Our Event

Aware Recovery

SHE RECOVERS in CHICAGO is proudly presented by Aware Recovery Care & Heal Behavioral Health.

SHE RECOVERS® is back with yet another ground-breaking signature event. SHE RECOVERS in CHICAGO is an innovative three-day experience taking place at the iconic Palmer House Hilton Hotel, September 29 – October 1, 2023. Our weekend conference will build on the wildly successful SHE RECOVERS in NYC, SHE RECOVERS in LA, and SHE RECOVERS in MIAMI events.

SHE RECOVERS in CHICAGO will highlight and celebrate strength, diversity, inclusion, and innovation…by women for women and non-binary individuals who identify with women’s communities.

At our 2022 conference in MIAMI, actress, feminist & social justice humanitarian Ashley Judd inspired over 600 women in attendance.


We encourage you to join us and 600 other women of all ages and backgrounds if you are:

… Wanting to explore what recovery from life challenges such as trauma, substance use, grief and loss, eating disorders, burnout and moral injury, love addiction, anxiety and depression looks like within a welcoming and supportive environment.

… Searching for a community to be a part of on your journey to healing.

… Looking to be inspired and build your recovery capital. 

… Seeking to expand your personal growth and self-development.

… A loved one of a person in recovery longing for your own supportive community and resources for healing.

… A professional and/or advocate who supports women within a recovery-oriented system of care.

… A recovery-focused thought leader, author, key influencer, and/or entrepreneur.

Our Intentions

The theme of SHE RECOVERS in CHICAGO is Our Stories. Our Strength. As leaders in the recovery movement, we know that our shared stories not only hold the power to heal and spread hope, but they can also save lives. Most program elements will have a story-related component including an introduction to the craft of storytelling and story showcases highlighting different forms of creative self-expression such as spoken word, embodied movement, music, and art.

What’s New: Honoring Your Stories

This year we will be dedicating time and space for identity-based groups such as Black, Indigenous, and women of color, the LGBTQ+ community, healthcare and allied professionals, legal professionals, and others to gather, connect, and brainstorm ways that SHE RECOVERS Foundation can better support them!

Inspirational Speakers

We are thrilled to announce the keynote speakers!

Best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love & Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert, and civil rights leader, lawyer, award-winning filmmaker & best-selling author of See No Stranger: A Memoir & Manifesto of Revolutionary Love, Valarie Kaur.

Elizabeth Gilbert and Valarie Kaur will be joined by other provocative speakers, inspirational changemakers, and thought leaders whose stories and work are redefining recovery all over the world.

Photo Credit: Deborah Lopez

Elizabeth Gilbert


ELIZABETH GILBERT is a bestselling author, novelist and memorialist. In her critically acclaimed novels and immensely popular works of nonfiction, Elizabeth Gilbert expands our understanding of creativity, spirituality, and love. Whatever her subject—her own transformative experiences, the institution of marriage, or 1940’s showgirls—Gilbert writes with “a mix of intelligence, wit, and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible” (The New York Times Book Review). The woman Oprah Winfrey called a “rock star author” is among her generation’s most beloved and inspiring voices, with an avid international readership and devoted following.

Gilbert’s memoir, Eat Pray Love, exploded onto the scene in 2006. The #1 New York Times bestseller famously chronicled the year Gilbert spent traveling the world after a shattering divorce. Translated into more than 30 languages, it has sold over thirteen million copies, and was adapted into a 2010 film starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. Following Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert wrote Committed: A Love Story, a meditation on marriage as a sociohistorical institution.

In the years since, people around the world have looked to Gilbert for guidance in leading brave, authentic, and creative lives. Gilbert’s bestselling nonfiction treatise, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, unpacks her own generative process and shares her wise, witty insights into the mysteries of curiosity and inspiration.

“Part inspiration, part how-to,” wrote The Washington Post, “[Big Magic] offers up both a philosophy of creativity and advice for living a more creatively fulfilling life.” Written in Gilbert’s “charming, personable, self-aware, jokey, conversational” voice (The New York Times Book Review) and with over one million copies sold, Big Magic underscores Gilbert’s status as a mentor for spiritual seekers and introspective explorers.

From the beginning of her writing career, Gilbert’s observant eye and abiding appreciation for her subjects has distinguished her work. Not merely a writer but also an explorer, she worked in a Philadelphia diner, on a western ranch, and in a New York City bar to scrape together the funds to travel. Her persistent longing to understand the world and her place in it led her “to create experiences to write about,” she says, “to gather landscapes and voices.”

Starting as a magazine journalist, she wrote articles published in Harper’s Bazaar, Spin, and The New York Times Magazine. Her work caught the attention of editors at GQ, where she soon became a stalwart, writing vivid, provocative pieces that grew into books and even a film: 2000’s Coyote Ugly. Gilbert was a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and her work was anthologized in Best American Writing 2001.

