Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 05/08/98

Saturday, May 2, 1998

Sunday, May 3, 1998

Monday, May 4, 1998

4 pm. Fourteenth Session with Olivia Stillwell. Olivia came in almost bubbling with euphoric happiness. She's relieved because the the child that Steffy's dog attacked was not seriously hurt and the parents have decided not to seek damages, even though the dog might have to be euthanized. She found her secret admirer--it's Brad, the cross dresser in her group. He was the one who sent her the cryptic musical messages. I'm not certain that he's interested in pursuing a romantic attachment to Olivia or not, but I decided not to push the point. And she's happy that her father has officially dropped the civil action he was pursuing against her attackers. She asked him why and he told her that he couldn't seek vengeance for himself after he saw how it was tearing her apart. Her father also met a woman named Kelly whom he seems to be serious about. Olivia feels that's good news as well. Olivia believes that she has addressed the original issues which brought her into therapy, and she'd like to begin wrapping it up. I suggested that we make her sessions once every other week and that she put together a list of areas that we might work on so that we have both an agenda and some goals for the rest of our sessions together.

Tuesday, May 5, 1998

4 pm. Fourth Session with Lisa Benjamin. Lisa told me that she is exhausted from working two jobs. Although she did describe a physically demanding schedule, I suspect that her exhaustion stems, in part, from the high emotional price she must pay to work in "The Booth." The Lusty Lady offers two venues for its customers. One is a stage show where Lisa dances naked alone or with her co-workers. The other is a higher paying location where the dancer is one-on-one with the customer, although separated by a pane of glass. Lisa described it as prostitution through the glass--the women perform whatever sexual acts are demanded by the customers, as long as they keep paying their five dollars for each three minutes. It's pretty seamy and Lisa maintains that, even though she is often terribly depressed after working in the booth, she is interested in exploring the dark areas of her life right now. She also uses self exploration as a justification to keep taking methamphetamines, although she also tries to justify it as a work-related necessity. I am disturbed by how Lisa looks, and I can't write it off to her busy schedule--she has that slight drug haze which is a combination of dilated pupils and lack of affect. Her drug intake, however, she sees as normal. She described youthful experimentation with psilocybin and marijuana, although she says that she stayed away from cocaine and the "harder" drugs. Her infatuation with speed--she admits that she likes it a lot--seems a lot stronger than she's willing to admit. Lisa described an incident at work where she said that she blew up at a customer as she was coming down from speed. She was working the booth and the customer requested that she masturbate for him. Lisa prides herself on never having an actual orgasm in front of a customer--that's too personal. But on this occasion, the customer seemed like he was trying to get her to do just that. And finally she did, in a quiet way. She hoped he wouldn't notice, but she saw him gloating. That's when she got very upset--she was furious that he had won their little duel. She called him an asshole and he just left. She said that she felt like a piece of her went out the door with him. I urged her to both stop taking the drugs and to cease working in the booth for the time being. She agreed that working the booth was too draining, and she said that after tonight she will curtail her time there.

Wednesday, May 6, 1998

5 pm. Forty-Fourth Session with Alex Rozzi. Luke turned up at his father's house in Carmel. His father had a medical emergency and Luke, whose car broke down at Fort Point just after catching Alex and Camille together, went to Carmel by bus. I believe Alex is quite relieved to discover that Luke is alive, but Luke and Alex are still estranged. Alex is confused about his sexual preference after finding himself sexually attracted to Camille. He seems to feel that he either likes men or he like women, and there're no other possibilities. I tried to explain that sexual attraction is a complex continuum and that people can be attracted to one gender or the other for a whole series of reasons, none of which necessarily remain stable. He interpreted what I said as a suggestion that he was bisexual, which seemed even more repugnant to him than the notion of being heterosexual. For the moment, he has decided to resolve the situation by choosing abstinence until he gets everything sorted out in his head. Alex also has given up smoking marijuana, at least for now. He believes that marijuana made him stupid--it certainly made him less sensitive to what others were thinking or feeling, and it was devestating to his relationships. Alex did look better during this session than he has in recent weeks. The circles under his eyes aren't as prevalent and the glassy look is gone. Alex's emotions respecting Benny and Joe are both charged and volatile. I just have to mention either of the two of them, and Alex bubbles forth with tears. And despite Alex's expressed admonition to me not to relive his past, I think it is increasingly obvious that we have to work together to help Alex overcome the anguish he feels when he thinks about those two relationships.

Thursday, May 7, 1998

4 pm. Seventy-Ninth Session with Anna Green. Kathy showed up on Anna's doorstep last Monday claiming that she had no other place to go and Anna is allowing her to stay in the house with her. I knew that Anna hadn't escaped all the emotional consequences of her threesome with Martin and Kathy, but I thought she had succeeded in physcially extricating herself from Martin and Kathy. But Kathy is manipulative and Anna is ripe for manipulation. The situation is dismal. Although Anna believes that Kathy is going to move out any day, the truth is that Kathy has no apartment, apparently has no money, and has no employment. Kathy doesn't want to face her family. Anna feels somewhat responsible for Kathy's problems with Martin. Kathy will ruthlessly exploit whatever sympathetic feelings that Anna has towards her. Anna says that Kathy has been having recurring nightmares since the abortion--horrors about dismembered babies. When Kathy sought sympathy from Martin, he was not helpful. But I remember that Martin was furious with Kathy when she had the abortion. He was shocked when he found out that the baby was not suffering from Down's syndrome. As I recall, Martin expressed that he was almost at the point of physical violence towards Kathy. Under those circumstances, Martin would not be likely to be helpful consoling Kathy over the emotional consequences of that particular decision. Anna doesn't like Martin now, and neither does Kathy. Together, in an interesting dynamic, they solidify and amplify each other's negative opinions.

Friday, May 8, 1998

10 am. Sixteenth Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon clearly made substantial progress in her drug rehab group. She still maintains her caustic wit, but she's a lot more perceptive about her own situation. I believe that she is now grateful to be off of drugs. She does not reject out-of-hand the Rational Recovery group that she's joined. Sharon professes to having a very short tolerance for new-age psychology or religious dogma, both of which she feels are associated with Alcoholics Anonymous. Sharon is also beginning to feel certain yearnings to become sexually active again with a partner of her choice. She is having a sexual affair with Rob, but he clearly disgusts her. She's in the relationship strictly for the financial benefits it provides. She sees herself as a maid with whom Rob can have sex. Apparently, Rob is quite fat and not scrupulous about his personal hygiene. He seems to admire hippos, and Sharon makes much of the similarity between hippos and Rob. But the fact that she is sexually involved with Rob makes it difficult for her to consider other opportunities for romance.

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