Yesterday's post excerpted from my novel Saint Mary Blue, showed the intervention. Our wiley addict agreed only to see his psychiatrist the next day cleverly assuming he could talk his way out of leaving the nightmare. And now it is the next day . . .
Sitting in front of the shrink being very confused, talking to himself.
---I don't know what's going on. Why is everybody on my ass?
At some point he thought about what his wife and friends had risked in giving him their little talk, however misguided it might have been. It would have been so much easier in the short run to avoid scenes and confrontations, risking friendships, marriage ... keep ignoring the problem, whatever they thought it was.
They had risked a lot. Jacob couldn't think of a situation that would move him to take a similar risk.
"It also shows a lot of care," said Don the shrink.
Jacob frowned. Don's statement was both true and contradicted one of the laws of the Randecker Reality, one of the supporting structures of the universe. That anyone could care a damn for him was not possible. That's why he cared not a damn for anyone. Driving everyone away, letting no one get close, was his rock.
---If you don't let them get close to you, they can't hurt you. But these people care. They're not stupid or gullible. Is there something about Jacob Randecker worth caring for?
---Questions. Always questions. And no one gives a damn that all of this is embarrassing me.
"Why can't you treat me?"
"Jacob, all I know about alcoholism is that I can't do anything for you.
"Given that I'm an alcoholic."
A smile. "Of course."
"What if I'm not alcoholic?"
"Then, don't you want to find out? There are some other options." Don talked about Antabuse, the puke pill. Makes it impossible to metabolize alcohol. If you take a drink, it won't kill you. Only makes you wish you were dead.
"No. It scares me."
"There's Alcoholics Anonymous. it
"Forget it. It can't work for me."
"Separation from Ann."
Suddenly he was wide awake. "Why? What's that have to do with anything?"
"She needs a rest from you, Jacob."
"That---That's a hell of a thing to say!"
"You need a rest, too, Jacob."
"No, I can't agree to that. That won't work."
"It doesn't look as though you've anything left that will work, Jacob.
"Don't play shrinker games with me. Say what you mean."
"For every suggestion, you have an objection." Don's Ticonderoga doodled avant-garde nudes on a prescription form.
What was that dumb joke, thought Jacob. I just found out that my analyst wears elevator shoes. How many shrinks does it take to change a light bulb? Only one. But the light bulb really has to want to change---
"And there's St. Mary's in Minneapolis."
"Jesus! Can't you people think of anything else? What is this thing with Minneapolis?"
"Do you really want to change, Jacob?"
Panic. "Why me? I mean, why am I the one who has to change?"
"I'm not going to argue with you, Jacob. You can talk circles around me. You need help and I told you where you can get it."
"This is a hell of a thing you people want me to do. What if being without me takes? What if Ann discovers she prefers it?"
"Cross that bridge when you come to it."
Jacob stared, paralyzed, as what he really wanted to say scrolled behind hi s eyes:
---Gee, I wish I'd said that.
---Did you screw the government out of $150,000 in student loans to learn that?
"Wotthehell." ---Jacob Randecker is always good for a grand gesture. "I'll go to St. Mary's. I could use a vacation. It's second on my list to suicide, and I can always exercise that option.
"They say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."
"Pick that up in the playground at psychiatrist school, did you?"
---And Jacob Randecker doesn't have temporary problems.
Scary remembering where I was all those years ago. Even scarier being there. Keeping the memories fresh, however, reminds me why I don't want to go back and gets me to that next meeting.
Check in tomorrow for our hero's trip from Maine to the land of ten thousand lakes and a few weirdoes.