"I believe it's important to share my background and take you on some of my journey"
"I was feeling frustrated that I was still not feeling ok and knew I deserved more"
I had got into recovery in 1996 and was promised that if I did the ‘work’, I would feel ‘happy, joyous and free.’ I had spent many years ‘working on myself’ and I was exhausted.
I reached an emotional rock-bottom in recovery when I found myself in hospital following an infection that I had ignored because I had not made the time to go to the doctors and seek medical help. I was stressed out, scared, out of ideas, desperate, unsure and disappointed in myself for not getting this ‘right.’ I was probably a workaholic at this point and completely unable to prioritise my needs.
I wasn't being kind to myself in any way. My self-talk was critical and my self-care was non-existent.
I’d had over 15 years of therapy and had attended every 12-step programme on the planet (almost), and I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I was still in a dark and lonely place, still causing myself harm and being so self-critical.
I was a professional, ran award-winning projects and was a single mum to two incredible boys. I felt that I should have known how to do this recovery/sober life thing without feeling so stressed and overwhelmed. I was respected, I had a First-Class degree, so I felt deep shame about not being able to work this out.
I had been working as a social worker in frontline services for many years. I was in my dream job (on paper), overseeing two incredible projects, managing a team and fundraising for women exploited through their involvement in the sex industry.
After I was hospitalised with an awful stress-related illness, I woke up knowing that I had neglected myself whilst being out there, trying to save the world.
I made a commitment from that day onwards that I was going to support and encourage, reassure and comfort myself every single day, no matter what.
I took a year out and I retrained to be a yoga teacher for addiction and mental health, and a coach working specifically with women who were high-achieving but who still have a relentless inner critic.
I have found a way to always be in my own corner, especially when I get it 'wrong' or mess things up. I am such a huge advocate for self-compassion because it has stopped me worrying about whether or not I am liked. And, finally, I have found freedom, not just from active addiction and anxiety but more importantly, from my own inner mean girl.
How this relates to you?
If you see yourself here, then please know that what we offer within this community will support and encourage you.
You are probably super-bright and find it hard to understand why you are still making unhelpful choices. You are probably trying to spend, work, eat, restrict or exercise your way out of healing. You may have given up. You thought that when you got sober or stopped self-medicating you would be ok, but you are exhausted and it all feels pretty joyless.
It may be a difficult relationship, your issues with food, overspending or your never-ending productivity. Either way it feels horrible and you have tried to make it stop, but you feel stuck.
If you are ready to take your recovery and healing to the next level, I offer a 6-12 month intensive 1:1 coaching experience. It has been described a 'life-changing' by those who have undertaken it.
Please know that it is going to be ok and if you have found your way here, please know that you are not alone."
Fun Facts and Qualifications
My animal print obsession is out of hand, as is my trainer collection and essential oil collection.
Books and photos are my favourite thing in my house (apart from my life partner and my teenager).
I am lit up by being out in red light districts, managing crisis and finding safe places for vulnerable women to live. I am a proud registered social worker.
I love yoga, but am not very 'yogi'. I am a trauma-informed practitioner, (almost) certified with ‘She Recovers’ and a 200 hr Yoga Alliance teacher, specialising in addiction and mental health.
I am allergic to small-talk.
My favourite character from a film is Alabama Worley in True Romance because she is all heart. I share her love of bright colours.
I like an offensive slogan T-Shirt, but I’m also super-polite.
I'm a dog person, but lost my dog last year. I am still sad.
Social Justice is important to me, as is equality, diversity and social inclusion.
Last year we donated over £1500 to charities supporting women and girls who were in the care system and who had experienced sexual and domestic violence.
I have a First Class Honours degree in Social Policy and an MSc in Social Work.
I’m an ICF Certified Coach, trained with the INCREDIBLE Beautiful You Coaching Academy.
My past has been described as ‘colourful’ by polite people.
I have been in recovery since I was 21 and I am now the right side of 46.
I have been a single mum of two incredible boys for most of my life.
Most people think I am an extrovert, but I love being alone.
Haribo's sometimes keep me going on a night shift.
I’m a Gemini. The end.
'Wow! Karen is one of the most powerful, courageous women I have ever met in my life. I honour her and her essence and passion. I know her presence on this planet inspires thousands of women. She is an incredible women.
- The Secret Millionaire, Dawn Gibbins MBE
'She does everything with humour, empathy and gentleness. I cannot think of a better role model'
- National Diversity Awards ITV
'Karen Johnston has spent many years supporting some of the most vulnerable women in our communities towards the lives they wish for themselves. She continually devotes her time to help women become the best version of themselves. An amazing human'
- National Diversity Awards ITV