A note from Jim
8 Steps to Therapy - KINDLE (order)
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Therapy”, follows the friendship of two characters, Michael and Jim. One morning
Jim finds himself on the brink of suicide. Just as Jim is about to pull the
trigger something compels him to reach out for help.
He calls his
friend Michael. From this point on, Michael leads Jim into the world of
intensive therapy. Jim learns how to cope with the everyday pressures that life
brings through the tools that Michael offers. Three tools specifically play a
big role in Jim’s recovery. The book culminates with ‘8-steps’ that anyone can
follow if they choose the road to recovery.
“I’m in bad shape Michael. Can you come out to my house?” I asked Michael
that Saturday morning.
“I’ll be right there,” he replied, without hesitation.
And show up, he did.
It was a beautiful Saturday morning in October. Chicago usually had cold,
rainy, Scotland-type-Octobers. Not today. The breeze was gentle andthe sky
sunny. Guilty sunny. The type of sun that ate at my gut and said, “You’ve been
partying all night long. You’ll miss out on me today, because you’ll be sleeping
it off. You should be ashamed of yourself!”
If there’s one thing I can
remember from those past days, it was the shame. This single emotion was my
guide and parent for much of my life. It kept me in line, reigned me in, and
told me when to talk and when to SHUT UP. It sat on mountains of anger, pushing
the anger further and further down so it was indistinguishable from other
emotions. Shame re-arranged my emotions like a brain surgeon. An evil brain
surgeon. Working meticulously in the background day after day, silently
re-wiring my internal circuits.
Excerpt no. 2
“Jim, I want to tell you about something I’ve been doing the past year and a
half. I know we haven’t seen each other much lately and I’m sure I look
different physically different different to you.”
“You bet I notice,” I said wiping away some tears. “What did you do to
yourself? You look like you lost 50 pounds?”
“I didn’t want to shove any of this down your throat. I know we’ve known each
other for a long time, but I’ve been on a very personal journey and it’s not
something I share with many people, because they just seem disinterested.
However I can see you're hurting bad. Bad enough to want to die. So maybe I
should share what I’ve been doing this past year-and-a-half?” He finished.
“That may be a good idea Michael.” I said as I got up and invited him into my
living room to sit on the couch.
He obliged and followed me in.
“The journey I chose to take, Jim, is not for the faint of heart. It takes
courage and the desire to live a different life than the one you are living
now”, Michael started.
“Anything is better than what I’m living now, Mike.” I interjected.
“You say that now Jim, because you’re hurting. I’m not belittling you; in
fact it’s good that you are hurting. When someone gets to the amount of pain you
are in now, they can either die or change.
What I’m trying to relate is
that my journey is painful also. However there is an end to my journey as
opposed to your end. The end you were contemplating when I arrived,” Mike
Each item on the cover represents something.
area for the Cover
"The very moment we attempt the flattening out of the Sun's symbolic meanings
for our own purposes—by declaring with surety that the Sun is this one single
thing—it suddenly confounds us by becoming yet another unknown third thing."
Jung, the Triangle,
"The astrological elements are symbols for four different ways of relating to
and understanding the world the individual lives in. Individuals mainly
influenced by the element of fire relate to people and things in terms of the
opportunities these might mean for themselves and their lives. Signs that belong
to the same element lie in the aspect , trine, to
one another. This creates a basis for harmony, approachability, and
understanding. According to the trend in modern astrology toward Jungian
psychoanalysis, one or more of these perceptionary [sic] elements are dominant
in an individual, while the others are linked to the subconscious complex called
the shadow, a person of the same sex characterized by despicable and
contemptuous qualities. The shadow is often symbolized by Saturn, ,
in the birth chart.
"41a:36 · (The most
common sign for the planet Uranus). This graph for Uranus is based on the letter
H from the name of Sir William Herschel, who discovered this planet in 1781. The
occurred at approximately the same time as the beginnings of one of the greatest
upheavals in the present cycle of human civilization on our planet, the French
Revolution. Before, the planetary system's outer limit, which had also marked
the outer limit of the human life and the material existence, had been for many
thousands of years , Saturn,
"Before the French Revolution it was taken for granted that there existed a
higher class of human beings, the aristocracy, appointed by God to rule over the
lower classes. The discovery of this planet came as a shock, and not only for
astronomers and astrologers (the latter did not recover until the twentieth
century in the West). Even today, astrologers in India refuse to acknowledge the
existence of the three outer planets.
"As a result Uranus has come to symbolize total and sudden change or
upheaval, unpredictability, modern science, anarchy and the destruction of the
established order. The planet Uranus is encircled by half a dozen moons. It
distinguishes itself from the other planets in our system by the fact that its
rotational axis lies almost parallel with the sun's equatorial plane. It is the
third largest planet after
and . Its volume
would contain 50 earths, and it takes 84 years to orbit the sun.
the electric impulses in the nervous system. In mundane astrology Uranus rules
over astrologers, occultists, inventors, and those who are connected
to aviation, spacecraft,electronics, and modern scientific breakthroughs. Such
things as computers, electronics, and space technology are all ruled by this
"The keywords for
1. intuition, inspiration, ‘the sixth sense’;
2. the breaking of old ideologies, ideas, and structures;
3. bohemians, hippies, dropouts, and anarchists;
4. revolution and humanism; and
5. energy that is directed toward attaining higher consciousness.
The planet Uranus is also drawn and .
The sign is sometimes
used as a military sign to denote a howitzer, a heavy long-range gun or cannon."
