Before I retired, I had a small counseling private practice, working largely with folks who were struggling with addiction. I found it energizing to meet many hard-working, interesting people who were committed to recovery, and felt honored to be part of their journey.
Just the other week I got a call from a former client who wanted to check on me. (with his permission I am sharing some of what we talked about) Now, the relationship between a client and therapist, outside of both the working and out-of-office environment is generally seen as “taboo”, having to do with the blurring of boundaries.
There seemed to be enough time and distance between now and the last time I met with “Tim”, enabling me to comfortably engage. We had worked together for about 8 years, over four years ago, and through 2 frightening in-patient hospital stays for drug overdoses. His addiction followed an invasive surgery that introduced him to serious painkillers which became increasingly more profound and out of control over time.
Tim’s insight into his problem had been sharp, which only made issues more difficult — “Why can’t I control myself?” a common cry. He was fired from his job, subsequently lost his home, and his family became bitter and distant. Tim was determined to take back his life, and in spite of several relapses, he did. (No simple task.)
I was pleasantly surprised to hear from him. He had continued to attend 12-step recovery meetings, which became difficult with social distancing guidelines for coronavirus. Tim also relied on his sponsor (12-step mentor) for support, and though they were able to communicate by phone, he really missed their hugs. His ongoing resourcefulness was impressive.
As we were winding down, Tim told me that although he’d called to see how I was, he knew that I was taking care of myself. Such words of encouragement! What an unexpected gift for me.
Cindy Davis is a retired, licensed professional counselor. All inquiries are confidential. Questions can be emailed to email@example.com.