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This Foundation Helping Women Turn Trauma Into Strength Is Bolstered by a Powerful Message: "No One Should Have to Recover Alone"

This Foundation Helping Women Turn Trauma Into Strength Is Bolstered by a Powerful Message: "No One Should Have to Recover Alone"

By The Sunday Paper Team
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Dawn Nickel, PhD is the co-founder of SHE RECOVERS and has extensive experience in researching and writing about women experiencing substance use disorders, mental health challenges, and intimate partner violence. Along with her daughter Taryn Strong, they created the SHE RECOVERS Foundation, a non-profit movement dedicated to redefining recovery, inspiring hope, ending stigma and empowering women in or seeking recovery to increase their recovery capital, heal themselves and help other women to do the same.

Dawn’s passion is to redefine women’s recovery, end the shame and stigma around it, and ensure that all women are supported to find and follow individualized pathways and patchworks of recovery. Dawn is the author of She Recovers Every Day: Meditations for Women, which was released in 2023 and acknowledges and speaks to the specific needs of all women in any type of recovery and includes important topics such as substance use, codependency, love addiction, workaholism, eating disorders, and beyond.


What inspired the creation of SHE RECOVERS?

I was inspired to create a space for women recovering in all areas of their lives in 2011, when I hit the wall with workaholism. By that time, I had been on a recovery journey from substance use and intimate partner violence for over 20 years so admitting that I had an issue with overworking felt familiar—I knew what I needed to do in order to find healing. My youngest daughter Taryn was also in recovery from substance use and making bad decisions around relationships and we decided to embark on the project of SHE RECOVERS together. We started a Facebook page and hosted our first women’s yoga and recovery retreat in 2021. You could say that the desire for both intra-generational and intergenerational healing is what inspired the creation of SHE RECOVERS.

Why is it so important for women to have access to the resources and support SHE RECOVERS provides?

There is a women’s mental health and addiction crisis in the United States right now and women need a welcoming and non-judgmental place to go where they can be connected to others, supported to figure out what they need to heal, and empowered to take action to do what they feel will work best for them. It’s essential that the majority of resources be accessible—financially (free is best) and practically. It’s also essential that available resources recognize the diversity of women’s experience and needs—and diversity is one of our core values. When women heal, families heal, and communities do too.

We view our nonprofit as a clearinghouse of information and resources for women recovering in all areas of their lives. We believe that we must be supported to find and follow individualized pathways and patchworks of recovery. And so, we provide unique SHE RECOVERS offerings such as free 24/7 online support, free zoom support meetings, free weekly SHE RECOVERS Yoga and Dance sessions, and free mental health education through our podcast and #MentalHealthMondays series. For the past several years we had to provide support primarily in the virtual realm, but we are grateful that as the public health crisis lessens, we can move back into providing in-person support in the form of Sharing Circles, free support events that are hosted by women training in our inclusive, trauma-informed, women-centered philosophy.

Today more than ever, with the assault on women’s agency, we need an inclusive and women-centered approach to mental health, substance use, and other related life challenges. We need all hands on deck as we work hard to ensure that women know where to find the help they need. Because collaboration is another of our core values, we work hard to support, promote and refer to a wide range of other amazing programs and recovery modalities and organizations.

What impact have you seen in the lives of those SHE RECOVERS serves?

One of the phrases that we hear often from our community members when they describe the impact that SHE RECOVERS is having on them is ‘life-changing.’ In an increasing number of cases, women are reporting that finding us has actually been ‘life-saving.’ Other outcomes that our community members regularly report are feeling more accepted, supported, empowered and inspired to help others.

These are powerful outcomes, indeed, but likely the greatest impact that we are having on women is helping them to feel connected, sometimes for the first time in their lives. Studies classify isolation as a health risk in and of itself, and lack of social support is negatively associated with successful recovery. Fostering the development of community and inter-personal connection is the crux of our operations. We understand, and research shows, that sharing personal narratives and connecting with others of similar experiences can significantly improve self-esteem, connection, social support, and quality of life in women. Women who access our resources report that as a result of being a part of SHE RECOVERS, they are feeling more connected to their stories, to their healing, to their body, to their loved ones and to other people on a similar journey.

For more information, visit their website For private online support groups and zoom gatherings, please click here to sign up. Those looking for in-person support can find information about Sharing Circles taking place in communities across the United States here.

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