When I first heard of She Recovers, it was after reading Elizabeth Vargas’ book Between Breaths – A Memoir of Panic and Addiction. There was something that I always admired about Elizabeth over the years, I followed her journalism early on when Good Morning America used to accompany my morning routine and then followed her after she moved on to some of the evening news shows. Last year, when I was reading everything I could get my hands on about women with alcohol problems, while still in denial of my own, I was surprised to see Elizabeth’s face on the cover of a book in that category. With my trusty glass of wine right next to me, I settled in and tore through her book in a few evenings. By this point I had read countless other stories, but something about this one made a connection for me. This was someone I had watched over the years and would have thought had a seemingly idyllic life, who was instead struggling with a tremendous battle with anxiety and alcohol. I suspected that others may have looked at me like one of those women who had it all together, too. Not on an Elizabeth Vargas national news anchor scale, mind you, but in my own, smaller circles. Maybe that is why her book resonated so deeply.
I sent Elizabeth a short note on Twitter after reading the book, letting her know how much I enjoyed it, to which she graciously responded. I then came across a reference on her account to an event where she had been a guest speaker, an event called She Recovers. I dug in a bit more and discovered that the conference took place in NYC in early 2017 and was geared towards women in recovery. Not just alcohol recovery, but recovery from any number of things. The speaker line-up was impressive. Besides Elizabeth Vargas, there was Gabby Bernstein, Marianne Williamson, and Glennon Doyle-Melton, just to name a few. There was yoga, workshops and other events put on over this weekend, and all attended by 500 women in recovery. Even in my state of denial, I was inspired just by knowing that something like this even existed. She Recovers was stuck in my head from that point on.
Fast forward to February of this year, the month when I finally came to terms with my own issues with alcohol and made the decision to enter full-fledged sobriety. Just one week after drawing that hard line, I was staring at the She Recovers website where the 2018 event in LA was announced. One week of being alcohol free and I signed up to attend in September. You might think this is a bit fast for someone so new in the recovery scene, but I had been exploring the world of recovery for well over a year at this point. Let’s also not forget that I was working through anxiety and all the issues stemming from being an adult child of an alcoholic for quite some time, it just so happens that my own alcohol use was the cherry on top of my recovery sundae.
It didn’t matter how new I was to this scene, I had a deep knowing that I needed to attend She Recovers LA. It has been giving me something to work towards and setting that commitment even saved me from drinking a time or two in these early stages of sobriety. When struck with moments of weakness (and there have been many), I remind myself of how it’s going to feel to sit among over 500 women who are either in my shoes or who have worn something similar. Since the day I registered, I’ve known that I had to stay true to the sobriety commitment that I made on February 20th not just out of respect for myself, but with respect for the women that I will meet in September.
As the speaker line up is slowly announced, I’m giddy over knowing that I’ll see one of my favorite authors, Cheryl Strayed, speak, not to mention an appearance by the fabulous and hilarious Amy Dresner. (Check out her book, My Fair Junkie, if you haven’t done so already.) Just yesterday, after I wrote this, a huge announcement was made about Mackenzie Phillips being in attendance, in addition to supporting the She Recovers movement in a number of other ways. I read her book, High on Arrival, a number of years ago before ever starting down this path, it’s another one well worth checking out. Of course, it’s scary to head off to a conference like this where I don’t know anyone, but it’s also pretty empowering for this introvert. I’m looking forward to just being in the same space as these lovely women for three days, to hear their stories and to share in their dreams. I can only imagine how divine it will feel to wear my sobriety proudly, to let loose and just be me with other women who get it. It comes down to connection and inspiration, both of which I have no doubts will be available in abundance on this weekend with She Recovers in LA in September.