This musician was a 20 year AA veteran. And he was a fully qualified doctor.
As far as I could tell he’d have had a good career as a doctor but gave it all up for rock’n’roll. Only he wasn’t quite so very good at rock’n’roll and the zenith of his attempt to set the world alight had been as support to The Only Ones at the Greyhound pub, Fulham Palace Road c.1977.
His parents had high but all-in-all not unreasonable expectations of him and, frankly, he felt himself to be a huge disappointment.
Each night the first two glasses were recreational and the rest were medicinal – numbing the pain of disappointment. He wanted to have the first two social glasses and then stop, because he was getting incapacitated, unable to work in the evenings (mixing down tracks on his PC) and not able to remember the next day what he’d done the previous evening.
I told him on the phone when he made the initial enquiry that stopping after two was not possible and that he’d have to stop altogether. He agreed – reluctantly – and came to see me.
Taking the case history it was clear that he really didn’t want to stop drinking. He wanted to have a glass or two then stop. I made it clear I didn’t think that was possible and he made it clear it was wanted he wanted. And, weakly, I agreed to try.
He was, possibly, the world’s worst hypnotee. I tried really hard (always a bad sign) because I wanted him to get a result. But after three hours (yes ... I know ... three hours ... it ate right through my lunch hour) I’d got nowhere.
Usually after the first session I arrange an appointment for the following week to check up and consolidate. This time I knew it hadn’t worked and, shamefully, I bottled out. “OK. Let’s see how that goes. Give me a call in two weeks and we’ll see where we go from there.” I knew I wouldn’t here from him again.
Two weeks later, to the hour, the phone rang. “Barry, I can’t believe it. Since I saw you I’ve had a glass or two and then something clicks and I don’t want any more. I’ve got loads of work done in the evenings and it’s been brilliant. I can’t thank you enough.”
So I booked the consolidation appointment.
Two days before the next appointment he called and left a message saying he had an audition, couldn’t keep the appointment and would call back to re-arrange.
He never did.
Several months later I was archiving files, including his. I wondered how he was so sent him and e-mail. He replied, “Hey, Barry. I owe you an apology. I lied to you. There was no audition. But that first session was so powerful I was scared to come back. Still, you’ll be pleased to know that I go some weeks with no drink at all and ever since I saw you I’ve never had more than one. I don’t expect you to believe me cuz I lied before but I’ll make another appointment and you can judge for yourself.”
And that’s what happened, and he was straight.