My journey toward becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist was not exactly a stroll down a bed of roses. It started out fine, as most of our stories do. Then life gets in the way…
As a kid, my upbringing and childhood were great. I was raised in a safe, middle-class suburb east of the Bay Area. My family was pretty stable, though we did have our share of dysfunction (what family doesn’t). I am the second of three children (yes, the dreaded middle child) from a family whose parents stayed married until my father died. We had nice home and the best dog and cat ever. I have nothing to complain about.
My father worked more hours than I would have liked him to, he didn’t make it to all of my games, but in my mind I believed that he was working hard for our family. As an adult I have been able to reconcile that what led him to work so much was his desire for my siblings and me to live a comfortable life and have the opportunities that were not afforded him.
My mother was a stay-at-home mom for most of my childhood. When I was about 13 years old when I realized that she was an alcoholic. I was pretty good at ignoring this, save the all too embarrassing Holiday gatherings with our extended family. As an adult I learned more about my mother’s very difficult childhood and teen years, including her mother’s tragic death. Knowing more about my mom’s life I was able to make peace with her shortcomings, knowing that she just could not face the pain and losses that life had brought her.
Now, about not having rose pedals comforting my feet…
It was a dark, bitterly-cold January evening in 2006 when I sat across the table from my wife at a TGI Friday’s in Eastern Washington. We were having one of those conversations that married couples need to have once or twice a year, one of those “what’s next?”, or “where is life taking us?” conversations. I had just completed the toughest year of my life and I need this talk. I had walked through my darkest months with a fantastic therapist, Doug, who helped me to reconcile my marriage and to make peace with the loss of my dream. I remember looking at my wife and speaking the words that would change my life:
“I want to help people like Doug helped me…”
I was experiencing a life change right then and there.