Many of us in recovery get “outside help”—code for counseling or therapy. The combination of a great recovery practice and a great therapist has given me so much growth and so much support over these years. In the beginning there were things I didn’t talk about in therapy that seemed to belong only to recovery meetings—like my relationship with a sponsor or learning what surrender meant, and there were things that I saved for therapy rather than talk about in meetings—the specifics of food addiction or the darkest parts of my early life.
But now I find that the flow of issues and conversation is much more open. My current therapist has many 12- step clients so she knows our lingo and our meanings, and I talk about all parts of my life in my recovery world—either in meetings or with my close recovering women friends.
Over these many years I have had three extraordinary therapists, so of course I also wonder about their lives. As I have aged they have too, and as I have reconsidered new life for myself—they have as well. But how does that work when you are a therapist?
I’m finding out. This week I had the opportunity to read a new book, “Retiring But Not Shy” by Ellen Cole and Mary Gergen. Both women are therapists looking at new stages of life and work, and in this great book they have collected the stories of 21 feminist psychologists who have made and are making life changes.
These are wonderful personal stories by very smart and very interesting women who are psychologists. And the book is valuable reading just for that—all those things you’ve wondered about. These are smart, interesting women who just happen to be psychologists, but their choices, thinking, relationships-- and lives are relevant to all women over 40, maybe especially women in recovery, who are just old enough to know that there is more coming. And who know that we need role models every step of the way.