I don't want to be the filler if the void is solely yours
I don't want to be your glass of single malt whiskey
Hidden in the bottom drawer and
I don't want to be a bandage if the wound is not mine
Lend me some fresh air
I don't want to be adored for what I merely represent to you
I don't want to be your babysitter
You're a very big boy now
I don't want to be your mother
I didn't carry you in my womb for nine months
Show me the back door

Visiting hours are nine to five and if I show up at ten past six
Well, I already know that you'd find some way to sneak me in and oh
Mind the empty bottle with the holes along the bottom
You see it's too much to ask for and I am not the doctor

I don't want to be the sweeper of the egg shells that you walk upon
And I don't want to be your other half, I believe that one and one make two
I don't want to be your food or the light from the fridge on your face
At midnight, hey
What are you hungry for?
I don't want to be the glue that holds your pieces together
I don't want to be your idol
See this pedestal is high and I'm afraid of heights
I don't want to be lived through
A vicarious occasion
Please open the window

Visiting hours are nine to five and if I show up at ten past six
Well, I already know that you'd find some way to sneak me in and oh
Mind the empty bottle with the holes along the bottom
You see it's too much to ask for and I am not the doctor

I don't want to live on someday when my motto is last week
And I, I don't want to be responsible for your fractured heart
And it's wounded beat and
I don't want to be a substitute for the smoke you've been inhaling
Well, what do you thank me
What do you thank me for?

Visiting hours are nine to five and if I show up at ten past six
Well, I already know that you'd find some way to sneak me in and oh
Mind the empty bottle with the holes along the bottom
You see it's too much to ask for and I am not the doctor


Lyrics submitted by Boonechic_21

Not The Doctor Lyrics as written by Alanis Nadine Morissette Glen Ballard

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC

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Not The Doctor song meanings
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42 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentTo me, this song is sort of an "ode" to a clingy man. He expects her to be all these things for him, and her reply is "I'm not the doctor."
    nietzsche_66on June 03, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI'd have to go with the song referring to a co-dependent person. I was in a relationship where the guy was just way too clingy, he didn't really do much for himslef he either clung to me or his mom, he was till attached at the umbilical chord. Anywho I see my last relationship in this whole song.

    I love the art of music, it can mean several things to different people. :)
    StephMLowon January 07, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI don't think this song is necessarily trying to be specific about what situation this guy is doing it in, but somewhere along the line someone is depending on her for all the wrong reasons - maybe she has a problem with it coz she's wondering if he doesn't love her exactly, just NEEDS her - and I agree, he needs her for the things he's not getting elsewhere. He's put her on her pedestal because so far she's been responsive to these needs. But would he still want to be together if it meant just simply "being" with her for a change? She represents the person who is holding up someone else through their troubles and has sacrificed her needs in order to listen to or cater top her partner exhaustedly.
    CakeAndSodomy69on August 16, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI never understood this as a guy who was a drug user or a cheater.

    I simply saw it as a man who was dependent on Alanis and putting too much pressure on her to live up to these expectations (I cant be your mother, I cant be your other half, I cant be the food or the light from the fridge, I cant be your idol, I cant be the glue etc etc). All these things are "too much to ask for", and she couldnt be the doctor to fix everything that was wrong with him.

    And since she really cant be all these things for him, she asks "What do you thank me for", as if in a stance against being any of these things for him, so what else does he want from her.
    emlem25on June 01, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentPutTheLightsOn:

    That's exactly it, at least from how I understand the song. Although from my understanding, I think HE was the co dependent of the relationship. And she's talking about not wanting to be the one to enable the dependency.

    As for the "I dont want to live on someday" line, I just interpret it as not wanting to live her life for something that MAY happen one day in the future. That she is who she is today because of what's happened to her in the past.
    emlem25on September 12, 2008   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThis song is about co-dependence.

    The singer is saying she does not want to be his co-dependent - to be what fills him and to enable him.

    My daughter was 12 when Jagged Little Pill came out and she told me "Mommy this is so about you and Daddy" - she was right. It was about 3 months after I left him when I had been through a couple of years of therapy and learned the meaning of codependence and how I was his co-dependent.

    To this day when asked why I left my marriage I refer to this song. It says it better than I ever ever ever could.

    Alanis had such insight for such a young person.
    Nonsensicalon February 25, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Commentshe doesnt want to take care of someone. end of story.
    Jennifuron April 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that this song is a refernce to Alanis hating the way she should behave in a relationship and being his substitute for everything else that he's craving
    "I dont want to be a substitute for the smoke youve been inhaling"
    I also think she refers to the way that she doesn't like men being flase with her in a relationship, all she wants is honesty and love
    "I dont want to be your idol
    See this pedestal is high and Im afraid of heights"
    Seal Pupon February 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the song is most deffinently about a drug using boyfriend.

    The line "I don't want to be your food or the light from the fridge
    on your face at midnight
    Hey what are you hungry for"

    She is talking about having the munchies.

    Also, the line "I don't want to be a substitute for the smoke you've been inhaling" makes it obvious that she is talking about drugs.
    Jeffrop6691on May 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with emlem25..

    The aim in a relationship should be reciprocity, both partners care for each other, can come with their sorrows and problems and pain to the other one, who listen and try to help or try to comfort the other one.. That is the ideal situation. And here one of both partners (I don't think if that's the women or the man is the most important issue here) is totally depending on the other one, asking to much care and help. And not doing the same back for the other one. So that one (the I person in the song) feels that she has to take care of the other one, like his mother, or like his doctor (when you go to the doctor he won't ask you for help, all his attention is about you. She feels that he wants her to be in the role of the doctor, but without paying her for all her care and help, and without caring that her energie, her engaging in that.. she has her limits (he doesn't care about that, because he expects that she's there for him even at hours when the doctor doesn't work (and has the time to rest) )

    He wants her to be responsible for him, for his well-being.

    About the chorus: I guess the line "mind the empty bottle" just means that the dependent partner is 'empty' , has no power or courage in himself to drag himself through a hard time, or to help himself to make things better.
    "with the holes along the bottle" : the more you help him by supporting him and doing things for him, the more dependent you will make him. So it's pointless. YOU can't make him stronger that way, the energie keeps on flowing out of him.
    I guess the first - and most important thing - is that he has to glue together his holes, be someone on himself, not only depending on someone else for being someone.


    This line I don't really get:
    "I don't want to live on someday when my motto is last week"
    PutTheLightsOnon August 11, 2008   Link

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