In her remarkable Netflix special, Nanette, Hannah Gadsby shares the power of recovery in an emotionally charged and succinct-as-ever statement that resonates with every woman who’s lived through pain and survived to see the other side: “There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.” It’s a truth only recognized once you’ve addressed the wounds head-on and found the courage to confront what you’ve always tried to escape.
Recovery–whether it’s from alcohol use disorder, drug use disorder, self-harm, an eating disorder, or any other painful chapter–can feel never-ending. It can feel as though you are stuck in a place where you can barely breathe, doggy paddling through unforgiving waves, with no land in sight. Those of us who’ve endured the storm know that with time, patience, support, and lots of work, you do eventually move through it. And when you do, you realize you are capable of more than you ever thought possible; you can manage just about anything life throws at you. While it is the hardest of journeys, it comes with the greatest of gifts: perspective, self-love and wisdom.
This morning, I was wandering around my neighbourhood trying to figure out what to say about She Recovers LA, an event happening in a few weeks that will bring together 600 women in recovery, from across North America and beyond. (You can still join!) As I shuffled in my unbuckled sandals, coffee mug in hand, trying to find the words that adequately capture its essence, I realized that perhaps the easiest way to explain it is to say it’s the complete opposite of the darkest hours of isolated, shame-ridden addiction and the deeply knotted time of transition that follows when you first decide to face said addiction.
Connection, light, confidence, energy, nourishment, pride–all the things addiction sucked from your blood and bones is what She Recovers offers, and it does so through a two-day event that is full of powerful keynote speakers, honest sharing, healthy food and refreshments, recovery yoga, art installations, and a hope gala. Having experienced the inaugural She Recovers event in NYC, I can tell you this is a powerful, inspiring, humbling and fun event, even for those of us who sometimes think we’re too cool or edgy for sisterhood. (Been there, but thankfully matured.)
The lineup of thought leaders is unbelievable: Cheryl Strayed (Wild, Dear Sugar), Janet Mock (Redefining Realness, Surpassing Certainty), Tara Mohr (Playing Big), Amy Dresner (My Fair Junkie), Mackenzie Phillips, and so many more! And beyond these speakers, there are workshops on finding forgiveness, cultivating resilience, changing our relationship with food, and more. Apart from the expert speakers and teachers, you will gain immeasurable insight from simply chatting with other attendees (or women like you who’ve lived through shit).
We don’t normally push events in America, but this is a Canadian story. Started by Dawn Nickel and Taryn Strong, a mother-daughter duo from Victoria, B.C., the She Recovers community began on our west coast and has grown leaps and bounds to include over 270,000 members worldwide. (Never for an instant think that you’re alone.)
Do something amazing for yourself. For those who have ever thought that a sober life would suck, this is proof that it not only doesn’t suck, but it’s also goddamn beautiful. The deeper you dig to explore, the more you can discover about yourself and the miracles of life. If I told this to my twenty-eight-year-old self, the girl in the bar guzzling a drink while itching for the next glass, she’d laugh in my face. But I am her; she is me. Thankfully we made it through and are here today.
She Recovers in LA is happening September 14-16 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. All the details you need are here.
FYI: In case you’re wondering, no one paid me to write this post. I believe in this group and this event. Joining this community changed my life. If getting to LA is not an option, there are several other retreats that She Recovers organizes throughout the year. They also offer a scholarship fund, and being a member of the Facebook group alone is a source of ongoing support.