“I think my gift, far beyond whatever gifts that I have as a writer, my gift as a human is that I can make friends with people very quickly. Everything I learned about being a journalist I learned by being a bartender. The most exquisite lesson of all is that people will tell you anything. Want to. There’s no question you can’t ask if your intention is not hostile. And it’s not like entrapment; it’s more like a gorgeous revelation. People want to tell the story that they have.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert

Though best known for these works of nonfiction, Gilbert is at her heart, an inventive storyteller. She is the author of The Signature of All Things, a sweeping story of botany, exploration, and desire that spans much of the nineteenth century which The New York Times Magazine called a “rip-roaring tale… unlike anything Gilbert has ever written”. Her latest bestseller, the novel City of Girls, is the “fiercely feminist” (Esquire) story of a young woman coming into her own in the theater world of 1940s New York. Populated by unapologetic women discovering that you don’t have to be a good girl to be a good person, the book’s “romp through 1940s Manhattan is a glorious, multilayered celebration of womanhood… an eloquently persuasive treatise on the judgment and punishment of women, and a heartfelt call to reclaim female sexual agency” (The Guardian). City of Girls debuted at #2 on The New York Times bestseller list, has sold nearly one million copies, and is currently in development at Warner Brothers as a major motion picture.

While her more recent work has grabbed the spotlight, Gilbert’s earlier books met critical acclaim. Her publishing debut, a collection of short fiction titled Pilgrims, was a New York Times Most Notable Book and won a Pushcart Prize, among other honors. Her first novel, Stern Men, won the Kate Chopin Award and her third book, The Last American Man, which explores America’s long-standing intrigue with the pioneer lifestyle, was a finalist for the National Book Award.

In her lectures Gilbert talks about her writing and seizing the opportunity to live a life guided by creativity rather than fear. Her TED Talk is among the top 25 most popular of all time with over 20 million views.

Gilbert is also the founder and host of The Onward Book Club, which serves to spotlight, promote, celebrate, and uplift the work of Black female authors. She divides her time between New York City and New Jersey and is always working on something new.

For more information on Elizabeth Gilbert, please visit her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and at elizabethgilbert.com.

Photo Credit: ABC, Jeff Neira

Valarie Kaur


VALARIE KAUR is a renowned civil rights leader, lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, educator, innovator, and author of the #1 LA Times Bestseller SEE NO STRANGER. She is the founder of the Revolutionary Love Project, recognized by President Biden as a healing force for America. Valarie burst into global consciousness when her 2016 Watch Night Service address went viral with 40 million views worldwide. Her question “Is this the darkness of the tomb – or the darkness of the womb?” reframes the historical moment and is now a mantra for people fighting for change.

Valarie became an activist when a Sikh father and family friend Balbir Singh Sodhi was the first person murdered in hate violence in the aftermath of 9/11. For two decades, in his memory, Valarie led visionary campaigns to tell untold stories and change policy on issues ranging from hate crimes to digital freedom. Her work ignited a national movement to reclaim love as a force for justice. In 2021, she led the People’s Inauguration, inspiring millions of Americans to renew their role in building a healthy, multiracial democracy. Today, the Revolutionary Love Project is seeding networked communities of practice across the country, equipping people with the practical tools to build beloved community and transform the nation from inside out.

In the last two decades, Valarie has won policy change on multiple fronts – hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, solitary confinement, Internet freedom, and more. She founded Groundswell Movement, Faithful Internet, and the Yale Visual Law Project to equip advocates at the intersection of spirituality, storytelling, and justice. Valarie has been a regular TV commentator on MSNBC and contributor to CNN, NPR, PBS, the Hill, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post. She is a celebrated prophetic voice and has spoken widely, including at President Biden’s Inaugural Prayer Service. Valarie earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School, and holds several honorary doctorates.

A daughter of Punjabi farmers, Valarie grew up on the farmlands of California, where her family has lived for more than a century. Her grandfather gave her Sikh wisdom through stories and songs that showed the way of the sant-sipahi, sage-warrior. The sage loves; the warrior fights — it is a path of revolutionary love.

