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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?

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!)

Falling In Love With Fall

recovery fall

Fall is usually a difficult season for me. As much as I love the season itself, it comes with some tough memories.

Fall was always the season during my active use that things would get chaotic. I was either scrambling to get into a detox, get warm clothes, try to keep warm, and make sure I had a roof over my head. When you’re using heroin, the cold weather is NOT good.

On top of the scrambling, two fall’s ago I was actively using and I had lost a baby due to my using. I also admitted myself into detox after that had happened.

So this whole idea of fall is NOT my favorite. I’ve been trying to make new memories and made new ones last year, but it’s still a difficult season for me.

I always remembered it as the season of trying to get sober too.

Well here I am, today marks 1 year 11 months in recovery. 30 days until I hit my two year mark!!!

So this fall season, I’ve filled up my days with over 30 speaking opportunities! I’ve also been busy as a full time student (studying to be a Alcohol and Drug Counselor), and I’ve been spending a ton of time with family, friends, and a special someone 😉

My family and I went apple picking, went through a corn maze, and got to visit my aunt and uncle who I haven’t seen in about 10 years!

One big thing that’s happened this fall was my mom and I speaking at the high school that I had graduated from! It was so cool to be back a my old high school and most importantly, to be speaking with my mom! The students really connected with her because a lot of times, teens (and people in general) think that it’s all about them and that their actions don’t affect anyone but them. My mom and her experience had proven that to not be the case. My mom was severely impacted by my choices and my substance use disorder. Students had approached us afterwards and they had also approached the school counselor saying that hearing how my mom was affected really made a difference to them!

So as much as I don’t like fall, I love how recovery has taught me how to love it and to forgive the past fall memories. I don’t forget them, not sure if I ever could, but I definitely am learning how to change my perspective.

Fall is becoming good again for me. Recovery is teaching me how to appreciate new things. God has been blessing me with opportunities to make new memories and remind me of His grace.

I’m so looking forward to next fall. And I’m especially looking forward to my two year anniversary! Almost there!!

Dreaming Again

I’ve written on my experience with “drug dreams”, but I have never experienced a drug dream as bad as I had recently.

This drug dream I had the other night was strange in so many different ways. It started off with me looking for a missing young female addict that a parent needed help finding (and hopefully getting into treatment). I went into an abandoned house that I had used in before where many addicts hung out to get high and sometimes even live in. While looking for this missing girl, I walked into the kitchen and saw someone that I had used with in my past. He was sitting at a table and was shocked to see me.

“Damn, don’t tell me you’re back here using again. You were doin’ so good!” He said.

“No, no. I’m looking for someone, have you seen her?” I asked.

“Nope. She hasn’t been here for a couple of days. So, while you’re here, have some, for old times’ sake.” He said, while showing me a line of heroin he had out on the table.

“No thanks, I’m ok. Reach out to me if you run into the girl, ok? Her family is worried about her, they just want to know she’s alive.” I responded.

“Well, I’ve got plenty so if ya change your mind, it’s here.” He got up from the table and said goodbye to me as he left the house. I knew better than to believe that he hadn’t seen the girl, since many addicts lie to cover up hiding someone. I needed to search the rest of the house before leaving. As I passed by the table, I glanced at the heroin he had left for me. I told myself “no” as I kept walking. After searching the other rooms, the girl was no where to be found. Walking by the table on my way out, I stopped and looked at the powder again. Don’t do it Ally.

I sat down on the chair at the table. Maybe I can do it, just this once.
That was the thought going through my mind as I sat at this table. Just sniff a little, don’t shoot it, we don’t need an OD. Plus, a little sniff won’t really count.

I grabbed a $1 bill, rolled it up, and sniffed the line that was calling my name.

I felt the slight burn of the powder go up my nose and tasted the heroin as the drip went down my throat. Shortly after, I became light-headed and felt a warmth throughout my entire body. I was high. I relapsed.

“Oh my gosh. What have I done?” I said aloud. I couldn’t believe that I had just done that. Almost two years of sobriety – GONE. The guilt of this one quick moment overwhelmed me. “I’m gunna have to start all over, right back to square one again.”

I went home and laid on my bed immediately, hoping to fall asleep as soon as possible to just forget all that had happened.


And then I woke up. In real time.

Well, let me change that. I didn’t “wake up”, I JUMPED out of my bed, heart pounding and out of breath.

For two hours, I couldn’t figure out if that was a dream or reality. It especially didn’t help that my dream ended by me going to sleep in my own bed. I started frantically blowing my nose, looked in the mirror to see the size of my pupils, and looked at my phone to see who I had last spoken to.

“Did I relapse?” Was the question flowing in my mind. My anxiety and confusion was so overwhelming, I had to get answers and solve this problem. Once I had taken steps to confirm that this was a dream, I finally started to calm down.

