When a fleeting little smile lit up his gray face he was a handsome dude and people would like him. To him it was random – he looked on, incredulous of kindness and display of positive regard. He couldn’t locate his role in the game of life and he became too rigid to be playful with it all. His back was stiff and his neck was thick from the chronic tension of generalized resistance. It was as though he carried a head ten times the size it really was.
Obsessing on the woman who left him, he stewed in angering fantasies, incessantly, as though it was about her and she would have been his one-and-only savior from drowning in a hostile world. He was blind to it – that it was him, choosing to focus on hostility every minute of the day. Petrified in the futile defense against childhood terrors he felt powerless, without a clue about mutuality and the feelings he would evoke in others. The thought of his part in creating his own destiny was especially annoying to him. It was them. Always the others.
In treatment he was offered some tools, techniques, and concepts, but he was not really willing to participate, communicate, interact, and relate in a meaningful way. His hopelessness bred a dark and encompassing swamp, a sinkhole underfoot, threatening to swallow him forever. His rigid rejection of meaningful interaction turned communication into a stale endeavor, almost like trying to force-feed an anorexic woman, a losing battle. Unable to trust the process of living, he would not reach for the hope in a better future.
It didn’t start out this way. He was a sweet little boy, sensitive to his environment, wishing for tender love and care, but his needs for bonding with mommy went mostly unnoticed while she concerned herself with orderly and functional behaviors. He tried to run away from his military family in the most acceptable way – by running track. He did well for a while, but then his volatile anger got in the way. He fought a police officer and got expelled from military school.
He began to drink and look for older women to be taken care of. A symbiotic clinch was his idea of curing his lifelong longing for mom’s love. He wouldn’t let go when such endeavors failed (or didn’t know how).
His sorrow festered into an all-consuming force and gradually he transformed into a fear-based and rigid alcoholic, oozing wrath, utterly disinterested in any productive life pursuits, while self-righteously insisting on the (last) woman he lost, in spite of the drama and violence that had made their life a living hell.
Dominated by the mental constructs of his childhood, his will and his life was turned over to his own narrative, as though a ghost had infiltrated his mind, only to possess and choke off all options. Immersed in resistance, he couldn’t be recovered against his will and left treatment.
Jasmin Rogg is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. Jasmin is in private practice in Beverly Hills and facilitates recovery groups at various chemical recovery treatment centers in Los Angeles – such as Promises, Sovereign Health, Chabad, Exodus (at Brotman’s Hospital), Pasadena Recovery Center, Casa de las Amigas, Della Martin Center (at Huntington Memorial Hospital), Boulevard, and also several sober living houses.
Having spent many years in the field of addiction and recovery, on both a professional and personal level, she knows what it takes to leave behind destructive behavior patterns in favor of actions that promote prosperity and success, and has dedicated her life to using her experience for service to others. In her work she utilizes the “alchemy” of turning weakness into strength, passing on resources and tools for recovery from emotional pain, depression, anxiety, and addiction – for building a good life.
Jasmin is the author of “TO HELL & BACK, How to Have Feelings & Stay Sober at the Same Time” and “WAKING UP SOBER … and walking the path.” Her recent papers are published as blog posts on www.voiceofrecovery.blogspot.com