have responded to these “mountains out of molehill” type people by trying to make them see there really isn’t a problem in the first place? That it’s all in your head (which happens to be where Wolfe resides) so technically they aren’t wrong, they are just not giving us any tools to help get the voice out of our heads. Just trying to understand why any therapist would basically refuse to acknowledge a person’s problem. But I agree they are asshats!

  • I’m thinking there should be a movement, with a T-shirt, saying “alcohol not required”.

    And maybe it will have the sub text – for a good time or for a good life. And maybe at first I would have been reluctant to wear this, but now, 2 1/2 years sober, older and wiser, I like the idea of spreading this message.

    All too sadly, my family, the older, the middles, and now the young ones, have bought into the myth that alcohol enhances the party and your life. And that is so wrong.

  • Therapists don’t understand shit sometimes. You really summed it up here at the end : they think alcohol is required (to have fun). That’s what makes them say shit like “you should go back to drinking, but normally, quitting drinking is too big a step, it’s not achievable, think simple, you need to be able to drink reasonably, drinking is festive, it can be good, you need to change your point of view, you need to stop focusing on alcohol, you shouldn’t drink everyday, but you should reward yourself from time to time, sweetie.” For fuck’s sake! It’s not as if we were telling them we decided to quit eating or breathing. Let’s just say you’re allergic to cats and therefore, you can’t have a cat, you don’t want a cat, you’d rather stay away from cats. What would the therapist say? “Well, you should have a cat. Everybody has cat. It shows you’re a nice person, it shows how animal-friendly you are, you need to have a cat, I know you’re allergic sweetie, but you know, having a cat is essential, yeah, really.” Alcohol is so not required. I’ve been sober for a year and I’ve never felt better in my life. If you feel the need to talk to your therapist about your alcohol consumption and how it affects you, then the least he/she could do is listen and keep his/her stupid ideas to his/herself. [sorry, a bit angry, here but urgh does that make me mad]

  • I’d tell them that I disagree. I’d thank them, and find someone who fits my need of support better. It’s surprising how many people, especially medical professionals, believe that drinking isn’t as big of a deal as it is. Regardless, as a person/client/sober rockstar, we have to advocate for ourselves. If I didn’t want medication and saw a doctor who prescribed me a bunch of pills, I’d find another doctor, a naturopath, who would help me the ways that I wanted to be treated. Doctors are supposed to help us, they’re supposed to problem solve and use their knowledge and opinions to heal us and help us lead a better life. However, a lot of them are only trained in one belief system, so it’s important that we find a doctor with the same belief system as us. It’s important that we are our own advocate.

  • This reminded me of when my therapist told me it was just “self medication to relax” and she thought it would not be necessary for me to quit entirely. Once in a while wolfie tries to agree with her… I am glad I am not listening to either of them!!

  • If someone is telling you they have a problem with drinking, BELIEVE THEM! It is so hard to get up the courage and overcome the shame in saying it out loud, and the real shame is in the professionals who dismiss this confession or minimize it.

  • Hi there
    I also had a therapist tell me she didn’t think I have a drinking problem ( it wasn’t the sole reason I went to see her ) . Now looking back I wonder if I wasn’t part of the problem …..i did tell her I think about drinking in an odd way that others don’t. Why do I do that ? Even my husband who I think has a drinking problem never has Wolfie in the head . She asked me how much do I drink …so i told her and she said I don’t think you have a drinking problem . Clearly she doesn’t understand what it means to have that constant bantering in your head ….everyday ! She needs to get educated about drinking disorders and get rid of the old stereotype of the alcoholic person

  • Any therapist that tells someone who’s concerned about their drinking, to moderate, is obviously clueless about addiction, and needs to go back to “therapy school”. Or…they can’t imagine giving it up themselves, so that’s their “solution”. The best therapist for dealing with over-drinking is someone who’s been there. Only they can truly understand how it all works.

  • I love how she was the one who found the courage to get upset for a good reason. If I said I wanted to stop using meth a therapist wouldn’t say moderation. It’s that alcohol is seem as needed, you’re right it’s not!

  • I briefly saw a therapist and mentioned I was worried about my drinking. She suggested that I stop drinking at home and just have wine with dinner when I went out. Guess who started eating at restaurants almost every night? Then I got mad at my husband when he noticed what was going on and tried to talk to me about it. Not helpful.

  • It’s a toxic liquid, meant to be addictive. How stupid of any therapist to suggest drinking it again. Let’s see what is the benefit of not drinking a toxic substance?….could it be Health! Who would want that?

  • Ha! I was always the one trying to convince my counselor that I didn’t have a drinking problem. Either way, I agree that the only qualified people to help are those who have struggled with this addiction.

    • I haven’t found a counselor or therapist that gets me.
      1. I pay them to tell me what I want to hear, by giving them only half truths
      2. The ones I’ve tried aren’t alcoholic- so they say same “cut down, drink only after five, or stop drinking.”
      Wolfie wants me dead.
      Only you guys get this, and other over-drinkers.

  • With all due respect, this therapist needs to go. He/she is not looking after the persons best interest. I think a new therapist is in order. Not because this therapist doesn’t know what he/she is doing. Or really good. It’s just that I think the lack of education in this field would require someone with more knowledge and a better understating of booze…and Wolfie!!

  • I would say “clearly you don’t have an appropriate understanding of addiction”. Or perhaps the therapist was projecting her own insecurities regarding drinking. (Likely)

  • I’m sympathetic to the first commenter’s idea that perhaps the therapist is listening to Wolfie, but even if she isn’t, what gives Wolfie a lot of strength is our culture’s default setting: alcohol is required. Consider how many extremely clever people have used their creativity to sell you on that idea (they’re called advertisers), which helps make the illusion still more plausible. And think about this — I teach college, and back when I started, several centuries ago, most of the best and brightest students wanted to go to medical school. Now they’re increasingly choosing advertising and marketing. Yet another reason (well, a non-political one) the truth seems to be more elusive these days?

  • Over the years I saw various therapists who didn’t believe my drinking was a problem. If they don’t have that voice they will just not understand. However, now I think that though they couldn’t help with that issue, they still helped inadvertently by being yet another path which was not going to help me moderate and be a “normal” drinker which helped me eventually to come to the conclusion, and have the wherewithal to just stop. In that way, they helped!

  • Oops. That was meant to say…..I loved when I expressed to a counsellor that I thought I might have a drinking problem and she said….Well just stop….Geezzzzz….that was helpful I think…..NOT!!!!

  • In my experiences with therapists (and physicians) who do not have a wolfie, I found that I was dumbstruck each time they tried to give me advice about my drinking. Literally could not say anything.

    I once saw a therapist; I’d wanted a daytime appointment but she only saw people in the evening. So I took an evening appointment and she give me a hard time because I drank before our session. I just wanted to scream “if you’d give me a morning appointment I’d be here sober (well, maybe a tiny bit hungover)! THIS is why I’m here — because I drink!” But, in reality, I just stared at her, couldn’t get any words out. I just felt 110% misunderstood and shamed.

  • I think any therapist who would advise someone who has come to them to discuss alcohol that they don’t have a problem is irresponsible at the very least and likely negligent. Possibly this therapist also has a problem with alcohol and is listening to Wolfie?