The retreat to write your recovery memoir.

🖋️ Have you always desired to tell your story, to write your recovery memoir, and to be heard but don’t know where to start?

🖋️ Is there a narrative in your heart, your memory, your bones, waiting to be given a voice

🖋️ Is there a deep sense of purpose in your soul that is calling you to awaken the writer and storyteller within?

🖋️ Do you long for the sacred space, inspirational setting, mentorship, and support you need to bring your recovery memoir into being?

🖋️ Are you currently feeling blocked, stuck, overwhelmed, or unsure if your story should be shared?

🖋️ Do you find yourself saying “one day” when you think about bringing your memoir to life?

Your story deserves to be told and has the power to transform your pain and passion into purpose.

Join renowned author/editor/psychotherapist Ann Dowsett Johnston for a fully immersive retreat experience to transform memories into your recovery memoir based on her beloved Writing Your Recovery program.

As a somatic trauma therapist and seasoned editor, Ann will teach you how to coax your story onto the page, and heal yourself through writing. She will also guide you to listen to the wisdom of your body and its signals – awakening its inner knowing for inspiration, aligned action, and magic.

In our decade of hosting SHE RECOVERS retreats we have come to learn that when women come together in spaces designed to support their healing and growth, magic happens. 

” I had no idea what to expect the first time I attended a SHE RECOVERS retreat, but I knew I needed to be there. Not only did I discover things about myself, I learned the art of slow and intentional living. I learned how essential practicing radical self-love is in my recovery. I met women who just…understood me, women I felt I could connect with on a soul level. These retreats make me feel like I am…magic.” – Suzie Spitfyre

Your Guides

Ann Dowsett Johnston


Best-selling Author| Editor | Psychotherapist | Somatic Trauma Therapist

Ann Dowsett Johnston is the bestselling author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, named one of the top 10 books of 2013 by The Washington Post. An award-winning journalist who spent 30 years in magazines, she also served as a Vice-principal of McGill University.

Currently, Ann is a practicing psychotherapist. As well, she runs the hugely popular Writing Your Recovery course, a memoir-writing workshop for women. Ann has won many awards for her work in destigmatizing mental health and addiction, including an honorary degree from Queen’s University. In her 15th year of sobriety, Ann delights in her baby granddaughter Frances and her sober sisterhood.

Connect with Ann:
W | IG


Payton Kennedy


SHE RECOVERS Coach & Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher | SHE RECOVERS Dance Creator | Retreats Professional

Along with her roles as coach and yoga teacher, Payton Kennedy is the creator of SHE RECOVERS Dance—a transformative guided movement experience that promotes self-awareness, body liberation, freedom, joy, and empowerment.

Payton has been organizing, hosting, and facilitating retreats for recovering women and non-binary individuals since 2018 in various locations such as Sedona, Arizona, the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Salt Spring Island on the West Coast of Canada, and York Harbor, Maine. Her innate ability to create a welcoming and authentic space for embodied movement coupled with her warm and grounding presence and extensive background in event planning makes her a truly gifted facilitator.

Connect with Payton
E | W | IG 

A carefully curated creative writing recovery retreat to ignite the senses and spark inspiration.

Over five days and four nights, you’ll engage and embody a transformational process, learning the magic of narrative, the healing power of sharing your words, and the alchemy of connection.

You will learn how to:

💫 Find your authentic voice in writing
💫 Create your story structure
💫 Use your five senses to write your story
💫 Quiet your inner critic
💫 Find an agent, get published…and more!

Our journey from memory to recovery beings…  .

WEDNESDAY, MAY 29 – JUNE 2, 2024

Schedule is in Central Time and subject to change.

