“You can’t patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid.”
Michael Connelly, The Black Echo
Imagine you have a client 49-years-old named Sally. Sally was referred to you by her lawyer for a substance assessment. Sally, during the assessment, shares she was here do to a DUI with which she had recently been charged.
Sally had always regarded herself a social drinker and had started drinking around 15-16 and always with friends on weekends around school social events. She stated alcohol had made her carefree and helped her socialize and almost always had a great time.
As she grew more comfortable in the assessment, Sally states that she had a rocky relationship with both her divorced parents, siblings and other members of the family. She felt she needed to be in control and others in the family resented her.
In particular, her relationship with her father (whom she stated was emotionally and physically abusive) caused long voids of connection in their relationship that she still struggles to overcome.
Numerous issues related to trust from the past still sever her ties with her mother. Sally suggested that she had been involved in numerous needy relationships with men that have generated enabling behaviors that have not been healthy emotionally or physically for her.
After the assessment was completed, we discussed her tendency to be in codependent relationships out of the need to be needed.
Self-esteem has been an issue most of her life. She has a tendency to be over accepting, anxious, fearful, and a worrier who has difficulty to ask for help. She has a limited view of herself and issues with self-acceptance.
Over the past four years, have become insurmountable (health/emotional) that she has become reliant on alcohol to avoid and numb the pain in her life. Sally suggests that she had become increasingly isolating but recently for a job of which she was very proud. She believed she was putting her life together.
Sally shared numerous events in her life related to her relationship with her parents that have caused diagnosed PTSD symptoms along with adjustment disorders generating anxiety and depression. The effects have her relying on prescribed medications since age 9.
Sally stated she has seen therapists along with medications to overcome the after effects of PTSD with symptoms being depression which formulated into anxiety because of her suppressed her feelings.
Sally scored having severe depression and anxiety on Burns Depression Scale and Burns Anxiety Inventory. She denies any current or historical thoughts of suicide or homicide and does not appear to be a threat to herself or others.
Sally shared that she was a hard worker with high standards of morality and, at times, adventurous. She suggested she is very hard on herself with perfectionist tendencies and has very high expectations of herself and others.
A week after meeting with Sally and feeling we were making headway, she was arrested for her second DUI.