Blog Tour: The Recovery Toolkit by Sue Penna

“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”
Laini Taylor
Blog Tour Stops
I am thrilled to be part of The Recovery Toolkit blog tour featuring incredible women with a passion for recovery and making a difference globally. Why did I choose to be part of this movement?
My Story
In July of 2017, I took my boys and fled a 20 year abusive marriage. It has been exactly 3 years to the month since I left! Stepping from hopelessness into hope, I’ve found inspirational people to aid in the recovery process. Healing from abuse requires help from professionals, those who have walked a similar journey and are skilled in trauma recovery.
One of the most powerful resources available for women who have left an abusive situation is The Recovery Toolkit, by Sue Pena. This book is an empowering resource available for women like me, who escaped abuse.
In time, hope becomes real again. Three years later, I have finally begun to dream, do, and continuously heal!
RTK Book Cover


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 is 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 is 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 program 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 specialized in working with individuals who have experienced domestic abuse.
The Recovery Toolkit is crammed with superb observations and suggestions that will help you recognize that you weren’t to blame for the abuse you suffered in the first place and that the real you is there, ready to emerge.
About the Author
Who Inspires You?
“People who are true to their principles and are brave enough to champion what they believe in.”
Sue Pena, Author, The Recovery Toolkit

Sue Penna HeadshotSue 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 specialized in writing psycho-educational programs that promote trauma-informed practice and a recovery model. Sue is passionate about 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.

She has an extensive background in the domestic abuse sector and has written trauma-informed domestic abuse programs including the Inspiring Families Program, 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.

Book Review

First and foremost, this book is not for people still in an abusive relationship as it includes a 12 week process towards recovery for those who have fled and in a safe space. We are encouraged in a new way of living, changed behaviors and patterns, raised self confidence, a renewed self identity and remembering purpose and dreams. If you are still in an abusive relationship, engaging in changed behavior can put you in further danger. I will include resources at the end.

Let’s Dive In!

For 12 weeks, we are taken through readings, education, self awareness principles, challenges, and exercises to guide us toward recovery. Each week, we are given a new lesson, key to our recovery process. Remember, upon leaving abuse, we have lost our self esteem, we have no idea who we are nor how to feel, we need to learn boundaries, and we must go through the important process of loss and grief. Thankfully, we are no longer alone! The Recovery Toolkit serves as a guide through the process and includes the most important lessons in our journey.


Week One: How We Think

Week Two: Dynamics of Domestic Abuse

Week Three: Self Esteem

Week Four: How We cope Emotionally

Week 5: Our Children

Week 6: Self-Care

Week 7: A New Assertive You

Week 8: Being Angry

Week 9: Boundaries

Week 10: Grief and Loss

Week 11: Healthy Relationships

Week 12: The End of the Journey

Perhaps, my favorite chapter was that of Week 6, Self-Care. While in a toxic and abusive relationship, we did not have time nor the energy to engage in caring for ourself. In fact, most often, we do not realize the importance of valuing ourself and thus neglect the process of self care. Our brain has become accustomed to the ridicule and harmful words from our abuser and we learn to abuse ourselves. Furthermore, we second guess the words and actions of others. Chapter 6 guides us through the use of simple affirmations to change our negative thought patterns.

Affirmation Examples

I am learning how I want to be treated

I have learned a lot about myself

Sue Pena, The Recovery Toolkit, p 90

The exercise in chapter 6 gives us an opportunity to write down and practice new affirmations for ourselves. It sets aside a page within the chapter for us to do so!

Each chapter also includes a thought diary, a guide for us to write down our emotions, thoughts, and challenges during situations throughout the day. I found this to be especially helpful as I face new challenges as I step into year 4 of my healing journey. Writing my thoughts down allowed me to be more mindful in caring for myself, allow myself more grace, give myself permission to rest, and learn to be present and still.

I highly recommend The Recovery Toolkit for all survivors and overcomers who have escaped abusive and toxic relationships.

You can learn more about Sue Penna by following her on Twitter.

Special THANK YOU to Jennifer Gilmour, founder Abuse Talk, who is making a difference in the lives of survivors and overcomers worldwide. You can find Jennifer HERE.
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Published by christellelerryn

Blogger with a thing for love and hope and grace and adventure. Wrote a Children's Book. Creative. Work in a homeless shelter and treatment facility. Every day I hear the words "I just can't do this anymore" and I remember when I whispered those very words. And I remember hope that whispered through my soul from stories like yours. We all have one. A story. We are more alike than different.

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