Wednesday, May 29

4:00 PM | Check-in

6:00 PM | Dinner

7:15 PM | Opening circle & orientation

Thursday, May 30

7:15 AM | Morning yoga & mindful movement

8:15 AM | Breakfast

9:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Writing session 

12:00 – 1:00 PM | Lunch

1:30 – 3:30 PM | Writing session 

3:30 – 4:30PM | Free time 

4:30 – 5:30 PM | Afternoon SHE RECOVERS trauma-informed yoga & mindful movement

6:00 PM | Dinner

7:15 PM | SHE RECOVERS Sharing Circle

Friday, May 31

7:15 AM | Morning intentional movement

8:15 AM | Breakfast

9:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Writing session

12:00 – 1:00 PM | Lunch

1:30 – 3:30 PM | Writing Session 2.0

3:30 – 4:30 PM | Free Time

4:30 – 5:30 PM | Afternoon SHE RECOVERS trauma-informed yoga & dance

6:00 PM | Dinner

7:15 PM Sharing Circle

Saturday, June 1

7:15 AM | Morning SHE RECOVERS trauma-informed yoga Yoga & mindful movement

8:15 AM | Breakfast

9:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Writing Session

12:00 – 1:00 PM | Lunch

1:30 – 3:30 PM | Writing session 

3:30 – 4:30 PM | Free time

4:30 – 5:30 PM | Afternoon SHE RECOVERS trauma-informed yoga & mindful movement

6:00 PM | Dinner

7:15 PM | SHE RECOVERS Sharing Circle & author readings

Sunday, June 2

7:15 AM | Intentional movement

8:15 AM | Breakfast

Wrap up before noon 

An intentional, invitational, and immersive experience designed to tend your energy and awaken the writer within.

You will be invited to set your days intentionally with trauma-informed yoga and mindful movement with Co-Facilitator Payton Kennedy, enjoy outdoor time in nature with access to the Wayzata Big Woods and nature trails, participate in evening SHE RECOVERS Sharing Circles with like-hearted women, and wrap up your days in shared creativity and magic.

You will enjoy nourishing meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) along with non-alcoholic coffee and black & herbal teas. Allergies and food restrictions will be collected pre-retreat and supported onsite.

Take advantage of the season known for creativity, passion, and inspiration, the midpoint between spring and summer in an enriching and picturesque location equipped to serve as your muse for big magic.

Our venue, McIver Center for Family and Spiritual Recovery at The Retreat, is a tranquil, sensory rich, and awe-inspiring location that evokes creativity, introspection, and a deep connection to oneself and the natural world. Located near the enchanting Wayzata Big Woods in Minnesota, the McIver Center is a recovery writer’s sanctuary.

What recovery memoir participants are saying…

“The Writing Your Recovery retreat was hands-down a transformative, life-affirming experience. Ann’s meticulously developed course draws upon her vast experience, giving students unparalleled insight into the complex worlds of writing, editing and publishing. But it is Ann’s generous depth, heart and wisdom that make this course a masterpiece. Writing Your Recovery offers a supportive haven where a writer can gather to find their voice, hone their craft and feed their soul.” – Jennifer Bridgman, San Francisco Bay Area, USA

“Working with Ann has been the best decision I’ve made in years. I started in the Writing Your Recovery retreat pretty sure I’d never write a thing worth reading out loud, but eager to learn. I’m now attending Ann’s Writing Your Discovery course and have a book underway! Ann’s careful stewardship and encouragement was exactly what I needed to rediscover my love of writing. I am officially a writer again, and I owe that in large part to Ann.” – Wendy McCallum, Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada



Shared and private accommodations from $1595-$1695 USD with payment plan available.

Questions? Contact us.

These spots will sell out very quickly so be sure to secure your space today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are these SHE RECOVERS Return to Self retreats for?

These recovery retreats are designed for women and non-binary individuals who are in or seeking recovery. Because our definition of recovery includes mental health issues, trauma, and substance use our recovery retreats are alcohol and drug free.

What does the schedule look like?

A detailed program will be provided closer to the retreat date. Mornings begin with trauma-informed embodied movement such as yoga and dance, and a nourishing breakfast. Walking and exploring the venue property, writing workshops, opportunities for group and 1:1 coaching and additional programming are available to you during the day. Evening sharing circles finish out the day!

Who leads these recovery retreats?

All of our retreats are facilitated by SHE RECOVERS team members and/or certified professionals. 

What kind of accommodations can I expect?

