It is for a pop-up window for people to sign-up for our emails!

NEED HELP? 1-800-273-8255 TXT "CTL" to 741741

Mental Health video by young adults!

Guys, check out this awesome video!

“From award-winning documentary filmmaker Arthur Cauty, comes Faces of Mental Health, a short film which challenges stigma and encourages open conversation around mental illness and suicide in young people.

Students in Bristol were offered a space to open up and share their thoughts and personal experiences of mental illness and suicide, with a view to encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds across the country and around the World to step forward and speak out.”

It’s on vimeo, and definitely worth a watch and a share!!

Check out the video here on vimeo

Disconnecting for a Connection

What is disconnecting? Is it when you detach with love? Terminating a relationship? Isolating yourself? Unplugging an electrical device? Is it rejection? Not having a bond with something or someone?

Many times, people assume that someone who is disconnected find themselves in a difficult and challenging place to be. This can definitely be true, but what if disconnecting can be healthy and form a different connection?

When I have felt disconnected to the people, places, and things that help me stay sane, I start to get pretty down. I start feeling each of my insecurities creep into my mind and heart to convince me that I either don’t deserve the connection, or that it’s lost because of me.

Being disconnected can be very dangerous for my recovery and overall wellness – mentally and physically – however, it can also be extremely helpful, when used the right way; when I disconnect in order to connect.

One way I do this is by going to the beach and I shut out my thoughts and ground myself by using all of my senses to connect with the beach. I’ll disconnect my phone, my racing thoughts, my rapid heart rate, my loved ones, my responsibilities and allow myself to be vulnerable so I can connect to the calmness that the beach brings me. When I do this often, I’m able to balance the other connections in my life and have the strength to mend the disconnections in my life that I’m unhappy about.

Another way I’ve been disconnecting to connect is by getting to a quiet place, getting on my knees, and closing my eyes to start praying. I’m disconnecting any distraction so that I can build my spiritual connection. When I do this, I’m able to stabilize my emotions and welcome healing.

I’ve also been disconnecting electronics. I have been actually for once turning my phone on complete silence – no vibrate, nothing. When I do this, I’m able to enjoy the moment I’m in and be more in that moment. Sometimes, the moment is simply being alone. Sometimes I disconnect with others because I’m taking time for self-care. I’ve been realizing lately how important self-care really is.

This tool that I’ve learned and put into practice has had amazing benefits:
-the symptoms of my anxiety and ptsd have been more manageable
-I am able to take full advantage of EMDR Therapy
-My self-advocacy skills have increased tremendously
-I feel more empowered
-I feel confident in my ability to say no
-tasks are less pressuring and overwhelming

How will you disconnect to build a connection? What does that look like for you?

What are you proud of from 2018?

Hey guys! It’s 2019!
Pretty cool, kinda.

Some people seem to really care about New Years, it signifies a time to reflect and commit to change. Other people think it’s BS. And some don’t really care too much!

However you feel about New Years, it’s always good to reflect on time that’s passed and recognize strides that you have made.
My favorite quote when I was in the midst of a lot of struggles was,

“I may not be where I want to be but thank God I’m not where I used to be”

We don’t have to leap from ditches to mountain tops to recognize our power and strength. And sometimes it’s not even steps that deserve recognition, sometimes it’s staying right where you are, because it can be really hard to not fall backward, and good enough is good enough.

This New Years Eve, I laid in bed next to Willow while she slept and realized the changes that occurred over the past year. I thought about the pain, fear, and excitement I felt, and how hopeless I was at times. I realized how far I have come by looking back for a few moments. And it felt good, and it made me feel proud of myself. And I didn’t feel bad saying that.

So, what are you guys proud of from 2018?

I’m proud of myself for starting school, taking the leap to “real” employment and beginning the process of getting off of disability and SSI, moving, admitting to myself and a few friends that I was depressed, sticking with my path even when it was scary and painful and uncertain, trying every day to be a good mom, working hard, getting certified as a SMART recovery facilitator, Recovery Coach, and a Recovery Support Specialist, starting the path to getting my licence, and beginning to throw away things that I don’t need.

Let’s congratulate each other on our success in being here, even when it’s really hard work.

