Alumna Describes the Healing Power of Telling Her Story When Lindsey Kromer (’15) was contacted through the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies to speak at the August 3 Hazelden Betty Ford-sponsored She Recovers event in Nashville, Tennessee, she wasn’t convinced that her story was special enough to share. She Recovers is an international movement of self-identified women who are in or seeking recovery from a wide variety of issues. The retreats create welcoming spaces and transformative opportunities to connect, support and empower recovering women. As a speaker, Kromer had all of the requisite criteria: Graduate School alumna, Nashville resident and professional expertise in working with and advocating for women in recovery as the clinical coordinator at Milestones at Onsite. But it took some research and introspective thinking before Kromer was on board with the idea of telling her personal story. "The more I learned about She Recovers and their philosophy that everyone is recovering from something, the more I started to consider sharing my story for the first time," she says. After agreeing to speak, Kromer agonized over how to tell her story. Friends told her not to worry, that it would be easy, it’s her story. She lived it. "Easy wasn’t how I saw the task," she recalls. "I literally asked for an outline." After some soul-searching, Kromer realized she was looking for someone to tell her what to say when "no one else on the planet knows, but me and God." She wrote notes, read those notes out loud, revised her message and repeated the process over and over again in preparing for her talk. Still those nagging doubts persisted. The morning of her talk, while participating in a trauma-informed yoga class that was part of the She Recovers event, Kromer felt her nerves calm and her self-doubt ease. She finally felt ready to speak. As it turned out, she was deeply moved by the experience. "I received the gift of being fully seen, heard and approved of among women who could relate," she shares. The connection among strong, resilient women was immensely powerful for her. "The phrase 'Me too' isn’t just a hashtag movement, it's also one of the most sacred moments in times of healing," Kromer offers. As a therapist, she had listened to others tell their stories for years but had never shared her own. She left the event feeling loved, supported and grateful for the opportunity to take the risk of stepping beyond her comfort zone. Having the opportunity to share her story was "exactly what I needed," she says, "and what I now consider the missing piece in my own recovery journey." Stay Connected and Let Others Know about Your Graduate School Experience We hear from many alumni about how grateful you are for your Graduate School experience and how your education has helped to open new doors and expand your personal and professional lives. Please know that there are many important ways you can help carry the message to new and prospective students. Stay in touch – Consider joining the alumni association. Plan to attend one of our free CE events. Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn–in particular, the alumni-only group on LinkedIn. Send us your most current job and contact information. Fill us in on what’s happening in your life. Please contact GraduateSchool@HazeldenBettyFord.edu for more information about getting connected and staying connected. Write an online review – We appreciate hearing your stories of gratitude and inspiration—and so would prospective students. Posting about your experiences at the Graduate School, with whatever level of anonymity you choose, will give prospective students a real-life understanding of our programs, what life is like as a student and how your life has been changed through your graduate studies. Talk with a prospective student – If you can spare an occasional hour to share your experience, please consider becoming an alumni contact person for our recruitment team. We will connect you with prospective students who may live in your area or come from a similar background. Please contact GraduateSchool@HazeldenBettyFord.edu for more details on how you can help. Volunteer for a recruiting event – Check out our social media and website for upcoming in-person or virtual info sessions, open houses, recruiting fairs and conferences. Email GraduateSchool@HazeldenBettyFord.edu know if you are interested in volunteering at an event. Your voice is powerful and can help others discover the confidence they need to enroll. Refer a student – Alumni can receive a $500 discount on a customized training course by referring a new student. The new student you refer is then also eligible to receive a $500 first-semester scholarship. For more information, please contact GraduateSchool@HazeldenBettyFord.edu. Make a donation – If you are able, you can also consider giving a monetary donation. Your generous gift will help fund scholarships so that more people can access quality, evidence-based education and will be able to help more people struggling with addiction and mental health disorders.