Around two weeks ago I finished three months of Intensive Outpatient Group Therapy. Paired with individual counseling once a week, I will say that I found it to be as helpful as it was entertaining. I was able to learn a little bit about myself, what makes me tick. I also learned I don’t have to be an aggressive saviour type to effectively help someone; most of the time, a kind listening ear helps more than the rapid fire “gurification” of someone’s situation. Listening genuinely, with compassion, takes practice.
Quick story: one session in particular, we were discussing the dangers of anger and ways to stop it before it boils up and out of us. The instructor asked the group, “What are some of the warning signs that you are becoming anger?” One new girl spoke up and said, “You cut your finger off.” Immediately after she said this, there was this matrix-esque timelapse where a couple of people that had been there a while looked at each other with curious confusion. I let out a small burst of laugher. (Remember, laughter doesn’t always imply that the subject which stimulates it is of a humorous nature.) Another guy said, “That’s brutal!” Then there was silence again. People were in denial. Go figure. One girl in the group said, “Hold up, just to make sure I heard you right; you said you cut off, your finger?” The newbie said without hesitation, “Yea,” and raised her left hand, wiggling all her fingers except the little one. That one was gone. Not there. MIA. Awol. Like a little fireplace hand mantle with traditional family figurines atop it: you had Dad the thumb, Mom the index, middle was the first son, and the ring being the attention seeking sister. But the little pinky named Charlie got knocked off into the hellfire of the smouldering fireplace below. Little Charlie, come to find out was thrown out of a car window into a parking lot. We learned from the young lady that it was either going to be her finger or her partner that was going to take the slice. Anger killed Charlie.
Everybody gasped, “Whoa!” No wonder Seneca said anger is the most dangerous of emotions. Let’s be real for a second: we don’t find ourselves in addiction related three hour group sessions, three times a week, for three months, because we’ve got it all fingered, I mean figured out. We have not arrived at Sagehood. I sure as hell haven’t. But guess what? Right now, in this moment, I’m clear, cool, calm, clean, and collected. Hope you are too! Say yeah!