Written by Susan Christina

I had the pleasure of meeting Dawn Nickel this month for a wonderful zoom chat where Spain and Canada connected on multiple levels including Dawn's very strong Irish roots. Her grandmother was born in Dublin and her great grandmother was from Armagh in Northern Ireland. The lovely lady I met on zoomwas warm and insightful, passionate and one whom I suspect has seen it all over the last decade of being active in the recovery space. A Co-founder of the She Recovers movement with hundreds of thousands of women around the world began as a thought in Dawn Nickel’s head: “We’re all recovering from something. The addictions mask what the real issues are. What we need is the deep healing.” Dawn, who lives in Victoria, is in recovery from drugs, alcohol and workaholism. Her daughter, Taryn Strong, is a yoga teacher who is also in recovery. They launched a SHE RECOVERS Facebook page in 2011 . “I was blogging and sharing things on Facebook, and my message was around, ‘we’re all in recovery from something.’ And a critical message Dawn shared with her Facebook followers was that each woman should be supported in her own personal individualised patchwork of recovery meaning each woman finding a combination of resources that work for the individual’s recovery. A patchwork as it were. The messages resonated with thousands and thousands of women and

SHE RECOVERS became a resource. One of the many pathways to recovery that SHE RECOVERS embraces is Alcoholics Anonymous. Dawn attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings and strongly believes in the 12-step model. Dawns says SHE RECOVERS acts as an umbrella: “We don’t prescribe to a particular program. We invite women to create their own individualised pathways and patchwork. We introduce them to concepts around meditation and yoga, nutrition, writing, journaling, art, being outdoors, fitness. The main thing is we are not specifically about substance abuse. We are about grief, we’re about codependency, we’re about love addiction, we’re about any behavioural health issue, we’re about eating disorders and more." Ironically in 2019 the team had looked at various models of hosting online recovery meetings but the technology seemed complex and the idea was shelved to be addressed at some point in the future. A year later in 2020 as the world found itself in the grip of a global pandemic the decision to make the cross-over to online was made quickly and with surprising ease. The team understood very quickly that women out there needed support, needed a safe space possibly more than ever and on St. Patrick's Day 2020 (March 17th) the first online recovery meeting was held. And again with irony Dawn says "The technology that seemed so complex a year previously was suddenly easy to navigate and once we had dealt with some early zoom bomb moments, it all began to work effectively and was a powerful tool for so very many."

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