Part 8 of Dry Drunk is posted here. This is Part 9.
A work of fiction.
My illness and legal action knocked me off schedule. I'm glad to get back to the way I was before the fireworks started.
At an earlier time in life, I made the acquaintance of a therapist who changed my life. I laid off the booze for months at a time under her care and never backslid. All I could think about our next appointment, when we would meet again. After a while, I realized I was in love with her. Nothing could ever happen. She was married with three kids of her own.
But we had a close relationship, the closest I have ever let anyone ever get to me. I have a particular fondness for Ashkenazi Jews like her, due to her wise counsel. I don't mention this much because it sounds like a cheap line, dusted off to be used once more. But I'm completely serious. I could tell she liked me too, but not in that way, because all of our sessions would go 10-15 minutes overtime, and she didn't see much need to rush for the next one.
There's this new girl who cozies up to me in a pink zip-up track suit. At first I thought she was just being friendly, but every now and again the genuine article appears. She was a little too nice at all the right moments, and even a fool could pick up on it. And as I looked at her closely, I saw the distinguishing characteristics once again. First she showed me the ins and outs of the ward, then she helped me with a legal document in bad need of revision.
I had to question myself. Was she a carbon copy of my therapist on some kind of psychic level? She certainly looked like her a little, which was spooky. Jet-black hair, yes, but a lighter complexion. Freudian psychoanalysis is built on the idea of transference, the idea that the patience will transfer feelings from someone else in life to the therapist. I think it's a waste of a time, by in large, but there may be something to it
Or at least I'd like to believe it. I may have said this before, but every person one finds here is automatically suspect on one level or another. And yet I've found one with every visit. If I were to be judged by the same logic, I'd be considered an untouchable, too. I would flag the process with caution, but not with warning. Psych wards are the best place to find friends with benefits, but never relationships. One woman I met was too damaged for anything resembling a relationship and had deliberately gained weight so her father would leave her alone. She was a total sweetheart.
I can't internalize the stories. They are too sad and remind me of my own. The coping mechanisms are similar. I'm at the point now where I can hear a man or woman talk and diagnose childhood sexual abuse instantly, same as any therapist. I see their words in mine as we speak during free time. But I can never go there. I can be shocked, but I can't visualize and imagine. The pain is too fresh and it makes me crave a drink.
And what does for me to be here? I told you I was an alcoholic from the start, didn't I? A misfit among misfits? As long as I can distract myself from this sort of thinking, I'm okay. But then once I start looking as everyone as a victim of something or someone, I can't deal anymore.
How long have I been here? I've lost count around 8 or 9, but it is surely farther along than that. I always lose it about now. It isn't a matter of girls or lukewarm juice or individually wrapped graham crackers anymore. I dutifully confront a therapist when the images refuse to go away.
Whatever, buddy, he says.
I spill and I can tell he understands, but no one on the outside every does.
Open your mouth, boy. Open your mouth, boy
Does he understand that much? I can vocalize what happened, but can he be there and hold my hand? Does he understand the sinister nature of the silence in that room? I have never wanted a drink more than this instant. Everyone has triggers and I've already stumbled across three of them in three separate people. And as I embarrassingly rub the tears across the back of my hand I know can't go here anymore. I'd much rather focus on my romanticized Jewish girl, the one who showed him mercy. Go and do likewise.