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The long slow road out of Hell is not a straight climb. It entails a lot of backtracking and false roads that lead to dead ends. For every five steps gained, there is another three steps back. It entails such pride-eroding things such as hearings before a judge, jail time, court ordered addiction treatment, supervised visits from the Department of Human Services, divorce court hearings, and, my personal favorite, mental health sessions. Dr. Lisa Carlson had been my counselor for the past several years while I slowly and painfully put the broken pieces of my life back into some kind of semblance of normalcy. And so now we come to the real part where our story begins. The part I’ll call the “first session”. Of course, it wasn’t our first session together; but it was the first session where she used hypnotherapy to try and see if it would yield favorable results for my struggle with addiction.

The goal was to have me enter a relaxed state where she would ask a series of questions about the root causes of my addictions and then give me a series of subconscious commands that would, over time, help me to overcome those urges. I listened to her soothing voice as she talked me through several exercises designed to slip me out of a conscious state and into a deep trance-like state. It was truly relaxing and I felt as though I were being drawn into a warm cocoon of bliss with layer upon layer of silky wrappings enfolding me one atop the other. Deeper and deeper I fell into warm, cozy nothingness. And then the next thing I remember is waking violently as the tentacles of the Merklor began to dig through the shells of the cocoon trying to reach me.

I found myself writhing and screaming upon the couch in Dr. Carlson’s office as if I were trying to throw off the grasp of some unseen foe. As I gained my senses and realized where I was, I looked at Dr. Carlson and froze in terror. She sat looking at me with the exact same expression upon her own face.

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