"She Recovers" Los Angeles Event To Celebrate & Unite Women In Recovery

By Kelly Burch 05/03/18

The event, which features Janet Mock, Cheryl Strayed and The Fix's own Amy Dresner, will welcome 600 women to Los Angeles from September 14-16.

speakers at She Recovers in NYC
Photo courtesy of Dawn Nickel

Dawn Nickel has spent much of her life in recovery. She has been sober from alcohol since 1987 and from marijuana since 1989. However, in 2011 she realized she had replaced those addictions with workaholism, and she was burnt out. 

“I started to reflect on life as a woman in recovery from substance use disorder, grief, workaholism and cancer,” she told The Fix. “I was thinking about how we’re all recovering from something.”

She believed that if women in recovery from various life challenges could connect with one another, they could empower each other and help facilitate healing.

So she and her daughter, Taryn Strong, founded She Recovers.

The organization began as an online community for women in recovery and grew to include workshops.

This fall, the organization will host its second annual flagship event, welcoming 600 women to Los Angeles on September 14-16 to celebrate their lives in recovery.

The goal of the L.A. event is to help women in recovery feel connected, supported and empowered, and features distinguished speakers like Janet Mock, Cheryl Strayed and The Fix's own Amy Dresner.

"We primarily want woman to know they’re not alone,” Nickel said. “They have a group of women as a recourse. We want them to walk away with a little more hope and less self-judgment, we want them to feel empowered.”

One way that She Recovers empowers women is by trusting them to know what recovery means to them. She Recovers defines recovery broadly and doesn’t subscribe to one way of being on that journey.

For women who have felt uncomfortable in 12-step meetings, it can be refreshing to find an invigorated recovery community that isn’t focused on the steps as the only approach to healing. 

“We don’t judge them,” Nickel said. “We want to support women to make any decision they want to make to live a healthier, happier life.”

Today there are many people and organizations doing great, innovative work in the field of recovery, Nickel said. She Recovers acts as a clearing house, helping women find and connect with an approach to recovery that works well for them. In doing that, the organization helps women in recovery feel less isolated. 

“The most powerful words in the English language are ‘me too,’” Nickel said. “Women recognize themselves in the stories they see online, and then they seek in-person connections.”

Nickel hopes that at the LA event, which is filling up quickly, women will see how amazing the speakers, organizers and attendees are, and will recognize that power in themselves. 

“What we’re really addressing more than anything is shame and stigma associated with recovery,” Nickel said. “Recovery is cool: we’re fun, beautiful, smart and resilient women. We’re trying to be a mirror to show them that in themselves.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.