Guinevere Gets Sober

Recovery news, reviews and stories, by Jennifer Matesa.

Tag: meetings

She Recovers in NYC: Healing Alongside Our Sisters

She Recovers in NYC

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.

What Was the Most Awesome Recovery Meeting You’ve Been To?

One side-benefit of writing this blog is meeting new people. Guinevere Gets Sober is read by a hell of a lot more people than I expected, and it reaches more places than I ever imagined—in the past 30 days we had people from more than 100 countries, people from every continent, people from every European and South American country and most of the Asian nations, people from Australia and New Zealand and people from every state in the U.S. except for North Dakota (are there addicts in North Dakota? are they on the Internet?).

Some of these people write in. And some of those who write become pen-pals. “The message” has a way of using all kinds of technology to make its way where it needs to be.

Tiger Mountain

Tiger Mountain, elev. 3,044 ft., where the twice-weekly outdoor meeting is held.

I heard from one guy this morning that he took a trip to the West Coast last weekend to visit his sponsor. He said he went to a meeting on top of a mountain. “It takes two hours to climb,” he said.

You’re sweaty when you get there but must change clothes fast to avoid freezing, then about 40 people huddle together twice a week for a really great meeting. It should be on the list of the best open meetings in America, if such a list exists.

I read this (anonymously, because I keep all these people anonymous) to a friend of mine this morning. She’s spending a lot of time this week up the block from me, taking care of three cats for another recovering friend of ours who’s out of town. So I visit while my friend is there and let the cats run all over me. (My body becomes instantly relaxed when there’s a cat purring against my neck.)

“Wow,” she said. “A meeting on top of a mountain.”

Does such a list exist? Been wondering all morning.

If you’re reading this and you’ve had a blow-your-mind meeting experience, why don’t you let us all know about it? 

Been listening to this song a lot lately. Makes me smile… Interesting that George Harrison (my kid’s favorite Beatle) wrote only maybe two songs for the Beatles, and both of them were enormous hits.

Sayings from the rooms: The only meeting you’re late to

I’ve heard this one before and I heard it again today at the 7 a.m. meeting…

They say:

It’s not alcohol-wasm;

it’s alcohol-ism.

I also heard this one this morning, which I thought was great…

They say:

The only meeting you’re late to

is your first meeting.

Big Ben in London

Two years ago was my last day of daily active addiction. August 28, 2008. The next day,

I committed to detox…

The Suboxone threw me into precipitated withdrawal

and I kicked superhard, in my bedroom, for two days, until

on the third day I could drag myself out and start eating again.

Precipitated withdrawal isn’t like “normal” kicking. It’s like

all 10-15 days of normal kicking packed into two.

I need to remember these facts.

It took me three weeks before I made it to my first meeting…

Two days after my son’s 11th birthday.

Late, but much better late than never.

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