She Recovers in NYC
In late 2016 a post popped up on my Facebook feed about an event in New York city which was being organised by the mother-daughter team, Dawn Nickel and Taryn Strong, of She Recovers. I knew the ladies and their website well as both are very active in the online sobriety and recovery community and I've been a fan of the She Recovers blog since I quit in 2015 (you can read my post about my favourite sobriety and recovery blogs here) The duo, plus a small team, were organising a weekend-long women’s recovery conference that was going to take place in May of 2017 and was going to host a number of high-profile speakers. It was the first of its kind and a reflection of the growing number of women who were using the online world to support them in their sobriety and recovery.
When I quit drinking in May 2015 (you can read my story here) I did so without getting involved in any sort of program and this was for a number of reasons but mainly because I had a lot on my plate at the time – a small baby, a business to run and college work to do – so it was never going to be easy for me to go to anywhere on a regular basis. I needed support though and it came in the form of my online community of women. They supported me through all my sober firsts - weddings, hen parties, holidays and the rest. My husband and family have always been very supportive of me and my decision to quit drinking but there’s nothing like talking (or typing, really) with other women in the same boat to keep you on track.
I thought about how amazing it would be to go to it but as I was just after having my second baby and also had a two year old I didn’t think it would be possible. A little later the exact dates were announced and it was going to be held on the weekend that I would be celebrating two years of sobriety. I mentioned this to my husband and mother, still not believing that it would be possible for me to go, but both were adamant that I should and were willing to help me make it happen. I knew so many of the women who would be attending from the online world but had never met any in person. I very nervously booked my flights and organised to share a room with two other ladies and spent the next six months wondering what the hell I was after doing (although glad that I had booked my ticket as the event sold out quickly with 500 women attending).
I needn’t have worried because the experience was amazing. It took place in the beautiful Conrad Hotel in Manhattan. When I arrived on the Thursday night I planned to get a bite to eat followed by an early night in preparation for the weekend ahead but my plans quickly changed. While chomping down on a burger in one of the restaurants under the hotel the door opened and a group of eight women spilled in. Some I had met before online and some I hadn’t but all were there for the same reason and in no time we were talking like old friends. Instead of an early night we headed uptown to a café that served us huge slices of cake, pots of tea and frothy coffees and we sat there and chatted for ages about all sorts. To be able to meet some of these women, my friends, in person to thank them for their support and to talk face-to-face was amazing. There was no surface talk, just real conversations about our lives. We had so much in common and so much to laugh about too. This was to be the pattern for the remainder of the weekend.
Just meeting my friends would have been enough but the weekend also included fantastic talks by some brilliant women in the recovery world such as Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery, Elizabeth Vargas, Gabby Bernstein and Marianne Williamson. We took part in a number of Yoga sessions as well as an early morning group run along the Hudson river. I got to say hello to some of my favourite sobriety bloggers and podcast hosts as well as chat to two other Irish women who had travelled over for the event and most importantly I got to thank Dawn and Taryn for making it all happen.
Meeting Jean McCarthy from Unpicked, Holly Whittaker and Laura McKowen from Home and Megan Peters from Crazy Bananas
She Recovers is happening again this year, this time in Los Angeles in September. Unfortunately I won’t be able to go because I’ll be in the thick of it with college but I fully intend to be there again in 2019 and in the mean time I’ll be building a little Irish army of women to come with me.