To experience Valarie’s vision for America, watch her TED Talk and read her acclaimed book SEE NO STRANGER: A Memoir & Manifesto of Revolutionary Love. To learn more about Valarie and her work please visit https://valariekaur.com/ or follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


— THE CENTER FOR American Progress

Other Speakers & Special Guests

Ann Dowsett Johnston

Writing Your Recovery Story

Tatum Carter

Love Your Tree Art Experience

Dufflyn Lammers

Becoming Juliet: Taking the Lead in Your Own Love Story

Meghann Perry

Discovering Your Revolutionary Story

Elizabeth Addison

The Art of Storytelling Through Song

Stephanie Chinn

The Next Generation

Dawn Nickel

Dawn Nickel, PhD

Co-founder of SHE RECOVERS Foundation

Paula Williams

Let’s Talk About…Reclaiming and Rewriting Our Sex Stories

Annie Love

Gala Emcee and Silent Disco DJ

Nikki Myers

Nikki Myers

Yoga of 12 Step Recovery, Diverse Stories Matter

Erica Hornthal

Co-facilitator of SHE RECOVERS Dance/Body Aware Class, Movement RX

Chelsea Dueitt Burge

Get Active fitness class – The Phoenix

Jayne Mattingly

Body Grief & 2023 Hope Award Honoree

Nikki Myers

Stephanie S. Covington, PhD

Symposium Special Guest & 2023 Legacy Award Honoree

Diverse Stories Matter

Catherine Carr

Let’s Talk About…Reclaiming and Rewriting Our Sex Stories

Conference Program

Program subject to additions and minor changes. All times are in CDT.


8:00 AM – 5:00 PM | The Healing Power of Stories: a SHE RECOVERS Symposium for Healing Professionals


10:00 AM – 12:00 PM | SHE RECOVERS Certified Professionals’ breakfast (coaches, yoga teachers, dance facilitators)
1:00 – 3:00 PM | SHE RECOVERS identity-based group meetups
2:00 – 4:30 PM | Mingle & market
4:30 – 6:00 PM | Welcome reception
6:00 – 8:00 PM | Opening, welcome, sponsor recognition & thanks

  • Land acknowledgment with Dr. Doreen Wiese
  • Our Stories. Our Strength. SHE RECOVERS community member stories
  • SRF Volunteer recognition & Gem award presentation
  • Special guest speaker Paula Williams

9:00 – 10:00 PM | SHE Shares Circle #1
9:00 – 10:00 PM | SHE RECOVERS Solo travelers/newcomers meet-up


7:30 – 8:30 AM | Y12SR (yoga) with Nikki Myers
7:30 – 8:30 AM | SHE RECOVERS Chicago River run/walk
7:30 – 8:30 AM | Get Active fitness class with The Phoenix
7:30 – 8:30 AM | SHE Shares Circle #2
8:30 – 10:00 AM | Mingle & market
10:00 – 10:15 AM | Welcome to Day 2 with Dawn Nickel 
10:15 – 10:45 AM | Diverse Stories Matter: Black, Latin, Asian, Indigenous & Women of Color, Part 1
10:45 – 11:15 AM | SHE RECOVERS The Next Generation with Stephanie Chinn
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM | Meghann Perry | The Art of Revolutionary Storytelling: Changing the World of Recovery One Story at a Time


12:00 – 1:30 PM | Buffet lunch, mingle & market
1:30 – 3:00 PM | Storytelling workshops

  • Writing Your Recovery Story with Ann Dowsett Johnston
  • Becoming Juliet: Taking the Lead in Your Own Love Story with Dufflyn Lammers
  • Discovering Your Revolutionary Story with Meghann Perry
  • Love Your Tree Art Experience with Tatum Carter
  • The Art of Storytelling Through Song with Elizabeth Addison

3:30 – 4:30 PM | SHE RECOVERS Dance/Body Aware with Payton Kennedy & Erica Hornthall
3:30 – 4:30 PM | SHE Shares Circle #3
3:30 – 6:00 PM | Mingle & market
6:00 – 8:00 PM | SHE RECOVERS Foundation Giving Gala

  • SHE RECOVERS Foundation Hope & Legacy Awards
  • SHE RECOVERS Foundation presentation with Dawn Nickel
  • Giving Moment with Paula Williams

8:00 – 9:30 PM | Elizabeth Gilbert KEYNOTE + Q & A
9:30 – 11:00 PM | Silent Disco with DJ Annie Love
9:30 – 11:00 PM | SHE Shares Circle #4 (Extended)


7:30 – 8:30 AM | SHE Shares Circle #5
7:30 – 8:30 AM | SHE RECOVERS Yoga Collective class guided by SHE RECOVERS Yoga Teachers

7:30 – 8:30 AM | SHE RECOVERS Chicago River run/walk
7:30 – 8:30 AM | Get Active fitness class with The Phoenix
8:30 – 10:00 AM | Mingle & market
10:00 – 10:30 AM | Welcome to Day 3 with Dawn Nickel 
10:30 – 11:30 AM | Let’s Talk About…Rewriting and Reclaiming Our Sex Stories w/ Cindi Roberts, Paula Williams & Gen Stoney
11:30 – 1:00 PM | Buffet lunch, mingle & market
1:00 – 2:00 PM
| Diverse Stories Matter:
Black, Latin, Asian, Indigenous & Women of Color, Part 2
2:00 – 3:00 PM | Valarie Kaur KEYNOTE + Q&A
3:00 – 3:15 PM | Our Stories. Our Strength. closing
3:15 – 4:15 PM | Valarie Kaur Book Signing | Mingle & market

The Prologue

Help women write a new story of health, connection, and joy in recovery.


