Monday, February 3, 2014

The Dream Exchange

In my dream. Last night.

(background about me--I'm a mental health professional who works with addicts daily. Alcohol addiction is the most common of all addictions.)

I opened my office door to let my patient in. Scores of family members began to walk in, in lines of two by two. I yelped to get their attention. "If you are his wife or daughters, you can stay, the rest need to stay outside." The crowd reversed itself. Approximately six women remained. But, no patient.

He was still in the hospital, detoxing from alcohol. I was to order a urine drug screen and talk with the patient about alcohol treatment. Via skype. On a cell phone the size of a T-81 calculator.


The patient appeared in the screen. Flanked by two more daughters. I asked him if he felt he had a problem with alcohol. Because being in a hospital bed, detoxing from alcohol, this is not enough evidence for some people that THEY HAVE A PROBLEM. Neither is 6 DUIs or having lost marriages, homes and custody of children. Denial is huge with addiction.

So is having an attitude.

Which my dream patient had in spades. He said, "there are lots of reasons my drug screen could have come up positive for alcohol." And the family grew restless with me. All manner of six women and two on the screen murmurred that I wasn't fixing him. That I wasn't taking care of it.

I gingerly threw the cell phone against the wall. It gently broke. The women left in a huff. I followed them and found many more family members in the waiting room. Children even. Enough family members and assorted children to fill a big yellow bus. All leaving in a huff.


During this dream I could have busted out my therapuetic communication techniques. I could have therapuetically aligned myself with all of them but I'm not going to. At least in the dream.

Anyone working with addicts knows it can wear you down. Especially if their pathology is locked in the family dynamic. Enablers help addicts stay sick. Families often look to mental health professionals to fix their addicted love one. They forget that the problem and the solution begin WITH THE ADDICT. And when we don't fix them they get on a bus, in a huff, and leave.

I'm very tired and in much need of a vacation. This is what this dream means. I don't see a vacation anytime soon though.

SO--i'll increase my time off. Increase my crossfit. Increase my yoga. Increase my bible study. And relax because I have 25 more years until I retire and will wait for awesome until then. And awesome does happen, it really does.


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