Recovery Month Videos

We want to see your videos for Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month! Check out Eliza’s video of why she fights for recovery and post yours here! We will share them on our facebook and twitter (if you want!)

Two Years!

I made it to two years in recovery!!!

December seems to be a big month of dates for me to celebrate, along with the holidays.

December 2nd marked 2 years in recovery
December 8th marked 3 years of being released from prison

I was curious as to why I should celebrate the fact that I hadn’t been back to prison or jail, but after learning the data of recidivism and watching so many people I knew either go back or get re-arrested, I realized that I fell into the small category that didn’t. Not only that, but I’m living proof that the Corrections Officer that told me that once I have a “number”, I will always have a number and I will always be back because prison is a revolving door, is wrong.

To get back to that data, since it’s pretty shocking, here’s where I fall into the data:

I’m part of the 32.2% that DID NOT get re-arrested, part of the 23.1% of drug offenders who did not get rearrested, and the 30% of women who did not re-offend.

Those stats are scary and as I was looking them up, I found out that the US has the highest rate of incarceration (2.2 million incarcerated. Louisiana incarcerated 816 per every 100k people in 2014 and is aka “the WORLDS prison capital”).

What are your thoughts on that?

I have the privelege to serve on the CT Alcohol and Drug Policy Treatment Subcommittee, where I surround myself with some powerful people in CT as we figure out ways to better CT (or DMHAS refers to it as promoting high quality effective treatment and reducing barriers). I mean yeah, we do that, but sometimes I get angry at these meetings because you discover the lack of humanity and compassion in some of the most powerful people in CT. Like in all honesty, put some commissioners and politicians and CEO’s of some places, that swear and promise they are “doing the best they can at serving CT residents and improving services”, in prison for 24-48 hours and I GUARANTEE they would put action to their words. In fact, you don’t even need to do a mock incarceration experiment, but instead put ONE undercover officer in any of CT’s prisons and that would make a difference.

Thank God for the courageous people that advocate. Many of those advocates have been people who have been incarcerated themselves or have been impacted by a loved one’s incarceration.

Rant over.

Anyways, TWO YEARS OF RECOVERY!!!

Very grateful to be celebrating this milestone!

Although I celebrate, not every day was a celebration. There were several times I faced loss and grief, temptations and trials, confusion and frustration. In times of weakness (which I experienced often), I fell to my knees and was reminded that when I am weak, He is strong. I didn’t make it here alone. God is always there and He blessed me with encouragement and love from my family, friends, church family, co workers, my colleagues and supervisors, and of course my pets. My family never stopped praying for me when I was sick and have shown the testimony of the power of prayer.

And to the families who courageously share their stories of their loved ones… you inspire me daily to fight the good fight. Thank you for being brave, so that in moments of my weakness, I can find bravery too. Thank you to the people who believed in me to share my story to crowds I never thought would listen.

Thanks to recovery, I no longer am suicidal, I finally have self confidence I never believed would exist for me, I have a career that blesses me with witnessing miracles, I’m a full time college student again, and I can be the daughter, sister, and Godmother that my family prayed to have back.

If you are reading this and are struggling, or know someone who is, please never lose faith, don’t doubt yourself, and remember that you are worth healing and recovery.

Learn the Facts about Heroin and Opiate Use and the Benefits of Narcan!

When: November 8, 2017 from 12PM to 1:30PM

Where: Greenwich Hospital Noble Conference Center

Register to learn about Heroin and Opiate use, and the benefits of Naloxone (Narcan).

Recovery Playlist: 10 Songs to Keep You on Track

Some of these songs are unconventional recovery songs, particularly the first three. But people listen to whatever song gets them up and going. Whether recovery from substance abuse or health challenges, I believe in you, these songs send very powerful messages. Listen; hear what people are saying.

1. Labrinth – Beneath Your Beautiful ft. Emeli Sandé

“My boy loved this song miss you so much rip taylon xx…’ Dawn. 

2. P!nk – Try

“Wow. I love this song… Very powerful.”

