Truth be told, therapy (fee for friend?) is more of a luxury exclusive to the affluent and the intellectual (and the bubble in which they preside), which makes sense given it was designed by academic elitists and has evolved over the years to fit the business models of pharmaceutical and insurance companies. There is also an issue with corruption in government, but we can leave that for now.
Look, most people are busy surviving and working 70-80 hours a week and don’t have the time nor the immaturity or entitlement to go whine about micro-aggressions, like, the business down the street has a flagpole and on top of the flagpole is an American flag. Can you imagine? A flag?! No doubt an abusive, violent assault. Unforgivable. Most people are concerned with unsophisticated peasantry such as paying the bills and putting food on the table. How ironic that they are in fact representative of the solution!
Many of us who engage in regular therapy probably have too much time on our hands, as least that was my own experience. In the past, I only sought therapy when I was idle and depressed. Now that I face challenges like it’s a new addiction and push myself to stay busy most of the time, I am much more even and content. The last thing on my mind is therapy. Why? Because I don’t let feelings stop me. I personally believe many of our problems would evaporate if we chose to get busy and fill our lives with work, friends, family, hobbies, exercise, service, etc. When you’re too busy working, serving and doing things all day long, you don’t have the time to complain, let alone think about your feelings 24/7.
We give far too much attention and significance to our feelings. Trust me, they really aren’t that important. When it comes to addiction especially, hyper-focusing on our feelings is the precise opposite of what we need. Feelings don’t matter. To get better, we need to focus not on our feelings but instead stop thinking and just take action. So with a sponsor, I really don’t care how they feel. I care about what they do. Feelings are no reason not to act appropriately and quite frankly, they can easily become excuses not to act. How many times have you heard an addict refuse to treat themselves because of some way that they feel, whether sad, depressed, angry, anxious, victimized, blah, blah, blah. Trust me, if you want to really help an addict, do not validate their awful feelings. Being anxious to get better or go to treatment is not a reason not to go. In fact, it’s a perfect reason to go.
One of the myriad of brilliant Mad Men episodes is when Don calls up Betty’s psychiatrist to inquire why she has only become increasingly unraveled since the beginning of her sessions. Not coincidentally, Betty has ample idle time all day long to sink down the rabbit hole. The shrink replies with something like,
“Well, Don, we’ve only been engaging in regular psychoanalysis, but if you really want her to make any progress then you’ll need to go with advanced psychoanalysis, which is three sessions a week instead of one, and double the time per session. Oh, and you should probably talk to someone, too. I have an opening later today.”
Lol. Don knows what a quack this guy is and, of course, that his primary goal is to take Don to the cleaners.
Sure there are a few therapists with a backbone who can tell patients what they don’t want to hear, even if they run out of the office never to return, but that is the exception to the norm. No psychologist or psychiatrist will disagree with you if you walk in and tell them you have a problem. I would. Sometimes people call to assess a supposed addict and it’s basically just a kid who doesn’t want to grow up. End of story. Get a job, move out, engage with others, find a girlfriend, help others, stop smoking pot, create a purpose and a meaning to your life. Nobody is ultimately going to hold your hand and take care of you except yourself. This is what we should be teaching kids today and yet, they grow up and all they do is whine and demand free stuff. Ridiculous. This is the problem with the “every kid gets a trophy” mentality, as we are essentially relegating unique and talented children to the ash heap of mediocrity. I wrote an old piece about the trophy thing, I believe the title was the phrase in quotes.
So in this era of collectivism, therapy is often reduced to unaccountable friendship and validation. But when we become so hyper-focused on SELF and SELF-IMPORTANCE – on our feelings, thoughts, identities and endless wants – on what other people are doing us as opposed to what we are doing to them – and when we are so coddled that it becomes okay to find external reasons for self-created problems, little change occurs… which then cleverly necessitates a lifetime of therapy. There is no profit in true recovery. In fact, there is no business at all in recovery. I also wrote a piece about big business recovery – Recovery Inc.
At least psychologists actually talk to you and pretend there is something meaningful or useful going on besides telling you what you want to hear (which is especially dangerous for addicts, for we simply use all of our “discoveries” as a perfect excuse as to why we used and why we need to continue using). Psychiatrists simply experiment on you like a guinea pig and pretend to be real doctors. Right, thank you so much for rewiring my brain. Thank you for not having the faintest idea what you’re doing or what you’re talking about. Thanks also you for patronizing me and arrogantly trying to convince me that I need to be medicated for life. Shameless. Neuroscience is, at best, a budding experiment.
