Today we’re looking at something a bit different as I take part in a blog tour for The Recovery Toolkit by Sue Penna! Huge thanks to both Sue and also Jennifer Gilmour for organising this tour and inviting me to be a part of it.
Before I start, I’d like to give you all a little bit of background. Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have noticed I take part in #AbuseTalk every Wednesday night, which is run by the lovely Jennifer Gilmour, and Sue Penna is one of it’s sponsors via her organisation, Rock Pool. The reason I follow #AbuseTalk and take part in the discussions every week is because I am recovering from an abusive relationship myself, and have found the discussions greatly helpful. Being given the opportunity to try out Sue Pennas new book, The Recovery Toolkit has been wonderful, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
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 book is based on the successful 12-week group programme of the same name created by author Sue Penna. It is also based on Sue’s professional and lived experience, having worked for more than 20 years for the NHS’s Mental Health Services. For the last 15 years, Sue has specialised in working with individuals who have experienced domestic abuse.
The Recovery Toolkit is crammed with superb observations and suggestions that will help you recognise that you weren’t to blame for the abuse you suffered in the first place and that the real you is still there, ready to emerge.
Note: I got this book back when it was originally released, so have been lucky enough to have the time to work through the 12 weeks as intended before writing my review.
This book is so much crammed into such a small package. At less than 200 pages, I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t sure what to expect at first when the unassuming paperback arrived at my door. I am happy to report that I was very pleasantly surprised!
Though I left my abusive relationship almost 9 years ago now, I’ve only really begun to tackle the issues it’s left me with in the last 12-18 months, so I’m still fairly fresh to the recovery process. What I really loved about this book is that each and every step you tackle is focused on you. It’s all about you, your frame of mind, your behaviours and attitudes and fears. Though it of course encourages you to look back on what happened in the relationship, to help you understand why you developed certain habits or behaviours, it is all based on moving forward and reclaiming your life as your own. This was exactly what I needed; I didn’t want to spend any more time dwelling on the past, wondering ‘what ifs’, I wanted that push to help me move forward and work past it all.
The book itself is set out in a very easy to read format – The 12 weeks split into 12 easy to handle chapters. As hard as it is to resist reading forward (The aim is to read ‘Week 1’, work on what you learned in the chapter, then start reading ‘Week 2’ in 7 days time) I highly recommend you follow it week by week to get the full effect. It gives you the time and space to digest your thoughts and feelings on what is discussed in each chapter, as they cover a wide set of topics.
Each chapter starts off explaining and discussing about the topic it’s going to tackle, with insightful snippets from Jennifer Gilmour about her own journey, and is rounded off with an exercise or two for you to work on over the next week, as well as a helpful thought diary to record your thoughts and feelings in each week.
Depending on an individuals experience during their abuse, some chapters will be more relevant to them than others, but even with that, I found reading through each one incredibly helpful. I would like to extend my thanks to Sue Penna for publishing this book, it’s been of great help to me as I’ve worked through it and has taken me on a rewarding if slightly emotional journey. I highly recommend anyone in the recovery process to pick up a copy and give it a shot. It may seem daunting at first, but Sue has built up such a well rounded programme that once you’ve started it, you’ll be glad you did!
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About The Author
Sue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.
She has specialised in writing psycho-educational programmes that promote trauma informed practice and a recovery model. Sue is passionate for the need for multi-agency working and committed to supporting front line workers to have the skills to support families with a trauma informed approach.
Sue has an extensive background in the domestic abuse sector and has written trauma informed domestic abuse programmes including the Inspiring Families Programme, Adult and Children and Young People Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkit and the Sexual Violence Recovery Toolkit. Sue has also devised the ACE Recovery Toolkit written for parents and the ACE Recovery Toolkit for children and young people.
About Rock Pool
Our vision is a society that is trauma-informed.
We support organisations that want to improve practice, share knowledge and expertise, and enable their workforce to inspire hope, promote resilience and aid recovery for people affected by trauma. Our innovative, practical solutions and training opportunities are informed by lived experience and what is known to work.