The Recovery Toolkit
Have you left an abusive relationship?
Are you still carrying guilt?
Would you like to understand, challenge and remove the voice of the perpetrator?
Do you still think what happened to you was your fault?
Do you find dealing with new people in your life something to be scared about?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to the above questions you are not alone.
Many people who leave an abusive relationship behind are affected by that former relationship in many different ways. Perhaps you feel guilty when making decisions on your own? You may worry about what motivates others to befriend you? Maybe your children are having to re-learn who it is that’s the adult in the room now that your ex-partner has gone from their lives.
If this all sounds familiar then The Recovery Toolkit is the book for you. Written in an easy and accessible style, the book will take you on a journey that is part discovery, part guide.
The Recovery Toolkit Blog Tour Review by Vickie Robertson
As a survivor I was really interested to read this new book by Sue Penna, I had never heard of the course until I met and became friends with a fellow survivor Jennifer Gilmour who raved about it and its benefits.
Having done other courses since leaving my abuser I was really intrigued but couldn’t find anywhere offering it locally, so the book being released was a perfect opportunity.
Since leaving I have founded Kaleidoscopic UK 2 years later and started our very own course (liberation Programme) to help others without threshold, while being peer support along their journey as I found that the most helpful on mine.
I am 3.5 years into my healing journey. The relationship I will be in recovery from forever I feel, a bit like an addict as the past can’t be changed but we can learn, heal and recover. I believe the two are very intertwined. Knowledge is power and helps me to personally process and heal so I like to educate myself on as many areas as possible and am excited to read The Recovery Toolkit.
I have learnt about many areas of abuse since realising I was in an abusive relationship but there are always new concepts, techniques and information to learn and heal as the process and effects are variable for each person.
I managed to fit into reading this book around 4 kids during Covid lockdown and complete the weeks which I am thankful for as it fit into my life where I found those quiet moments.
This is one of the many reasons why this book is fantastic, it recognises this from the first page. All our experiences although similar are different and felt differently, experienced and processed differently. As is how we can heal and time that takes, although there are obviously many common factors about perpetrators and how they behave.
The book gives you a step by step guide into the 12 week programme, and reads just like you are there taking part while being supported and led by the author yet the emphasis completely on your own experiences and pace. This I found very comforting as well as the great breakdown of all areas and information leading into each week.
The references from survivors throughout the book was effective as it felt like I also had peer support and reflected many of my own thoughts and feelings also. Giving a different perspective and real ones is for me vital.
The part addressing cognitive dissonance was of particular interest to me as was the NAT (negative Automatic thoughts) how to break them down and process which is effectively guided throughout with great explanation that for me personally was a revelation. I still struggle saying no and at times can witch into the NAT which has been so ingrained that i need to actively keep track of.
The thought diaries are a fantastic way to record and recognise our own feelings and thoughts throughout each week of the course and to address our experiences. It is also a great way to look back upon and was a refresher for me to see how i have evolved over time and also on the course. I so wish I had this book when leaving my relationship as I am in a very different place now from where I was then although it is still so relevant for me but I would of got so much from this at the time.
I love the way that the book encompasses the body and mind as a whole which is vital to true healing, having recently attended trauma courses and how it effects the brain, mind and body and to truly heal we need address all areas. I found the book did this so effectively with exercises for breathing and relaxation, the thought diaries and activities among information and education.
It emphasis self -care throughout which is something I found and still do the hardest to do regularly and still do. We become so used to thinking this is selfish and wrong yet it is needed daily to live a balanced and fulfilled life. I have learnt It is in fact selfless not selfish to actively practise self-care that comes naturally to most and changing our thought processes with practical tools to be able to do so I found helpful even now. This is a result of many years of being made to feel less and not worthy.
The book is easy to read in the way it is set out with not too much information overload and completing only one week of the programme at a time gives time to reflect and process and apply the tools learnt. I am a big believer in affirmations so again this was a huge plus and so effective at changing mind-set which for me the ripples of that relationship will last a lifetime and a great reminder why this is still important.
I found all weeks still relevant and helpful some more than others due to being out for some time but I cannot reiterate how brilliant this book is. I will be adding it to our collection for all survivors using our services to borrow from our library as this book is only for those who have left and it makes very clear throughout this is the case. Being in a book is also a great idea as unlike a course you can pick it up and put it down at your own speed or if something is triggering etc and can then return when able to.
I found for where I am currently in my life the reminder of what to look for and out for when starting a new relationship very helpful as I have avoided this for the last 3.5 years but feel finally in a place where I am considering dating again and it has helped me to validate my feelings and worry but practise how to overcome them and reiterated all deserve to be loved and not all relationships or men are abusive.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has left their abuser or anyone working in the field. For anyone supporting those who might be a friend or family member as it highlights so many vital areas, giving the survivors perspective plus remains trauma informed which is not the case for most. I found it helpful as someone who also supports others coming out of relationships too and learnt new areas as mentioned earlier.
A refreshing, engaging, powerful, helpful and life changing book. It gives you helpful activities that you can use when triggered/anxious or angry to ground you and calm you which are very effective and have used most of them. The thoughts diaries are a great tool and I will be looking back on them to see how they have changed for me in future.
Thanks to all involved and the opportunity to be able to read/blog.