I sat in my bed wondering how this dream even came into existence. A lot of things that happened that day of the dream had come out through the dream. For example, there was a parent who had a missing daughter who was an addict and asked for my help. The other addict in my dream had reached out to me that day congratulating me on my sobriety. I also had a discussion with someone about “square one” and “starting over”. So although the events of my day manifested itself into a chaotic nightmare, I was still very bothered by this dream. But why? It’s not real.

I was bothered by this dream because it was unlike any other drug dream that I have ever had. All of my other drug dreams, I had never felt the drug and the high like I had this one. I also had never felt such an overwhelming sense of guilt in the other dreams that I got high in. I was also so angry that The Monkey found his way in my dream too.

But ready for the real, raw truth to the aftermath of that nightmare?

“Hm, getting high once doesn’t seem so bad,” was the thought that crossed my mind for a microsecond.

Thank God I didn’t act on that thought. But even just that thought, broke my heart. I became so angry and upset with myself for that thought even being in my head. Like, why? I’m doing so well, that dream scared me beyond explanation, I work in the recovery field, my family would’ve been devastated, my friends would be so disappointed in me… why did this thought even have existence?!

I felt so uneasy for the rest of the day because of that thought. Instead of being proud of myself for not acting on the thought, I beat myself up for thinking it.

I decided that I was sick of feeling like this, so I called my friend and vented. After our conversation, I realized that I need to give myself a break.

I was getting mad at myself for being human.

I’m starting to learn that I can’t be so hard on myself, especially when I’m being human. I need to find the good in every situation and see how God is always good through it too.

I reflected on my feelings, my dream, my aftermath of the dream and realized that it was to keep me humble, prepare me for a real-life situation, and to remember that I am only human.

Every Three Weeks We Have a 9/11

chasing the dragon panel

Last night I had the opportunity to share my story on a panel alongside some incredible people! We had shown the film, “Chasing the Dragon” and had a discussion afterwards.

The audience consisted of nursing students from St. Vincent’s College and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, CT. They were all SO interested about the topic of opioid abuse and they were passionate to be part of the solution!

As grateful as I was to be a part of this panel and provide vital resources that these nurses needed, I was SHOCKED when I heard a comment that another panelist said.

“Every three weeks we have a 9/11”

Meaning, every three weeks, the amount of overdose deaths are equivalent to the amount of deaths that occurred on 9/11/01

I’ve heard and experienced so much regarding addiction and the opioid crisis, so something never shocks me. However, this one did.

Maybe it was because I remember 9/11 and the horror of it.

Also, I thought it was kind of interesting. When 9/11 happened, so many resources were created and became available for family members of victims and preventative strategies.

I feel like for the opioid crisis, there is still so much more this country (both citizens and government) can do to tackle this epidemic.

I did realize some similarities though.

STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION, Both with the opioid crisis and with 9/11. People judged and made assumptions that anyone from the Mid-East were a terrorist or supported terrorism. In the opioid epidemic, people judge addicts, people in recovery, and family members.

Another similarity I noticed was that memorials were made. I’m seeing a lot of remembrance quilts, vigils, and walks throughout the country. The same things happened for the victims of 9/11.

This fact that the panelist said hurt me because HOW IS THAT FACT STILL NOT ENOUGH TO DECLARE A NATIONAL EMERGENCY?!

Anyways, I would love to know your thoughts on what I heard.

I’ve included an article about this statement and trailer of “Chasing the Dragon”

Every Three Weeks

A New Identification

I remember on April 1, 2014 I received an ID…

It was about 10:00 PM and I hadn’t gotten sleep in days. I was sitting on a metal bench and had cold metal cuffs around my ankles that had a chain that went up my legs, wrapped around my waist, then attached to cuffs around my wrists. I had been bound by these chains and cuffs for the past six hours on a long bus ride that stopped in and out of courthouses throughout the coast of CT.

“Allison Kernan… Al-li-son Ker-nan!” Came a loud voice. My name was being shouted and pronounced as if I couldn’t understand English.

“Here,” I said. As I tried to raise my hand, the chain quickly tugged at my wrist to remind me that I couldn’t extend my arm past my ears.

“You’re next, inmate. Step to this white line.” The man with the loud voice commanded.

Inmate. Inmate. That was how I was going to be addressed for the next year and a half. As much as I tried to convince myself that this was a sick and twisted dream that I was in, I knew it was reality and mentally, I was blocking every emotion.

