Transcript of 15th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sharon Lough at California Pacific Medical Center Rehabilitation Group, San Francisco, California, Friday, May 1, 1998 at 11:00 am.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: Hi. I didn't think you'd come here again. You must be a glutton for punishment.
Dr. Balis: I wanted to check on your progress. You seem to be in better spirits.
Ms. Lough: They put me on clonidine. I didn't know that they gave drugs to recovering addicts.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: My compulsive knitting has abated. I was hoping to churn out several pairs of socks, maybe even argyles for a real challenge, but now all I want to do is watch insipid shows on the television. I can't believe the mind-numbing drivel that's on daytime TV. And what's worse is that I'm addicted to it.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: It's interesting to watch bad television with deeply disturbed people--I just watch their reactions. It's kind of like watching second-run movies at a double-feature theater in a bad part of town where the homeless hang out.
Dr. Balis: Have you participated in any of the group sessions?
Ms. Lough: Yes, Doctor, I have.
Dr. Balis: Good. Do you think you've gained anything from them?
Ms. Lough: I'm an extremely self-absorbed person, so I always think that what I have to say is far more interesting than anyone else's comments. And being arrogant and selfish, not to mention painfully inarticulate, I refrain from commenting.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: So group therapy has had mixed results. But I am attending the sessions.
Dr. Balis: I'd like you to continue going to the group meetings. It might be more helpful that you realize.
Ms. Lough: The food here really sucks.
Dr. Balis: Institutional cuisine often leaves much to be desired. You won't have to endure it much longer.
Ms. Lough: Do you mean I'm getting out soon?
Dr. Balis: Your two-week stay is almost up.
Ms. Lough: You better not be teasing me about this.
Dr. Balis: I've always tried to be honest with you, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: It seems like I've been here an eternity. It feels more like two months, not two weeks.
Dr. Balis: Do you think it's been beneficial for you to be here?
Ms. Lough: Yes, Doctor. I feel like a new and improved person. Thank you so much for this life-changing opportunity to better myself.
Dr. Balis: For some reason, I doubt your sincerity.
Ms. Lough: I have to be sincere, too?
Dr. Balis: Just be honest with me, Sharon. It won't affect your release date.
Ms. Lough: I'm inclined not to believe that. But I guess I do feel better now. It's a relief not to have the burden of drug addiction, though I do miss it.
Dr. Balis: What do you miss?
Ms. Lough: I miss driving with my headphones on, blasted out of my mind. I was listening to the NPR radio show, "Fresh Air," KQED-FM. Peter Coyote was being interviewed, and he discussed his drug use, which included heroin. He said that it was the ritual he enjoyed most: scoring drugs, cooking them, loading up the syringe, tying up his arm to get the vein bulging, putting the needle in. It made me think of how many times I had done that, usually on the floor of a dirty bathroom. It was like I could steal away from the rest of the world into my own.
Dr. Balis: You actually enjoyed the act of injecting yourself with drugs?
Ms. Lough: Yes, I did.
Dr. Balis: That seems to be the unpleasant part of drug use.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, I guess to a non-user it would seem that way.
Dr. Balis: And you drove while under the influence? Frequently?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, I really liked driving when I was high. I got lost a lot, though.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Did you feel a craving for drugs after you heard that interview?
Ms. Lough: Yeah. Well, the clonidine seems to help, but I still miss them. I wish I hadn't heard the interview. That was the problem with twelve-step programs for me. In those meetings, you have to listen to people tell "glory day" stories of their drug use. There's this atmosphere of one-upmanship going on--each person tries to tell a more fantastic story, a more extreme tale of self-destruction. And rather than giving me an aversion to drug use, these meetings made me want to go out and get high again.
Dr. Balis: I see. So you have some experience with twelve-step programs?
Ms. Lough: I don't think they helped.
Dr. Balis: I see. Has Rob been in to see you?
Ms. Lough: Yeah. I kind of wish he hadn't.
Dr. Balis: Why is that?
Ms. Lough: I don't know. I feel guilty when I see him, for some reason. I was hoping not to get too many visitors. Do you know who else came to see me? That woman I work with--the big one, who eats all those M&M's.
Dr. Balis: Really?
Ms. Lough: I wonder how she knew I was here? I didn't tell anyone from work. I hope you didn't tell the human resources person at SII.
Dr. Balis: No, Sharon. All information relating to your stay here is confidential.
Ms. Lough: I wonder how she found out? She really is annoying. I hate perky people, especially grossly obese perky people. I've nicknamed her "Godzilla." She did bring me a box of candy, though, which was kind of nice, I must admit.
Dr. Balis: I'm sure people at work are concerned about you.
Ms. Lough: They never exhibited any concern for me before. What do they know about this?
Dr. Balis: Nothing, as far as I know. Nothing, unless you've told them.
Ms. Lough: I haven't talked to anyone about this, except Rob. It's really bugging me! How did Godzilla find out?
Dr. Balis: Don't obsess about it, Sharon. She was just expressing her concern.
Ms. Lough: She's getting grist for the gossip mill, no doubt.
Dr. Balis: Are you looking forward to going back to SII?
Ms. Lough: No. Are you kidding? I couldn't stand going back there without being stoned.
Dr. Balis: I suggest you try it, at least for the short term. It would be good for you to have some stability in your life. It's not a good idea to make drastic changes when you're this vulnerable. Recovery can be a very delicate period.
Ms. Lough: Yeah.
Dr. Balis: You should be released tomorrow; do you have someone to take you home?
Ms. Lough: I can take myself home.
Dr. Balis: Why not have Rob pick you up? I'm sure he won't mind.
Ms. Lough: He'll drag me to some restaurant and force me to eat. Though at this point, I wouldn't mind a decent meal.
Dr. Balis: Give him a call. I don't want you going home alone.
Ms. Lough: Don't trust me, huh?
Dr. Balis: It's generally recommended that a patient leaving any sort of facility be escorted home. You might not be in the best condition to drive.
Ms. Lough: And I'll be working at SII starting next week?
Dr. Balis: Yes, if you feel ready.
Ms. Lough: I'm as ready as I'll ever be.
Dr. Balis: Good. I'll be seeing you in my office next week, at our regular time.
Ms. Lough: All right. Thanks, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: You're welcome. Goodbye, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: Bye.
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Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Sharon Lough's Transcripts Transcripts of Sharon Lough's Communications
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