My Interview With the Founders of She Recovers
Last year when I attended She Recovers NYC, I had no idea what to expect. I was thrilled that I was finally able to meet the community of women that I’d been talking to online – women who had supported me through some tough times. I came away a different woman.
Not only did I have the real-life experience of meeting my community in person, but I felt like my recovery was revitalized. I found new resources to support my recovery, I was invigorated by talks from a collection of the most powerful and inspiring women in the world, and I made friendships that I knew would last a lifetime.
When She Recovers announced that they were launching an event in Los Angeles this year, I was stoked. I did wonder if it was even possible to create another powerful event that would rival She Recovers NYC.
Covering the She Recovers Movement
I reached out to Dawn Nickel and Taryn Strong, founders of She Recovers, to get the inside scoop on this year’s event, She Recovers LA. And for those of you who don’t know about the She Recovers movement, I asked them about that too.
Liv: Tell me about the philosophy of She Recovers?
She Recovers: The stigma associated with speaking up about sexual abuse, anxiety, depression, or other life issues like addiction to alcohol, drugs or sex, is fueling a North American health crisis. Truth is, everyone struggles with something. She Recovers is the first organization to connect, support and empower women in or seeking recovery from any of life’s issues. We create welcoming spaces and transformative opportunities – on and offline – to connect, support and empower recovering women. We believe we are all recovering from something and have to be supported to recover in our own ways. We want to show the world how beautiful and cool a life in recovery can actually be.
Liv: You founded She Recovers seven years ago as a passion project and, before long, you’d created a supportive community – a movement even – where all types of women gather. What I love about it is that all kinds of women come together to support one another. Tell me about the range of women and type of recovery that features in your community?
She Recovers: Our community has a wide range of ages and backgrounds. About half are between the ages of 24 and 44. Most are living in the U.S., but we have large followings in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and India, as well as other countries across the world.
Approximately 70% of the women who find us identify are in recovery from substance use disorders (primarily alcohol use disorder), but many also struggle with depression or anxiety (around 40 to 45%). Others struggle with codependency, trauma, sexual and physical abuse, disordered eating, love addiction, as well as chronic illnesses including cancer.
The main underlying characteristic of the women in our community, the thing that we swear they all have in common, is that they are seeking connection – connection to other women like them, to their breath and their bodies, to their purpose. They start off connecting online but, eventually it seems, most do want to connect with others in person. We are all about offering opportunities – online and off – for women to connect.
Liv: What would you say are your key guiding principles?
- We are all recovering from something
- Recovery is a journey to wholeness – we take care of our mind, body and spirit.
- We have to be supported to find and follow individualized pathways and patchworks of recovery
- Collaboration, not competition is the only way forward. We’re stronger together.
Liv: Beyond a supportive community, you began offering radical self-care retreats across the world. What led you to decide to host your signature event in NYC last year? And what did you hope to achieve?
She Recovers: We’ve now held 21 retreats in locations that include Mexico, Salt Spring Island British Columbia, Mexico, California and Bali. We have been so inspired by the healing magic that happens when 20 to 30 whole-hearted women gather together that we just got curious about what 500 women in one space would look like. In addition – because we are committed to sharing ideas and resources for women’s recovery – we wanted to expose our community to other leading thought leaders and teachers. NYC did not disappoint.
Finally, because our work is geared towards reducing the shame and stigma around recovery – we figured that a big weekend conference would help us to show the world what recovery looks like. If more women could see how amazing their lives could be in recovery, we know that more of them would be inspired to seek it out for themselves.
Liv: What were your top three takeaways of She Recovers NYC?
- Witnessing the power, passion and emotion of women from online communities meeting each other for the first time – in real life
- Women were obviously hungry for the event – it is our responsibility and privilege to keep providing these types of experiences for women
- We recognize the need for more diversity in our community – how can we reach more women?
Liv: You decided to bring your signature annual event to LA in September, where 600 women will gather to meet one another from their online community in real life. What else might women expect from this event and how will it differ from She Recovers NYC?
She Recovers: The focus of She Recovers in LA will be on celebrating strength, diversity, inclusion, and innovation by women for women in the world of recovery. We are committed to showing women (and the world) what recovery looks like so that we can help end stigma.
Our event will explore and showcase a wide array of innovative recovery strategies, resources, products and services, and recognize the women (past and present) who have been or continue to be the most important change makers in the women’s recovery sphere.
This year we are deeply committed to creating a more diverse event – more ethnically and racially diverse speakers and presenters, more varied topics. We are moving “beyond” living a sober life – although all of our events including LA are sober events, this year our program is about healing from all of life’s challenges.
Liv: In what ways will attending the event enhance a woman’s holistic recovery experience?
She Recovers: By simply experiencing it. The powerful healing that occurs when groups of like hearted-women gather and experience mind blowing talks, heart opening yoga classes, a run, guided meditations, and soul satisfying connections. It’s indescribable.
Liv: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
She Recovers: We are launching the She Recovers Foundation at the Saturday night Gala. The Foundation has been formed – in part – so that we can increase access to all of our events and offerings through subsidies and scholarships. It will also promote access to resources, share research on modalities that yield transformational outcomes for women in recovery, and produce public awareness initiatives and events that shatter the stigma and shame associated with recovery thus enabling earlier intervention for those still struggling.
To find out more information about She Recovers, you can visit their website here.
Images Courtesy of She Recovers