I’m Not a Guru, a Doctor or a Cult Leader

by Bill Brenner on June 20, 2012

I’ve been getting an increase in messages asking me for advice on how to deal with family challenges and addiction. Whenever that happens, I start to get a little scared. Not for me, but for you.

Mood music:


One of my relatives recently suggested I shouldn’t be telling people what to do, that I am not a doctor or a drug counselor. She’s right, but I was also a bit floored by that because that’s not what I see myself doing. I simply write about my own experiences and how I deal with them — successfully or not. I tell you how I live, but my goal isn’t how to tell you how you should live.

Despite that, I often get messages asking for very specific advice on how to deal with certain problems. I appreciate the faith you put in me, but I need you all to remember a few things:

  • I’m not a guru. If your goal is to be more like me, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I’m just a flawed human like you, trying 24/7 to make my way through life without hurting myself or others. True, I’m better at that than I used to be. But no two people are the same, and you have to find your own way. If my posts help you do that, I’m glad. But if I’m your only source, you got problems, because I still screw up every day.
  • I’m not a doctor. If I were, I’d probably be in jail for killing patients. Not on purpose, but because I have no idea what it takes to be a doctor. I know what I need in a doctor and have written about that, and I know what medications work for me and don’t. But only a real doctor can tell you what you need. Trust me, I’m not that guy.
  • I’m not a cult leader. When people come to me for advice like I’m some Jedi master, I start to worry about cult leader syndrome, that if I’m not careful, with both feet planted on the ground, I’ll start to believe what people say about me having all this wisdom and insight. People who get high on the advice seekers end up starting cults the way Charles Manson. If you’re looking for direction in life, my posts might give you some ideas. But my way is never the way.

If you have questions for me, please continue to ask away. Just don’t expect the answers to your problems.

That said, Erin and I are building a resources section in this blog, where we’ll offer a collection of links for everything from dealing with children’s issues to addiction. Those links will take you to the real experts. We’re hoping to launch that section very soon. I’ll keep you posted.

Charles Manson

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Stella June 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I used to ask people a lot what I should do. Whenever something unexpected happened in my life, I used to go to various forums and discussion boards and post about my problems there. Eventually I had to create new accounts with new names because I had simply posted too many topics and was ashamed of myself. I thought I have no idea what I want in life and what I want to do with my life.
But then I realised, no matter what I had asked, I only payed attention to the answers that pleased me and ignored the ones that I didn’t like. Conclusion? I always new what I wanted. I just lacked the self-confidence to actually DO what I want and therefore I needed approvement from other people.
Therefore I believe that the people who ask for advice actually know the answers themselves, they might just want to get approval from others, mostly the ones they admire a lot.

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