These recovery memoir retreats feature tranquil accommodations.

Is there a shuttle or transportation services available?

We do not provide shuttle transportation. Ride share programs (Uber and Lyft) and taxi services are available. You may drive and park your vehicle at the return to self retreat venue, McIver Center at The Retreat, Wayzata, Minnesota. A detailed map of the property will be included in your Retreat Guide.

Is there a refund policy?

Retreat deposits are strictly non-refundable. Your booking and payment of the retreat deposit indicates your acceptance of all policies.

If you are unable to attend the retreat you registered for and need to forfeit your spot, SRF is unable to offer a refund, however; depending upon the time of cancellation, a portion of your payment may be used as (one time) credit for another retreat to be taken within the same calendar year of your original retreat date.

In the event that the SHE RECOVERS Foundation cancels a retreat, a transfer of registration to a future retreat (with no penalty) or a full refund will be provided.

More details are available on our registration page.

Can I bring my service animal?

Service animals are permitted. Please contact us to make arrangements prior to booking.

Is the retreat accessible for those with physical limitations?


What should I pack?

A Retreat Guide with a detailed Packing List will be sent out to each attendee prior to the retreat.

Where do the proceeds from retreats go?

All of our recovery retreats help us to fulfill our mission and help us to provide accessible and free programming, resources, and support to women in or seeking recovery. We are deeply grateful for your decision to love yourself radically by registering for a SHE RECOVERS retreat knowing you are contributing to the recovery of others.

The full cost of this experience is out of my price range. What should I do?

Social justice, personal agency, inclusivity, and accessibility are at the heart of our organization.

Our payment plan option acknowledges that paying the full cost upfront would prevent some folks from being able to attend. If you are struggling to conquer debt or move away from living paycheck to paycheck but have access to steady income and are not spending most of your time thinking about meeting basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care, child care, etc. – this payment plan is for you.

We acknowledge that there are folks whose economic circumstances prevent them from being a part of this retreat. If you struggle to maintain access to needs such as health care, housing, food, child care, and are living pay-check to pay-check or are in significant debt – you don’t have to recover alone. In addition to launching the SHE RECOVERS Camp budget-friendly retreat series in 2025, we also provide free offerings (sustained by the funds raised through SHE RECOVERS retreats) such as a monthly recovery education series, local sharing circles, twice daily online gatherings, online embodied movement sessions, and identity-based support. Please click ‘SUPPORT’ on our website to learn more.

Folks in our spaces have also found the following free recovery education sessions in pursuing financial recovery helpful and, as a result, many have gone on to attend our paid offerings.

I have benefited greatly from being a part of SHE RECOVERS and I would like to give back in addition to my retreat purchase. What can I do?

We are deeply grateful for your desire to contribute to the recovery of others. You are welcome to make a donation to our foundation in addition to your retreat purchase.

Our recovery includes the recovery of the Earth and her peoples. 


SHE RECOVERS acknowledges with respect Mni Sota Makoce (Minnesota) is the homeland of the Dakota and Anishinaabe people. We honor their historical, cultural, and spiritual connection to these lands – a relationship that continues to this day.

Compassion Disclaimer

These recovery retreats are designed for women and non-binary individuals who are in or seeking recovery. Because our definition of recovery is inclusive of all life challenges, this includes recovering from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, codependency, overworking, grief, loss, self-injurious behavior, chronic illness, disordered eating, process addictions and substance use. Out of compassion and respect for these folks, all of the SHE RECOVERS retreats are alcohol and drug free. Use of these substances is not permitted while attending our retreats.

Don’t see yourself here?

Explore our full spectrum of recovery retreat experiences.

Reconnect with yourself, deepen your sense of purpose, reclaim rest as a revolutionary act of self-love, engage in holistic recovery practices, create connections to last a lifetime with like-hearted women, and receive relentless support from facilitators with decades of lived and professional recovery experience. 

These are just a few things you can expect from a SHE RECOVERS Retreat. All of our recovery retreats sell out quickly – be sure to secure your spot so you don’t miss out on these immersive healing opportunities.

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