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Ask the Rock Doc: 
Sound Advice for a Song 
By psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. B.L.T. 

**** Phantom Tollbooth readers: For a free copy of The Rock Doc's musical prescription for the following musician in distress, contained in the retro-rock Dr. B.L.Tune, 

Your White Christmas, and in the original Christmas song, 
The Baby is a King, click the link below: 
**** Names, details and mode of inquiry may be altered in the following correspondence to protect the confidentiality of the inquiring party.  

Your White Christmas: The Sad Story of 'Cocaine' and 'Able' 

Dear Rock Doc: 

I'll come right out and say it:  I've become two people ever since I began using cocaine.  You probably have some fancy clinical name for it, but I'm just like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde since I began to dabble with cocaine.  Believe it or not, I am a Christian, that is if God isn't about to disown me.  

Ordinarily, I'm quite a "together" person.  I am married.  I have two kids.  I hold down a steady job in the real estate business.  On top of all that, I've been playing in "Slow Ride," a 70s retro rock band for the past eight years.  

All of my clients, fellow real estate agents, and certain people in the music industry see only one side of me. They see a perfect man.  The same can be said about people I interact with at church.  I even had my wife and kids fooled until recently and I'm very ashamed of hiding my habit from them.  I was able to hide the problem from everyone except my bandmates until about one week ago.  I was forced to sell my car and tell my wife and kids they would be lucky to get enough food this Christmas, let alone any fancy Christmas dinner or expensive gifts.  It broke my heart because my wife and kids love Christmas.  I am afraid that at anytime now, my wife is going to ask for a divorce.  She was devastated when I finally broke down and admitted my drug problem and she has been cold, and hostile to me ever since.  

I still have a grip at my job, and I'm selling a lot of houses.  Up until recently, it's what allowed me to support my family, plus pay for my cocaine habit.  

It's really just the money thing that has me worried, that and losing my wife and kids over this.  Otherwise, I'm still able to keep my head above water.  Up until now, I've been turning to another rock doc, but all he gives me is rock cocaine.  I could use a little advice from you to bale me out of this crazy habit and the crisis that I find myself in as the Christmas season approaches.

Dear 'Cocaine' and 'Able' 

Since you are a church-going Christian, you've probably come across the story of Cain and Abel, the first set of brothers to walk the face of the earth.  They were faced with a crisis and a brewing conflict that ultimately led to the death of Abel.  It all started when God blessed Abel for an animal sacrifice drawn from the finest of his flocks, while rejecting Cain's offering of grain, an offering that was presented grudgingly.  

I don't believe the story was designed to pit vegetarians against meat-eaters.  God accepted Abel's gift because it came from his heart.  Cain began to resent Abel because he had found favor with God, while Cain knew only God's rejection of his offering. He ended up letting his anger turn to unbridled hostility and ultimately killed Abel.

Like these biblical characters of yore, you are in the midst of killing the 'able' side of yourself with 'cocaine.'  I suspect that there is a side of yourself that you resent-a side of yourself that you want to destroy.  Why else would you allow yourself to take in poisoning levels of a substance that has the power to stimulate you right to the point of cardiac arrest?  Why else would you irritate your nasal septum to the point where you're nose is probably constantly inflamed and possibly dripping twenty four hours a day? Why else would you take in a substance that can radically deplete your body of its required nutrients, ultimately leading to massive malnourishment?  Why would you want to subject your wife, your kids, and yourself to the irritability and wild mood swings that usually accompany such a dependence on cocaine, due to the disruption in reuptake of dopamine and other important neurotransmitters?  Why would you want to walk around feeling paranoid all the time?  Why would you dramatically disrupt your life by causing your mind to mimic a psychotic condition?  Why would you want the depression, the fluctuation in appetite, the anxiety, the sleeping difficulties, the agitation, the depletion of energy?  Financial problems are the least of the problems you have brought upon yourself.  You are clearly on the road to self-destruction.  

I am only pointing to a scenario of gloom and doom because I am hoping that seeing the darkness up close and personal will make your spiritual and psychological eyes more sensitive to the light. Cocaine is hard to beat.  

Start by giving up any sort of denial or minimization of the problem.  You are on the verge of losing everything, perhaps even your life itself.  You are in danger, and in need of rescue.  

God is stronger than cocaine, but you will need to humble yourself before God and acknowledge your hopeless, helpless state before you can receive his strength. God has the power to heal and deliver those in bondage instantaneously, in accordance with our faith.  But our lack of faith, and/or His desire to use the gifts of others to demonstrate his healing power, often leads him to work through the medical community, through trained professionals, and through recovered addicts who have overcome their addiction. There are a number of behavioral, cognitive and psychosocial interventions available, and, if you let me know where you are located, I can help you find them.  They say that behavioral strategies, involving the application of relapse prevention techniques are most effective, but in the long run, you will need a form of treatment that leads to not only superficial behavioral changes but enduring psychological and spiritual ones.  In addition to Gestalt or psychodynamic psychotherapy, group therapy can also be effective towards that end. I would recommend finding a therapist or group therapy facilitator that holds to the same Christian principles that once guided your life.  Constantly reach out to others, and to God, through prayer and scripture.  There is a lot to flush out, besides the toxic residue of the drug itself.  I wouldn't wish your White Christmas on anybody.  
This may not be the merriest of Christmases for you and your family, so I don't wish you a Merry Christmas.  I do wish you a meaningful Christmas, and season of surrender to the savior-the one who came to this world as a baby, to "deliver us from evil." He will not "lead you into temptation," if you call upon him earnestly and humbly. 
Listen to the warning contained in the musical prescription I am about to give you.  You can find it in a song called, “Your White Christmas” at the link cited above.  But don't stop there.  Once you have heard “Your White Christmas,” listen to “The Baby is a King.”  That song is introduced in an effort to add the essential ingredient of hope to the dire warning I give you through my reply and through the first song.  In the end, I am confident that God will strengthen your 'able' side and your 'able' side will conquer your 'cocaine' side.  After you have followed my suggestions, please write me back and let me know how you are doing.  

Take it from me-Dr. B.L.T. 

If you are among the musically-minded in distress, write Dr. B.L.T., the Rock Doc at 

Dr. BLT, aka Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, is a Christ-centered licensed clinical psychologist and university instructor who specializes in the psychology of modern music.  He uses his original songs as well as those of other artists to address the problems of his patients, including his biggest, sickest, most challenging patient--society.

His face and name recognition, particularly with teens, comes from his short part on a long Cake music video--the Cake video for “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” that earned the band a nomination for Ground Breaking Music Video of the Year on the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. 



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