The names Jesse Pinkman and Walter White were popular shout-outs these last few weeks in therapy. With the ending of the “Breaking Bad” television series many are surprised by how much investment of care and concern they developed for the two characters.
References to movies and television occur often in therapy, but not since the ending of HBO’s series “The Sopranos” has a show consistently prompted so much transference by people. The honest portrayal of the multi-layered struggle of a drug involved life from abuser to dealer allowed those who have little understanding to gain a glance inside that world.
Throughout the show you can’t help but love, hate, be angry with, and want to cheerlead Jesse Pinkman. Even in its ending the mixture of emotions viewers are left with for Jesse are much like the roller coaster of loving an addict, his hands on that steering wheel feeling freedom with no guarantees.
In our communities, we are still learning how to love and let go when it comes to helping people in recovery.
The efforts have varied. Some have chosen to register to watch the documentary “The Anonymous People” next month at the Showplace 16 theatre in Naperville.
Others are looking to the launching of parentsmattertoo.org, a platform for parents to find videos and events where they can gather and be more informed on how to look for signs of drug use in their kids.
Providers, too, have appreciated the tools from resources such as Kelly G. Wilson’s book “The Wisdom to Know the Difference.” The workbook allows for treatment providers to find worksheets and mindfulness strategies to assist in teaching recovery individuals to hold their stories lightly while identifying their values in sobriety.
Whichever way we turn it continues to be important to turn towards a willingness to allow room for uncomfortable moments that come with recovery work while being mindful of the present moment we have to choose differently going forward.
Take the risk in something as small as Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-31 to choose to be uncomfortable in your corner of the world. Educate yourself through a new television show, commit to a small event, try a new therapy intervention in your program, be uncomfortable for a few minutes while doing one small thing differently in the service of valuing our community’s recovery. Think of Jesse Pinkman and make a change yourself.
Stephanie Willis is president of Willis Counseling & Consulting, a private group therapy practice in Naperville and Chicago. She can be reached at www.williscc.com and 630-481-6463.