3. Back To Black “Fifty Shades Darker”. Cover by Beyonce Knowles. While I personally love Amy, I couldn’t stop playing this version recently done by Beyonce.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DJSmZbYay8

4. Eminem – Beautiful Pain (Music Video) ft. Sia

“I love this. Been there. Wow he really hits home with his lyrics.” Robin

5. Eminem – Beautiful Pain (Music Video) ft. Sia – I have written many poems while listening to this song. I have walked in the cold listening to this song. I have cried listening to this song. Perhaps Eminem’s greatest!

6. MACKLEMORE – DRUG DEALER (FEAT. ARIANA DEBOO) OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO.

On average, I think I listen to this song 14 times each week (that’s 7 days per week, at least twice each day) – my new favorite song. I still think Macklemore is one of the most underrated artist.

7. Macklemore – Otherside Ft. Fences (Official Music Video)

“I love this song i cry when i hear it” Ana

8. Staind – It’s Been Awhile (Video)

“crazy how walking away is harder than standing still!” Eby

9. Train – Drops of Jupiter (Official Video)

“Omg……why am I crying????”

10. James Blunt – Same Mistake (video)

“I absolutely love your voice !!!” Cheryl

Sobriety vs Recovery

I’ve learned throughout my 15 years of experience with addiction, whether it be from being a family member effected, personally effected, in active addiction, in recovery, or working in the field, that there is a HUGE difference between sobriety and recovery. I could’ve sworn they were the same thing, but I realized just how different they are and how it can be applied to literally anything you are going through. However, I’ve realized that I can’t have sobriety without recovery and I can’t have recovery without sobriety.

Sobriety, to me, is removing the substance that you’re ingesting and addicted to. This substance could be anything; fear, self-hate, drugs or alcohol, violence, etc. So, for me, I ingested drugs. Once I removed the substance, I was sober. My physical body started to feel so much better. I was gaining my senses back and my sleep pattern was becoming a normal schedule. As much as those were good things, my mentality and spirituality now needed to be nourished. It was great for me to be “sober”, but now what? There had to be more than just not ingesting harmful substances.

So, I started my journey of “recovery”. Sobriety is still its own beast, it’s not something simple to maintain, especially after you do the research on the science behind addiction and how it effects the brain. Anyways; recovery. Recovery is the most beautiful way of life that I have ever discovered. It’s literally a whole new way of living. I removed the substance that I was ingesting so that I can start to work on the deep stuff that was buried inside me, the stuff that was making me reach for the drugs in the first place, subconsciously or intentionally. Recovery is A LOT of work, but it’s worth it. I had to dig up all the pain, sorrow, confusion, and hate that I’ve suppressed and address each one. As tough as that sounds, it was even harder doing it WITHOUT a drug. I had to address and FIX these issues in SOBRIETY. Impossible? No. Difficult? Immensely. I decided to tackle one issue at a time. When it started to get deep and painful, I reached for my Higher Power before a drug. I prayed, memorized scripture, and cried out to the Lord. I also used another powerful tool in my Recovery Chest; my sober network. I would lean on my mother and other family members for support. I also would call my sober friends and cry in their arms. It wasn’t always easy to do the right thing, but I wanted to test doing the right thing before doing the wrong. I knew where the wrong thing would lead me. I knew the result of using drugs. I didn’t know the result of “the right thing”, which made me a little curious. The curiosity led me to recovery, which then led me to true joy.

Recovery brought me a whole new perspective on life, a whole new way of living. I practice the principals in my everyday life to the best of my ability. I’m not always perfect and definitely slip, but at the end of the night I take a personal inventory of myself and where I lacked that day, I try to make up for the next day. That’s the beauty of the morning; it’s another chance to do the right thing.

You can apply sobriety and recovery in your life even if it’s not drugs and alcohol.

I also struggled with low self-esteem. I needed to get sober from this by removing the evil thoughts that would flow through my mind about myself, making me hate myself. After I started having sober self-esteem, I began my self-esteem recovery process. I again, as with the drugs, dug deep. I found out why I thought so negative of myself. I addressed my issues without allowing a negative thought about myself kill the recovery process. It wasn’t an easy task, but I got through it. I still struggle sometimes, as I do with addiction recovery, but again, tomorrow is a new day.

