I have always been a writer, but writing became most meaningful and most purposeful when I used the practice of structured narrative to write myself out of illness and into wellness. Our society tends to view healing from illness and trauma as a private concern. My own writing, initially private, eventually became public in purpose. In my published work, I reveal how I became a sane, sober survivor. In my narrative, I give shape to pain and suffering, but also to success and joy. Through this, I am no longer the victim but the hero of my story.
Recovery Writing Workshops guide you in the writing and voluntary sharing of your own stories from illness into wellness. The workshops are based on Trauma Writing research, particularly that of Dr. James Pennebaker, who has shown how expressive writing can heal trauma. Recovery Writing Workshops assist you in utilizing the power of your own writing to transform the past and provide a path to a more reflective, healthier future.
You are guided through a series of structured writing prompts that ask you to apply the techniques of conscious narrative (plot, point of view, character development, turning point, and resolution) to their own often chaotic experiences.
Recovery Writing Workshops utilize a collaborative process. We read examples of published work by writers who have bravely risked telling their own stories. Over the course of the workshop sessions, we write, reflect, and offer feedback. Writers are encouraged to read from their works in progress which decreases individual feelings of shame regarding stigma attached to trauma. We support each other’s stories in empathy, knowing that we can’t fix problems but can encourage each other to be seekers in solutions. At the end of our time together, we celebrate our insights with a voluntary group reading of the stories participants have given their hearts to during our time together.
Who Might Benefit
Recovery Writing Workshops can address varied needs of populations in recovery. Workshops can be structured for a variety of challenges common to many of us: eating disorders, mental illness, alcoholism, self-injury as well as for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Workshops can be developed for a group in settings such as inpatient treatment programs, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs, community recovery groups, informal groups committed to recovery, and for one-on-one online coaching.