Thursday, 16 June 2011

Why I've swapped therapy for champagne . . .

I see a therapist - I've never made any secret of it, in fact, I've worn it like a badge of pride and told anyone who'll listen that I went looking for a therapist to help me find myself. I began having therapy after living in America where therapy isn't a dirty word - it's a way of life. It helped that I had a job that financed my every whim. I actually had a mini entourage at one point. I used to think it was glamorous and humorous to tell people that I had a therapist, a personal trainer, a hairdresser and a spray tan man. I was living like a rock star, seeing the trainer three times a week, the tan man once a week and the therapist every other week. Now, in hindsight and with a depleted bank balance, If I'd have seen the therapist once a week and worked on my mind rather than my arse and tan I'd have been a lot richer and a lot more fulfilled.

My therapy sessions helped me deal with my addictive personality and my ridiculous relationship with shopping, sex, drugs & food. I'd tried, tasted, sniffed and snorted, filled my flat with clothes and possessions I never needed or wanted and ate & drank my way around the world - but nothing made me happy. I used to turn up at my therapy sessions and spend the best part of the hour in tears and I actually loved it. A friend once said that by talking to a therapist you get to star in your own mini movie. It's all about you and for a whole hour (or fifty minutes depending on the calibre of therapist) you can say, scream, cry, shout, sob or sit in stony silence. I'd never advise anyone to go to a therapy session and sit in stony silence, just find someone you really hate and go on a date with them once a week.

I used to think of my sessions as taking place in a panic room or a place in a safe house.Once I was in that room, anything could be said and I wouldn't be judged. I took to therapy like I'd taken to all my other loves and vices. I grabbed it by the throat, shook it, gave it a great big kiss and ripped it's clothes off. It ended up being my greatest love, more than Mulberry, more than cocaine and more than whomever I was dating at the time. So, in my usual manner, I gave up all the other addictions and became addicted to therapy.Way to go Danny boy - you just swapped tons of fun for an hours worth of tears.

My therapist advised me to leave my well paying, high pressured but shallow and ultimately unfulfilling job - so I did. What the therapist didn't realise was without the job, I couldn't afford the therapy so he actually ended up seeing me for free. Imagine having a therapist that either likes you so much or thinks that you need so much help that he tells you to leave your job so you have to stop paying him? Like the relationship between Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter, it became quid pro qou - the less I payed, the more of my guts I would spill. I began to think that I was actually a case study and would scour the Internet  to see if there was such a magazine as "Therapists Weekly" or "how to help the afflicted" because I was sure I'd be the centrefold, with the staples where my soul should be.

I've tried many things in the pursuit of happiness and in the last few years I've learned that you really have to give up many things to find true happiness. Letting go of the obvious stuff like material possessions has taken me the longest to deal with. I am only now getting rid of things that I have clung to for years. I've replaced my love of clothes, bags & coats with a love of eBay and the amount of stuff I have to sell is shocking. I've found things I don't ever remember buying.

I've also learned to let go of the spray tan man. My want and need for him is fading faster than my tan. Eight years of constant sunbed and spray tan has left enough residue to keep me going at least until Christmas and even then I'll still look like an overdone turkey.

The personal trainer has gone but the love of the gym remains. It's flame is not burning as bright as before but I do still need to stoke the fire at least twice a week. I've even let go of my beloved Dr Sebagh, if you're not familiar with him - google him. My therapist actually said to me a couple of weeks ago "you've come so far from "Botox Boy" who first came to see me". I didn't know whether to punch him or thank him.

There is just one more thing to let go of and it's going to be the hardest one of all. I actually do not know how to tell him but I've decided to stop having therapy. My next session will be my last and I'll then be in recovery from therapy. I don't think there are any groups or meetings to help you leave your therapist. I've googled the initials T.A (therapists anonymous) and all I found was the Territorial Army and I'm sorry, but fuck that for a game of soldiers. Camo trousers and a beret has never been my look. I want a simple, peaceful life not one where I get given a gun and a grenade.

I have already decided what I will do with the money I will save each week from not seeing my therapist. I have placed an order with Fortnum & Mason to have one bottle of their champagne delivered to my door each Friday. I feel after all the years of excess and then the years of retribution that I deserve this one small luxury, that is, of course, until I become addicted to champagne and end up back in therapy.


  1. Reminded me of Mme. Bollinger quote: "I drink champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty"

  2. I love that quote! Thank you for all your comments. Dan