"The planet Saturn was known already some 6,000 years ago and has, until the
French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century, represented the
outermost boundary of the planetary system, and a measure when calculating long
periods of time. The planet Saturn uses approximately 29 earth years to orbit
the sun. Therefore a human lifespan can be said to be two, or at the very most
three of this planet's orbits in the zodiac. Partly for this reason Saturn is
associated with Death and theReaper, the skeleton in black hood with a scythe
who reaps men and women when their time is up.
"Astrologically Saturn has become a symbol for implacable powers, restrictions
impossible to overcome, relentless natural forces and the hard, fixed structures
of the world of matter.
"Saturn only brings sorrow and deprivation in those areas of a person's life
that are based on illusions or unrealistic expectations. Saturn represents the
unrelenting aspect of reality that forces the individual to abandon all ideas
that are not based on a realistic perception of the material conditions of life.
"A child is protected by his or her parents from physical and psychological
harm. But for self-fulfillment the child must at some time free himself from
this protective shield, its parents. Astrologers suggest that the inner being,
the self, in a similar way is protected by the personality, the psychological
structure enveloping the self, spirit, inner being, or true individual. Through
the imaginations, conceptions, and games of the personality, the inner being is
protected until that protection is no longer needed and becomes a hindrance for
self-fulfillment. Once this stage of development has been reached the outer
shell must be broken. The position of Saturn in an individual's natal chart or
horoscope reveals the way in which the protective shell will break, the price
that has to be paid for the freedom necessary for further development, and the
pain that has to be endured during the process of really becoming a grown-up, a
kind of rebirth. If the implications of Saturn are ignored, the planet becomes
precisely the symbol of deprivations, inhibitions, and hardship just mentioned.
"What Robert Hand has to say in this respect is most enlightening: 'Every time
we do what is untrue to our nature, acting not from a real necessity but rather
to fulfill what others may expect of us, we commit a crime against ourselves
that is peculiarly Saturnine. We move a bit toward death, more of our potential
becomes actual, and what is actual does not express what we are.'"
* * *
Furthermore on the Cover
I can also define the cover, as a representation of what an individual, when in
therapy, must overcome.
For example, if we look at Saturn:
"Saturn has become a symbol for implacable powers, restrictions impossible to
overcome, relentless natural forces and the hard, fixed structures of the world
This pertains to the psychological state of someone entering therapy. They will
need to overcome things once thought impossible to overcome. They will have to
overcome that implacable part of the self. That part that is so rigid and
ruthless it just can't let go of the old behaviors. They used those behaviors to
survive, at one time. However they must let go of them now and travel to Uranus.
That is the goal. Getting to Uranus.
They must understand that to reach the planet Uranus, the outer shell of their
emotions, which they once used as a defense system, must be broken.
To get to the planet Uranus (Inner-peace), you will use all the keywords that
represent this planet. Destruction of the established order (knocking down the
walls of your defense mechanisms). Using your intuition and finding
your inspiration. The breaking of old ideologies, ideas, and structures (the way
you used to do things). Revolutionizing your emotions.
The triangle represents harmony, approachability, and understanding. In therapy
you must apply all three and direct that application inward. In doing so, you
will stop beating yourself up mentally and abusing yourself physically.
I used the Sun on the cover for several reasons. I worked with a Jungian
therapist for a long time. Jung had a profound effect on me. His definition of
the Sun, in my opinion, is a message. That message says we can heal our
emotional problems and come out the other side not needing to understand
The two people in the middle of the triangle reaching for the star represent
community. Only with others' help can we truly heal. When I went through
played a huge role in my healing process.
The infinity sign means, 'never give up'.
Carl Gustav Jung
Swiss psychiatrist, one of the founding fathers of modern depth psychology.
Jung's most famous concept, the collective unconscious, has had a deep influence
not only on psychology but also on philosophy and the arts. Jung's break with
Sigmund Freud is one of the famous stories in the early history of
psychoanalytic thought. More than Freud, Jung has inspired the New Age movement
with his interest in occultism, Eastern religions, the I Ching, and mythology.
Myth's Aside, What is 8-Steps to Therapy
It's been 7 years since I wrote "8-Steps". Finally, I've gotten around
to building this web page. All of the information above, on this web page, was
written back then. However, I wanted to put this note in to tell you, the
reader, where the idea came from to write this book. I don't remember if I've
ever written about how I came to write "8-Steps" and haven't found anything in
my writing folders about this subject. Thought I'd get it down before senility
I wrote "8-Steps" as a follow-up book to "From the
Pits to the Pits". Instead of listing all the therapists and practitioners
who helped me, then, detailing the therapeutic work intricately, as I did in
"Pits", I wanted to create a story that flowed
mythically. I was really into Carl Jung at the time and reading gobs of
information about him. Some of my main therapy work was centered on Jung's
teaching. One of my therapist's holds a doctorate in Jungian therapy and I
really understood his work and the way she taught Jung, to me.
"8-Steps" is a story that combines all the people who helped my
recover, from alcoholism & drug abuse, and places all of them into one
character. I named that character, Michael. I also pictured Michael as my life
long friend, Dan Brennan, who was the person I called the morning I was going to
commit suicide. As I wrote the story I pictured Dan (Michael) as all of my
therapists, body therapists, psychologists, and group-therapy friends, all
wrapped up inside Dan; an all-wise sage character. Then, I named him Michael,
simply because I love the name.
I hope you enjoy the book.