America has become drug and disorder obsessed, another natural side-effect of the nanny state and the explosion of pharmaceuticals. Thus the industry, both academic and in professional application, revolves around an ever-expanding DSM monstrosity. In other words, the entire field simply revolves around categorizing every possible skew known to mankind, even the most subtle of tweaks like being bummed out (aka normal behavior), and calling it a disorder. Psychology has turned garden variety human feelings, skews and idiosyncrasies into some disorder, no doubt caused by some profound damage (that can also be categorized) rooted in historical trauma. It’s insufferable. The more disorders, the more meds. The more damage, the more sessions. Business. I speculate that millions who engage in regular therapy and those prescirbed some concoction of psychotropics everyday (like children – see Ritalin article) actually need them.
So let’s face it, similar to big business recovery and the corruption we’ve seen of late in the addiction industry), if people actually change and change fast, there is no business. Only when people remain weak, sick and dysfunctional can the industry continue to breathe. Why would they want anybody to actually recover, especially with nothing more than a Big Book and another fuck-up in a coffee shop? Recovery hurts business. The sad truth is that there is really only money in relapse, heartache, chaos and destruction. Idiotic slogans such as “relapse is part of recovery” basically tell the addict to go relapse and then come back for another 3 month stint. Wash, rinse, repeat.
But let’s look at the issues of weakness and dysfunction. My contention is that psychology and psychiatry often procure the opposite of their stated goals. Instead of strengthening and empowering the individual, I see quite the opposite. I see people being coddled and becoming victims of others (often false victims, as victim has become a state of mind, not reality – yes there are real victims but that’s not what I’m not referring to), digging deep into their past and unearthing every possible injustice done to them. Nothing is your fault, and the number of injustices is no doubt proportional to how screwed up you are. What exactly is the benefit of that?
First, engaging in hyper self-focus and self-importance, not to mention substitution drugs, takes people inward as opposed to outward into the world. It weakens and cripples people from becoming strong and courageous, from finding the guts to walk through their pain instead of around it, from running towards life challenges, not away from them.
Second, believing all of these people have wronged us makes us increasingly ineffective and dysfunctional. With all of the so-called trauma I have endured, now I can justify and rationalize not doing anything. No doubt I will be branded some horrible thing by the pc trolls and hysterics for simply describing my own experience, my own failures and successes with illness and recovery, but please just try to see beyond ideology and pc lunacy and assess things by asking if it makes sense? And if not, why not? If so, why so? By the way, that’s why I write – to simply share my own personal experience with failure and success. I don’t want followers. I don’t want people to listen to me. I want people to think for themselves. This blog is not intended to be case-specific advice, as we must all find our own answers. These are mine.
For me, the therapy/medication model kept me weak and further crippled me from taking care of myself and functioning in the world. What helped me was just the opposite. I stopped taking my feelings so seriously. I realized that my near hysterical preoccupation with my feelings and myself didn’t really matter so much. So screw your feelings. Try to stop focusing so much on everything that occurs internally. For me, the key to recovery was basically to stop whining and get to work. Be uncomfortable. Get used to it. And for addicts, try adjusting to less dopamine instead of believing that you have some divine right for more.
And guess what? Nobody cares. It’s called adulthood. It’s called the real world. It’s called Life of Earth. Go get busy. Go help others all day long and you will soon forget all about yourself and your myriad of self-created problems. The solution for me was to get over my feelings. I once looked in the mirror while I was in the process of getting better and realized I wasn’t a child anymore. I was a man. Addiction gone.
Finally, it seems to be that the modern age of psychiatry is more of a business model dependent on normalizing a mass culture of victimhood. I don’t see it as a true service industry. I also don’t see psychology as a true service industry. I see them as a byproduct of the nanny state, a microcosm of our culture, dependent on promoting an obsession with mental disorders and psychological terms that people can use to remain self-interested and preoccupied with identity. When I let go of this obsession with self, with my narcissism, I found that success lies in quite the opposite. Success lies in focusing on others, on action, on God and His will.
Ayn Rand said, “You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”