In just over a month, 500 women will gather at a posh hotel in Lower Manhattan to celebrate recovery and the online friendships that helped them along the way. She Recovers In NYC will be the first event of its kind in North America and comes at a time when many women are already feeling mobilized and energized to change the status quo. I’ll be attending and don’t know if I’m more excited about being part of something so unique or because I’ll finally get to meet some of the women who helped me get sober in the first place.
She Recovers In NYC will be a held from May 5-7 at the Conrad Hotel in New York City. The impressive keynote lineup includes best-selling authors and recovery superstars Gabrielle Bernstein, Glennon Doyle Melton, Elizabeth Vargas and Marianne Williamson. Attendees can start their day off with yoga led by Elena Brower and Taryn Strong, browse a recovery marketplace and attend interactive breakout panels led by experts in recovery and healing. Ten sober bloggers will cover the event via social media and their own popular blogs.
Response has been so enthusiastic, tickets sold out months ago. Event founders—mother-daughter team Dawn Nickel and Taryn Strong—capped the event waiting list at 230 women, especially once they realized no one was canceling. They recently opened up a Livestream ticket option so women can stream the conference from their living room. “We want to extend the reach of the weekend to several thousand more,” explains Nickel.
She Recovers In NYC is not just for women in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. It’s also for women recovering from codependency, workaholism, eating disorders, sex and love addiction, mental illness and chronic physical illness. “We’re all recovering from something,” says Nickel. “We recover in different ways, so we know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach or right or wrong way. And we know we’re stronger together.”
She Recovers In NYC builds on the connection and energy of the cyber recovery movement, an online community primarily made up of women from a variety of backgrounds. Some got sober in 12-step meetings, but just as many never set foot in one. They met other women in recovery through sober blogs and private Facebook groups. Some formed deep friendships and will be meeting for the first time at the event.
Becky, a sober mom and professional celebrating three years sober, is excited about finally meeting some of the women she’s known online for years. “So many women I’ve looked to for support will be there and a few are even scheduled speakers,” she says. “Their stories and interactions online helped me realize there was nothing ‘wrong’ with me. We are not alone and we don’t have to suffer alone.”
Aside from the killer keynote lineup, it’s the social aspect of She Recovers In NYC that has me most excited. Pretty early in recovery, I stopped going to 12-step meetings and went online for support. Even though I’d heard at meetings that leaving would eventually lead to relapse, I found a somewhat hidden community of people happily staying sober through blogs and online recovery groups. Most of them were women with stories and backgrounds I could relate to. I don’t know if it was as small as I remember, but the pool of sober blogs and groups felt tiny back then. Six years later, I can’t keep up all the new sober blogs. The online recovery community has exploded and reaches women who might not even be in recovery if they only had traditional methods to choose from. But we never had a place to meet in person, celebrate recovery and share new ideas. She Recovers In NYC is our place, and this alone is cause for celebration.
And it will be one big party. Friday night will kick off with a welcome reception and keynote by Glennon Doyle Melton, best-selling author of Carry On, Warrior and Love Warrior. Saturday will begin with an early morning yoga session or recovery run and offer a recovery marketplace with various vendors and a number of interactive panels by recovery experts like Ann Dowsett-Johnson, Jennifer Matesa, and Nikki Meyers. ABC’s 20/20 anchor and sober-memoirist Elizabeth Vargas will host the lunch keynote and popular spiritual activist Gabby Bernstein will address the crowd after dinner. Sunday morning will wrap up with yoga and dance sessions, more time to browse the marketplace and mingle, and end with a keynote by Marianne Williamson.
“With all these women in recovery in one place, we can really change the face of recovery,” says Nickel. “We can smash stigma.”
Those who can’t attend She Recovers In NYC in-person can purchase the Livestream event ticket. In 2018, She Recovers plans to host a women’s recovery event in Los Angeles.