The Cactus – A Teaching Tale from Milton Erickson

An alcoholic who came to Erickson felt he was a hopeless case. His parents were alcoholics, his grandparents on both sides were drinkers, even his wife and brother were alcoholics.

Book cover for "My Voice Will Go With You"

In addition, the man’s working environment and friends encouraged a hard drinking lifestyle.

Instead of sending the man to Alcoholics Anonymous, Erickson suggested something quite unusual.

He asked the man to go to the local botanical gardens and just sit and contemplate the flourishing cactus plants, which “could go for three years without water and not die.”

The image obviously was a powerful that somehow resonated with the man because both he and his wife stopped drinking alcohol.

THIS TALE IS FEATURED IN:
MY VOICE WILL GO WITH YOU – THE TEACHING TALES OF MILTON ERICKSON – EDITED AND WITH COMMENTARY BY SIDNEY ROSEN.