Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Friday was the last day for one of our college interns, and I was asked if I would kindly run her group for the next couple of weeks until someone can take her place. Of course, before I agreed, I made sure to get a promise that this would not be permanent for me as I already have four groups while there are others who only have two groups. Oh, well, but that's another story altogether.
Closure is always hard on our clients so I allowed them to utilize the first part of the group to share their feelings about her leaving. Some were downright sad over the fact, while others seemed to care less...there were those who never really felt comfortable with her anyway...and then eventually, there came the usual remark, "I wasn't comfortable with her anyway. I want a counselor who has been where I am at, who knows what I have gone through. You can't learn about life from a book." True, but not in all cases. Some college interns have had a life far rougher than the clients themselves. You just can't judge a book by its cover. Okay, where am I going with this? How does this relate to archetypes?
So, the next question was...and I already knew it was coming was, "What about you, Mary?. Are you an addict?" Now, this question has been asked many times, and self-disclosure is never really encouraged as it seems to weaken whatever boundaries there are between professional and client. I've seen it happen; the counselor becomes the object of client gossip...not good. So, what do I say when asked? Do I refuse to answer? That doesn't go over too well, either. I can say something like, "We are here for you, not for me." But, somehow that sounds kind of cold and distant.
So, instead I usually respond that we're all addicts in one way or the other. The fact is that each of us is touched by the Addict Archetype. Besides drugs, alcohol, sex or food, we become addicted to work, computers, exercise, television, shopping...the list goes on. We can also be addicted to actions such as manipulating others, rescuing others, feeling sad. Yes, some people actually thrive on being sad. It brings them lots of attention. The fact is, we live in an addictive society; the addict archetype has a field day with us.
Archetypes are those mysterious little stereotypical characters and energy forms that reside in our unconsciousness, affecting our thoughts and actions....for better or for worse. We read their stories in the mythology of the ancient peoples. They have become a part of our collective unconscious. The Celtic tale of Queen Maeve is a perfect example of the addict archetype, a mythic archetype representing the binding pattern of addiction and the liberating power of acknowledgement and the soul's sovereignty. It is in this archetype that the shadow attribute of many archetypes becomes overwhelming, and the addict becomes anxious, depressed, and destructive. The good new is that the archetypes and the mythological stories that give them life can by used as tools for healing.
I can become addicted to anything. I've got what they call an Addictive Personally. Twenty years ago, I beat my addiction to alcohol, only to start drinking 20 cups of coffee a day...then that addiction changed to....You get the picture. I've been addicted to nail polish, to lipstick, books, cologne...not a danger to self per se, but when you cannot have enough it becomes addiction. Last year I beat nicotine...the last of my killer addictions. This year I stopped the daily scratch off games. I am still addicted to television and the computer, but that's okay because it helped me to meet all of you. See, some addictions are positive...which also brings me to something else.
For the past week, the idea of a new blog (yes, you heard me right) has been playing over and over in my head. I am an addict; I admit it. I tried ignoring it, but then it began coming to me in my sleep. I held off thinking it would go away, just as other blog ideas have, but the urge only grew stronger...so, I eventually I gave in; it was something that was meant to be. I know, I know...but I have been sorting through my blogs and wonder which to keep and which will go. Anam Cara is gone; it will be condensed into Finding Fairyland. The others will probably become a once a week post.
So, you are all invited to check out the latest blog and take a trip down the Nile. Shadows of the Nile
So tell me, when thinking of the Addict Archetype, what is your addiction?