International Womens Day; The Women Who Showed Me The Way – By Nicola O’Hanlon

Today, on this, International Womens Day, I want to honour the women who have helped and inspired and nourished me along my sometimes pretty horrific path. Long gone are the days of hiding away in shame, anonymous and afraid that someone may find out we have had issues with addiction, mental health, domestic violence, eating disorders, various kinds of trauma and sexual violation. We women are recovering and thriving in the face of multifaceted adversity and at a time in HERSTORY, where it’s never been more important to join together in solidarity with our sisters, the fierce feminine is arising in all walks of society.

I have been fortunate to come in contact with women who taught me that recovery, independence and real freedom is possible. My decision to seek a better life and different understanding of the world, opened up infinite possibilites for me. Some of the women I have met are directly connected to the recovery world, some are not. Nevertheless, each of them has given me invaluable gifts in the form of wisdom, knowledge, support and encouragement.

Here are some of the women who have inspired me to change my life forever:

Anna David, Author and creator of I approached Anna in 2013, when I had just started blogging about my own recovery journey from substance abuse and mental illness. I was in awe (and still am) of her success and work ethic and I wanted to know her secret. It so happened she was on the lookout for writers for her new website and so I became the first ever writer for her website. She gave me the confidence to really give writing a shot and became my mentor. Without her taking a chance and giving me a shot I don’t think I’d be running my own website today.


Trista Hendren, creator of The Girl God. I met Trista through social media in my quest to redefine my femininity. Trista created The Girl God series of books after a conversation with her young daughter about God being a girl. Trista produces books on all aspects of Femininity, Female Divinity and the struggles of women in modern society. I have been lucky enough to have my work published in two of her books. Her memoire “Hearts Aren’t Made Of Glass” tells her story of living with an alcoholic and trying to recover hers and her children’s lives after complete devastation. She has encouraged and inspired me deeply and is the personification of The Goddess in all of us.


Jamie Marich, Author of Trauma and The 12 Steps and Clinical Therapist. I was introduced to Jamie through and had the privilege of meeting her in 2015. The first time I heard Jamie speak it felt like at last someone understood what was going on inside my head and heart. I knew all about my ill mental health and substance abuse, but there were some issues at the root of this that I couldn’t fully articulate. Jamie Marich provided the language and held the space for me, and many others, to finally communicate the full extent of my pain. You can listen to our podcast here.

Carolyn Elliot, Author and creator of WITCH and several online courses. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am drawn to witchy stuff like a moth to a flame. Therefore, when I came across Carolyn online, I fluttered straight to her unafraid of getting burned. And boy was I set on fire. Through her course, Influence, I discovered the true power of our shadow side, our unconscious. It’s the driving force behind our entire lives. Love and light is all fine and dandy, but we have darkness too that cannot be ignored. Carolyn Elliot changed my entire perspective on the world and I shall never be the same again…….thankfully! Read her interview here.

Dawn Nickel, Creator of She Recovers.  Dawn is one of those no bullshit business women that I have always been in awe of…….but with a ginormous heart. She and I share much of the same philosophy regarding women in recovery. Dawn has dedicated herself to creating and holding space for women in recovery to connect with themselves, and with other like-hearted women….and she does it brilliantly. It is her, no-such-thing-as-can’t, energy that inspires me to be the best I can be. She and her team hold retreats around the world for recovering women. Her New York City event in May, with speakers such as Marianne Williamson, Nikki Myers and Gabby Bernstein is completely sold out. However, She Recovers just announced that the event can be accessed through livestream, right around the world.  Click here for details of the event and to purchase livestream tickets.

Of course there have been scores of women whom I have connected with – friends, family, health professionals, passing strangers who offered a smile, writers, poets, activists, therapists, lawyers, women in the rooms of recovery from all over the world, who have helped me along my way. I am convinced that a reignited connection between women is the way to heal the world and all it’s inhabitants.

Today I wish all of the wonderful women in my life love, freedom, empowerment and strength. Thank you for showing me the way.

Nicola O'Hanlon

About Nicola O'Hanlon

Meet our Editor-In-Chief, Nicola O'Hanlon. She created this website, along with the help of the InTheRooms team in September 2015. Her work has been published in several recovery magazines, including Recovery Today, In Recovery Magazine,, Psychology Today and Reach Out Recovery to name but a few. She has also had her work published in two Feminist anthologies and a book of personal recovery stories. Born and raised in Wexford, Ireland she still lives there with her two children, Christopher and Jessica. Her background is in healing through Massage Therapy, Reflexology and Sechiem Energy Healer. She has combined her professional and life experience and now coaches women on how to empower themselves. She runs the Womens Wisdom Healing Circle meeting, on every Sunday (Noon est 5pm UK & Ireland), which is a non program specific gathering of women seeking support, encouragement and healing. Already an expert on how not to live life she is a constant seeker of new and better ways of being. Nature is her Higher Power and she believes in magic, crystals and blames the phases of the moon for her multiple personalities.
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  1. Absolutely wonderful! I am so fortunate to have met you. You inspire me to do more. I once thought I had no special purpose. Thanks to you and other women writers and women in recovery I have reclaimed my dreams. Thanks for being a healing, supportive woman of integrity and courage. I too salute the women who made you who you are today. Peace and blessings.

  2. HERSTORY ~ I Love it!!! Thank you for all you do for so many of us who are here just starting on our Journies…Blessings!

  3. Power to the sisters. With love and repect from one brother who is grateful for your patience and tolerance. Peace x

  4. Great article Nicky!

    Keep it going Mrs! 🙂

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