The She Recovers in NYC conference is the first-ever international meeting to pay attention to the particular needs of women in in all kinds of . Aside from being one of the happiest celebrations of recovery on the planet, She Recovers in NYC is built to help us heal from serious problems that compromise our recovery.
It’s just real that, as women, we face some challenges that are different from those of our male counterparts. One of the most prevalent and important is the level of trauma in our histories.
Whereas no more than 20 percent of men in recovery have experienced trauma, one reliable study found trauma in the histories of roughly three-quarters of women. About two-thirds of those have experienced physical trauma, and a significant fraction have experienced sexual trauma, including childhood sexual abuse.
Five hundred of us will cross state and international borders to gather in New York, and three out of four of us will be dealing with trauma in our pasts. And as the long-running Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study has pretty definitively shown, trauma is highly correlated with the ways we drank and used drugs.
We have to take care of this trauma. We can’t pretend it doesn’t exist, and we also can’t allow its fallout to tempt us back into that life.
When I heard that Dawn Nickel and Taryn Strong and their team were putting this conference on, I knew I had to go. I wanted to be with my sisters who are struggling with the same problems I and so many others grapple with.
I know what those problems are. I’ve heard about them firsthand. For my last book, Sex in Recovery: A Meeting between the Covers, I interviewed more than four dozen ordinary people in recovery about their sexual histories inside both addiction and recovery.
Men talked about physical abuse, usually from their fathers. But woman after woman—one of my sisters after another—talked about sexual trauma: rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, performing sex-work to get drugs.
I also heard from women in recovery who have been celibate for up to 12 years, who desire relationships and sexual pleasure but have no idea how to go about getting there without drinking or using a drug.
Talking with so many women convinced me that substance abuse has roots in a lack of healthy touch in society and in our failure to talk in reasonable ways to our kids—or even with each other—about sex.
Recovery awakens desires for healthy and loving sexual relationships, but because we don’t talk about sex in the culture, we have no language to talk about any of this.
She Recovers NYC is not just a party—it’s also a balls-out effort to help women heal from serious problems that may compromise our ability to stay clean and sober. Interactive workshops are designed to help women begin to talk about sexuality, desire, trauma, numbing ourselves with sugar, and fear of abundance. Yoga sessions are designed to help us stay inside our bodies. No way could I resist going.