With addiction, you will sometimes unfortunately see someone with only sobriety. As commendable as that is, recovery is necessary. It is not only so rewarding, but it will keep sobriety alive and become long term. If an addict starts to allow old thoughts and behaviors resurface and then entertain them, it’s extremely likely that they will experience a relapse.

Some days I must visit sobriety and remove some toxic substances. Other days, I must enhance my recovery. As long as I am allowing sobriety and recovery to work together, I’m practicing a healthy way of living.

Recovery Community Open Mic

Hey everyone! Check out this KOOL Open Mic event on June 24th in Bridgeport, CT.

Its a free event hosted by CCAR, BRCC and YAF at the Bridgeport Recovery Community Center. Please the see flyer below.
This is an opportunity for all young adults in recovery to express themselves and their perspectives through music, poetry, spoken, you name it!

The event is open to ALL… bring family and friends and get ready for a sober afternoon.

New Blogs: Reality Check With Brian and Others!

New Blogs: Reality Check With Brian and Others! – Since April, we have had two new bloggers. Kelly started contributing to our weekly blog since April and Brian has been contributing to the forum since the start of May.

Kelly has been sharing with us what life is like in college and how she deals with anxiety, depression and OCD and Brian, our newest blogger will be keeping us up-to-date with current events in his blog: Reality Check. When he’s not blogging about mental health, Brian spends his free time thinking too much, getting distracted and deliberating about how he “should” spend his free time.  When he’s actually doing something, he enjoys learning, volunteering, the arts, spending time in Nature and “being productive”.  A self-described social justice junkie, Brian first had his consciousness raised to the issue of mental illness in 2011 after seeing the musical Next to Normal.  Behavioral healthcare program coordinator by day, Brian enjoys evenings and weekends living with his partner, their two kitties and a few plants in lovely East Hampton, CT.  Last week Brian shared his first piece, which touches on the issue of addiction and its root causes: Finding a Fix.

Also, on a monthly basis, professional blogger, Amy will also be contributing to the forum; she has had a very fascinating past and she hopes to grab our attention as she reveals some of the very traumatic experiences that has had. In her own words, “I’ve had to befriend my past, embrace my experience, and express what had happened to me.”

Amy’s Blog is called The Detourist and you can read her story HERE.

The New Schedule for each blog is as follows:
Mondays: Daily Life of a College Student – Kelly
Tuesdays: Everything Music – Kevin
Thursdays: Journal Black Gay immigrant – kevin
Fridays: Reality Check – Brian
Monthly: The The Detourist- Amy

Look out for all the new posts in the weeks ahead and feel free to share your concerns and gratitude in the Discussion Forum.

"From the Outside Looking In"

“Everyone’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Jamaicans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.”

This is a quote by the very historic American writer and playwright, James Baldwin… In the quote, I replaced the term, ‘Americans’ with ‘Jamaicans’.
Baldwin in my opinion was first and foremost a human being BUT in his time, he was merely BLACK and GAY. The sociopolitical stigma and prejudice that encompassed the topic of color and sexuality forced him to migrate to France in the 1940s. Though still evolving, France was one of the more liberal countries at the time (and currently is).

Referencing back to the quote above, bear in mind that 20th century America represented the ‘Egypt’ of Baldwin’s lifetime and it does make you wonder what life was really like in America in the 1940s.

Still yet, we can look to Jamaican society for a firsthand experience.

On the other hand, America today, for people like myself represents the ‘Canaan’ of what France was for Baldwin in the 1940s.

A man without roots, without a country to call home. James Baldwin used his experience to unveil what it looks like beyond being BLACK,
beyond being GAY and even more, beyond being an IMMIGRANT, a line of thought that is still unfathomable to many people in our lifetime;
in this day and age.

Baldwin superseded labels – in my opinion, Baldwin was neither BLACK nor GAY, nor was he an immigrant,
he was a human being who was denied his rights.

I’ve been inspired by James Baldwin.

What does prejudice look like in America from the perspective of a French lifestyle?
What does hope look like in France from the perspective of an American lifestyle?

These are questions Baldwin may have possibly asked himself.

The following poem is by Warsaw Shire [the poet behind Beyoncé’s recent album] – she explains what she thinks of home amidst prejudice and fighting shame.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6t78c_5aR4