From Shaky in Sobriety to Rooted in Recovery :
Celebrating One Year of SHE RECOVERS Together Online
By Kaitlin Walker
Before SHE RECOVERS I had been on my recovery journey for a few years but felt really shaky in my sobriety.
In 2017 I sent an email to Dawn Nickel, the co-founder of SHE RECOVERS. I had no idea she was the Oprah of the recovery world when I hit send (good thing as I might have been too nervous if I’d known what a big deal she is). Dawn immediately replied with, “can I call you?” and the most beautiful friendship began. When I landed in New York for the first SHE RECOVERS conference, my world changed. Surrounded by 500 women in recovery, I no longer felt alone on my journey. I left that conference with some of the dearest friends of my life and a deep knowing that my sobriety was strengthened and that SHE RECOVERS was now tattooed on my heart.
At the time, 500 women in recovery felt like a huge number. Today, there are more than 7800 women within the SHE RECOVERS Together Facebook Group and 80-100+ women at a time attending the twice-daily online gatherings. The community has grown organically in response to Covid; we are craving connection in a time of isolation and SHE RECOVERS has made that possible. The enthusiastic waves when someone starts to share with courageous vulnerability on zoom, the outpouring of love when someone says it’s their first call, the way we all hold each other when someone is struggling – it is the most beautiful display of the power of connection in recovery.
The online connection through these spaces has provided me with something I was desperately missing, even when I couldn’t consciously put my finger on it.
For the first part of quarantine, I was consumed with work, helping my son navigate online learning, and just trying to manage the emotional stress of the pandemic. I had disconnected from community, focusing far too much to the news, and was heartbroken for all those suffering. I wasn’t fully aware of how much I missed connection with women in recovery until I joined the SHE RECOVERS Together Online Gatherings. At the end of the first gathering, my spirits were lifted and I couldn’t wait to join in again. At the end of the first week of regular attending, my purpose felt clear again.
When I was early in recovery, my 12 step sponsor brought me to a restorative yoga class. The peace I found there was unlike anything I had experienced. In that moment I made myself a promise – once I was rooted enough in my recovery, I would become a yoga teacher and help other women find that same peace. I am proud to say I found my calling in teaching Yoga and thanks to Taryn Strong, the cofounder of SHE RECOVERS, I became a SHE RECOVERS Trauma Informed yoga teacher. That experience changed me. The language, the purpose, the service – it was exactly why I first was called to this path. Prior to the Pandemic in 2020 I had the incredible honor of guiding women in recovery through trauma informed yoga and that time together felt like I was deeply aligned with my soul’s purpose.
The SHE RECOVERS Together Online daily gatherings helped me reconnect to my purpose.
While I wasn’t teaching yoga due to Covid, I was suddenly in connection with women in recovery again. This connection deepened further when I was invited to attend the trauma-informed Yoga Teacher training online. Taryn’s approach to teaching is unparalleled. She challenges how we think about yoga and our role in guiding a class. She inspires us to consider all the ways we can serve and support by empowering others. Participating in this training re-ignited the spark of passion in me that had dimmed during the pandemic. I was reminded that my yoga journey wasn’t over – it had simply transformed and called me to shift my perspective. I realized I could still make an impact and connect with women on a deep level both on and off my mat, even if we were physically apart.
Every interaction with SHE RECOVERS is an inspiration to grow.
The pandemic could be so isolating for a recovering woman like me, but the SHE RECOVERS free recovery touch-points – online gatherings, Mental Health Mondays, yoga, dance, and the facebook community – have all brought us together in a way I never could have imagined. I have found some genuine friendship and connection, I have received invaluable education, I have danced my ass off, and I have deepened my yoga practice in community. Not only do I not feel separate, I feel more connected than I did pre-pandemic. My greatest hope is that all women in or seeking recovery, regardless of what pathway or patchwork of recovery they follow, can find and join this movement.
I rarely miss an evening gathering these days. I’m so grateful for the SHE RECOVERS Coaches who volunteer their time to facilitate, the topics that expand my heart and mind, the courageous vulnerability of all who share and the budding friendships. When someone in this space says say “I love you”, I can tell they mean it with every ounce of their being.
SHE RECOVERS is more than just a community; it’s a family to me.
A chosen family rooted in values that align with my own – a family that truly desires to see me grow, heal, and succeed. To any woman who may be reading this, who may feel like recovery is a distant and unreachable dream, please know we are rooting for you. We understand how scared you might feel, and we will love you as you learn to love and trust yourself again. We’ve all been there – we know the struggle of embarking on an unknown journey of recovery, but we also know the joy of each step forward, no matter how big or small it may be. We know stumbles don’t equal failure, that we are not broken, and that we are always stronger together.
This level of support, care, and connection wouldn’t be possible without the generous contributions made by all who donate to keep this lifeline organization going.
I donated within five minutes of being invited to become a FOUNDING INVESTOR. and I just finished submitting an IMPACT STATEMENT about what being a part of this community means to me. I am grateful to know my contribution will go on to provide a lifeline of accessible support for more women in or seeking recovery. Every single day I gain something from this group – love, support, introspection, strength – so I couldn’t wait to give back. This month I also set up a recurring donation. I picked the amount that fit my budget, and now I know each month I’m effortlessly helping SHE RECOVERS to help women in recovery.
My wish this year, is for every aspect of SHE RECOVERS to expand with the help of volunteers and donations.
SHE RECOVERS is an incredibly responsive organization, always striving to deliver what women in the community ask for. I’ve seen requests for more subgroups and trainings to be created – which is all possible if we can each give a little. As much I want to see the online support grow, I am so excited to be back in person again someday soon! The retreats, the conferences, the local community groups – these too are incredible, life-changing experiences. I know my donation will help increase access for other women longing to experience all that SHE RECOVERS Foundation has to offer.
I remember all the feelings I had when I walked into the Conrad Hotel for the first SHE RECOVERS NYC. The excitement, the butterflies, the sense that my life was about to change – I can’t wait for others to feel that too.
Become a Founding Investor
We have the women, the power and the presence to be a mighty force in our world.
And until ALL women in or seeking recovery from these challenges are celebrated, supported and deemed essential to healthy communities, we will not rest. This is our movement. This is our cause. With your help we can continue to provide responsive, recovery-focused touchpoints and resources for all recovering women.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kaitlin Walker | Volunteer SHE RECOVERS® Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher Coordinator
Kaitlin Walker is a gifted yoga teacher, and a treasured member of the SHE RECOVERS community. In addition to completing a 500-hour RYT program, Kaitlin completed Y12SR Yoga Teaching Training in 2018 and is a graduate of the inaugural SHE RECOVERS Yoga Teacher Designation Program which took place in October, 2019.
Love this Kaitlin. I wish I would have come back to all that She Recovers has to offer sooner. I’m inspired by your words. I need the openness of this community to bring me back to my recovery roots. Thanks for being a part of it.
So glad to hear this reached you and resonates with you. We will pass on your gratitude to Kaitlin. It is never to late to start again and every day we spend in recovery is a contribution towards a bright future. Thanks for being here.