Dawn strongly believes in connection and emphasizes the importance of connection and quotes Johann Hari: “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.” She continued, "Women need to be in other people’s stories. They need to connect. It’s about connection. It’s like anything that we need to heal from. The first thing we need to do is to think it’s possible for us too. And I think how we learn that is by listening to somebody who has a story that might be similar to what we know ours is and they’re healing. They’re not only healing, they’re thriving.” We all know stories are important and when I ask Dawn to give me an overview of her own story she said "By the age of 15 years old I was using all types of substances and at the age of 20 years old, I had overdosed many times. Before the age of thirty, I had been in treatment twice and finally, it seemed to stick. Recovery at that time gave me my life back and I went to university for 13 years culminating in a PhD in health care policy. I was a mother, I worked, I studied and fell into a work addiction that brought me back to my knees at the age of 51. The past few years have been about peeling back the real layers of my life - and creating the community that both holds me up and allows me to give back." What I loved on my call with Dawn was her humbleness about what she and her daughter have created over the past decade of helping thousands of women, she speaks as if she is turning up for work when the reality is, her vision, her early passion for the project ensured the safety and well being of countless women around the world. Everyone in the sober space understands that connection and belonging are key pieces to moving forward and all that Dawn has achieved is the living embodiment of connection is our sole (soul) purpose. I did wonder what Dawn's drugs of choice were and without missing a beat she responds "I used to cope but I was addicted to cocaine, pills marijuana and alcohol. That and my addiction to really unhealthy relationships made my young adult years a bit of a gong show."
Dawn is a respected thought leader in the women's recovery sphere and (along with her daughter Taryn Strong) the Founder of SHE RECOVERS Foundation, a not-for-profit grassroots organization that inspires hope, reduces stigma, and empowers women in or seeking SHE RECOVERS® FOUNDATION is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity with a growing and evolving community currently consisting of more than 325,000 women in or seeking recovery from substance use disorders, other behavioural health issues and/or life challenges. We believe in a world where all women in or seeking recovery are celebrated, supported, and deemed essential to healthy communities. We accomplish this by inspiring hope, reducing stigma and empowering women to increase their recovery capital, heal themselves, and help other women to do the same. As the largest women’s global recovery network, we have come to know that we are strong and courageous women— and we don’t have to recover alone.
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