20 years the social worker for addicted, street-affiliated institutionalized adults.

The therapist. 

       The Helper.      

               2 decades of wonderful daily challenge.


“You’re only a failure if you believe it.”

“I believe it.”

“Which?  What I just said or what they said?”

“No, man, it’s not about them.  It’s what I say.”

“Which do you say?”

“That they’re right.”

(Forgetting about ‘them’) “About what?”

“About me.”

“That you’re a failure?”


“What did you fail at today?”

“Look at my life.  Look at where I am.”

(Firmly & slowly redirecting) “What did you

fail at today?”

“What do you mean?”

“Did you get up this morning?”

“Well, yeah…”

“Piss?  Shit?  Wash up afterward?”

“Yeah.  ‘Course.”

“Make the bed?  “Straighten things up?”

“Yeah?  What’s this got to do with shit?”

(Keeping focused) “Show up for our appointment?”

“I was late.”

“Are you here?”

“Yeah, I’m here.  What’s this all about anyway?”

(Keeping focused) “Are you here?”

“Yes, I am here.”

(Quietly) “What did you fail at today?”

“If you put it that way, nothing yet, I guess.”

“Did you give yourself credit for any of that?”

“What you did.”

“No, not really.  I mean, it’s such small stuff.”

(Puzzled tone) “You said ‘stuff.’  Usually you say ‘shit.’”

“See what I mean: you make stuff out of nothing.”

(Focused) “You said ‘stuff.’”

“O.K., I said ‘stuff.’  Are we finished yet?”

(Exhale, feel shoulders come down, smile appears)  “Yes.”

“This shit is really crazy.”

“Yes, it is.  Next week?”

“I don’t know…”

“Same Bat time?  Same Bat channel?”

“Same Bat time.  Same Bat channel.”


Now retired:


Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm  Comments (7)