The SHE RECOVERS Symposium for Recovery Professionals

The SHE RECOVERS Symposium for Recovery Professionals, presented by Hazelden Betty Ford, takes place on Thursday, September 28, 2023.

Deepen your recovery, learn about the latest healing modalities, gain inspiration, and spark innovative ideas alongside today’s leaders in women’s wellness and mental health through the healing power of stories in recovery.

Our weekend conference begins on Friday, but you should also consider joining us on Thursday for our professional development symposium: The Healing Power of Stories. With 6 CEUs offered, there will be much to learn and many networking opportunities to connect with other professionals committed to creating evidence-based, individualized, and inclusive recovery solutions. Join us and be recognized as a leader in redefining recovery for women all over the world.

Register Now


$899: SHE RECOVERS in Chicago Weekend Registration | September 29-October 1, 2023



$249: SHE RECOVERS Professional Symposium | September 28, 2023



$1148: SHE RECOVERS in CHICAGO Weekend Registration + Professional Symposium Package | September 28-October 1, 2023

Our Symposium + Conference Venue & Hotel Rooms

A Hotel With a Story to Tell

We can’t wait to introduce our guests and supporters to the effortless beauty and sophistication of Palmer House Chicago. Known as “the Chicago hotel the world knows best,” Palmer House is the longest continually operating hotel in the United States and is located in Chicago’s Loop, where business, finance, and theater districts intersect. In recent years Palmer House has undergone a $215 million renovation to ensure that it includes all of the conveniences and comforts 21st-century guests expect while also preserving its significant history.

Writing a New Chapter of Social Responsibility

Recognized as one of the finest historic hotels in America, Palmer House has its own story of recovery to tell. As one of the Hilton properties, Palmer House dedicated 6,273,934 volunteer hours in local communities as part of its commitment to being socially responsible. Utilizing the latest technology and practices focused on lessening environmental impact, Palmer House produces solutions that are clean, flexible, and eco-conscious – contributing to the reduction in carbon emissions equivalent to removing 390,350 cars from the road, while saving over $1 billion in utility costs!

Explore the Stories of Chicago

The Chicago Loop is a vibrant area featuring eclectic eateries, shops, theaters, and parks. It’s home to the 108-storey Willis Tower and the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park (also known as ‘The Bean’). The Loop’s Grant Park features the large, rococo-style Buckingham Fountain and the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. The nearby Chicago Riverwalk is a pedestrian waterfront with restaurants, boat rentals, pathways, and an impeccable view of the beautiful Chicago River.

As a conference attendee, you will be given access to rooms at a discounted rate of $239/night for a single/double suite based on double occupancy. A limited number of rooms are available – be sure to book yours now!


To book by phone, please call the Hilton Central Reservations Line at 800-445-8667 and request to book under the SHE RECOVERS Foundation at the Palmer House Hilton and quote: SRP code “SHE”.

Become a Sponsor or Exhibitor

We are now accepting sponsor, exhibitor, and vendor applications for SHE RECOVERS in CHICAGO! In-person sponsorship opportunities are extremely limited, so act quickly to secure your spot.

SHE RECOVERS in CHICAGO will highlight and celebrate strength, diversity, inclusion, and innovation…by women for women. This event will be every bit as spectacular as our first three conferences but with a greater focus on diversity and inclusion through storytelling⁠—bringing together over 600 women seeking to deepen their relationships, spark new connections, and expand their recovery pathways and patchworks.

With your help, we can support recovering women to write new stories of hope and healing. Stories where all women are celebrated, supported, and deemed essential to healthy communities⁠—where no one has to recover alone.

A Deep Bow of Gratitude to All of Our Sponsors & Exhibitors

Presenting Sponsors

Inspired Sponsors


Conference Sponsors

Sober Mom Squad
Hazelden Betty Ford
Sober Mom Squad

Supporting Sponsors

Sober Mom Squad
Sober Mom Squad
Sober Mom Squad
Sober Mom Squad

Wifi Sponsors

Panel Sponsor

Our Exhibitors

Our Marketplace Vendors

View our past events!

If you weren’t able to attend SHE RECOVERS in Miami, SHE RECOVERS in NYC or SHE RECOVERS in LA, have a look at the photos and the videos to get a sense of what we are all about. We’d love to see you in Miami!

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