I wasn’t a drug addict in real life, just one on paper. How I got to be a druggie on paper is anyone’s guess. But one day, just like any other, my therapist, in her mind, scrambled around my mental health symptoms . Like Frankenstein’s Monster, I was all re-pieced together. I was drug addict, not a person with bipolar disorder. My problem simply changed from bipolar to drug addiction, and the weekly therapy became the old fashion, confrontational drug therapy.
“What does your husband think when you go without washing your hair or bathing for a month?”
“What does your husband think when there’s lots of housework to be done, and you’re zoned out on the couch?”
“You have really had an attitude problem lately, didn’t your parents beat the shit out of you when you were a baby so you wouldn’t be like this now. I really believe in beating young children almost to death to make them behave. And starving them for a week if that doesn’t work. I’m the old school model. I think your parents were too easy on you. You were a spoiled brat, weren’t you? I can just tell. You listened to waaaay too much rock ‘n roll music too. This is bad.” She knew the song White Light/White Heat by the Velvet Underground? Incredible.
Hard to say exactly WHAT drug I was having a problem with. She wasn’t all over me like white on rice searching for needle marks. To a Fundamentalist like this lady, all drugs are drugs, and all addicts are addicts. No exception to this hard and fast, black and white thinking.
Chewing gum? Eating candy? When I mentioned I drank a lot of coffee when I worked in the Loop, she brightened up and said, “So, you were using coffee as a crutch to get through your day??” I know. I WAS a rarity, the lunatic fringe, but yes, I drank a lot of coffee.
I outlined my drinking when I worked in bars from a very early age (20). I said I smoked weed to tolerate my mood swing problem. Then what I really did wrong was mention I was writing a first person fictional story based on a real person who was a terrible scag addict. I said I had to do copious amounts of research to actually make it look like the fictional first person was a real drug addict. Does anyone know how hard this is?
Of course, I had read most of the standards: Panic in Needle Park by James Mills; Junky by William S. Burroughs; Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh.
“And you enjoyed this?” said she.
“It’s all fine literature.”
I wondered in my head, if James Mills was here talking about his fine first book, The Panic in Needle Park, in which, he as a writer, went to live with a bunch of New York junkies to write it. Would she seriously ask this distinguished author if he enjoyed his time in junk territory to write a book? I use Mills as an example because he’s old school, and yet had a fantastic empathy for junkies. (especially Helen. I had a girl crush on Helen.)
But the best was yet to come. One morning, I was waiting for my 10:30am appointment, and she blew in through the door, and suddenly accused me of manipulating her, and lying. I guess that meant no asking for an appointment change. Ever.
“I did?” said I.
And so began my junk treatment.