I shuffled to the white line and a corrections officer came and unlocked the chains and cuffs attached to my body. I stretched my wrist and was relieved to finally be able to walk normally without being bound by metal. I was then instructed to look into a camera as they quickly snapped a photo of me. After having my picture taken, I was instructed to go into this room that had a row of showers. There was a female corrections officer standing outside of a shower and a naked young woman trying to cover herself. She was being strip searched and after the search was done, the officer shut a small curtain and told the woman to shower and handed her a uniform. The officer looked at me and called out, “NEXT!”

She pointed her finger into the shower, directing me to step in it and give her every article of clothing and jewelry. I had heard her yelling at the other women to move faster, so I quickly stripped every article of clothing off and handed them to her.

“Open your mouth. Lift your tongue. Shake your hair. Turn around. Bend at your waist. Spread your cheeks and cough. Now wash yourself with this shampoo.” The officer commanded, as I followed each step. And yes, “spread your cheeks”, is exactly what you think it is. It’s supposed to reveal if a person -I mean, an inmate– is trying to smuggle contraband through internal cavities. When the officer held up the bottle of shampoo, I cupped my hands as she pumped out an orange liquid. It was a shampoo that will kill and prevent lice. She quickly shut the curtain and let me know that my uniform was outside of my shower.

I had less than 60 seconds to “shower”, which mainly consisted of rinsing this orange goop out of my hair. My hair is SO thick, so I’m positive that I still had this stuff in my hair as I got dressed. My new outfit was now a maroon t-shirt, baggy jeans with an elastic waistband, undergarments that were three times my size, a grey sweatshirt, thick socks, and slip-on shoes that had no laces. I followed the other women that just finished their showers and we were put inside a room with another metal bench. I heard my name being called and as I approached the officer, I was handed pale green bed sheets and a badge that the officer clipped just beneath my left shoulder. I went back into the room I was sitting in as I waited for the rest of the women to finish the processing procedure.

I removed what the officer had clipped onto my shirt to see what it was. My heart sank when I read what was written on this laminated paper.

INMATE # 402446”

These were the words, along with my birth date, admission date, height, and weight that were written on this card I was holding. Along with the words and numbers, the mugshot picture they had taken previously was printed on it as well.

I was officially an inmate, a convict. And this was now what I needed to use as my ID. I had to keep this ID clipped onto my shirt on the left side of my chest during all movement throughout the prison. I looked at the picture and the words and an overwhelming feeling of regret came over me. I couldn’t believe that just one try of a drug would eventually lead me to this moment. I stared at my eyes in the picture. I was broken. I was a heroin addict, convicted felon, and now; inmate.


“Alright, sit right over there on that stool and give me a big smile!” The photographer said.

I did what was told and waited patiently afterwards.

“Here you go, ma’am. Welcome to Gateway Community College.” He said.

A blue lanyard held a plastic card that I put around my neck. I exited the college campus, got into my car and shut the door. I took off the lanyard and looked at the card. My heart filled with emotion when I read what I was holding

“Gateway Community College
Student Name: Allison Kernan
Student Number: 01460700”

August 1, 2017 I received an ID, But it was nothing like the last one.

That last one was my inmate ID; listing the name of the correctional institution, inmate number, and mugshot.
Now I’m holding my school ID; listing the name of the college, student number, and smiling photo of myself.

I broke down in tears of gratitude for the faithfulness of Gods promises. As I held this new ID, my hands shook because all I could picture was that old ID I held in that jail cell. I looked at this new ID and immediately had a flashback to that moment.

As of August 1, I am a full time college student again. Addiction robbed so many things from me, one being my education. I dropped out of college in 2010 because I’d rather pursue heroin than a college degree. As crazy as that sounds, it sounded completely logical in the state of mind I was in at the time.

Well Monkey, you haven’t robbed it from me. You tried, but God showed me recovery, mercy, and hope.

I’m back at school now, pursing a career in drug and alcohol counseling, so that I help the same way people helped me.

I’m doing this to show that we do recover.

And most importantly, I’m doing this because God is faithful. I can’t explain to you how many barriers I faced for a simple school application and registration process. Every single obstacle, from little ones — like appointments and paperwork getting lost… to big ones like financial aid not going through and my schedule not being able to work — came my way. What could have gone wrong, went wrong, AND WORSE! But through prayer, scripture, sermons, and relying on Gods ability to make the impossible become possible, those barriers crumbled and God made a way.

Time and time again, the Lord continues to show His faithfulness to fulfill the plan He has for my life.
And I thank Him for providing the people to make this all happen. Had it not been for my family and friends, I would’ve given up at the first barrier I faced.

All of the times that I continued to fight the good fight, take it one day at a time, and not pick up a drug NO MATTER WHAT, has led up to this very moment.

I am SO grateful for what God and recovery has brought me.

How soon should we learn about sex/sexuality?

And we’re back with yet another episode of our podcast! If you missed the last episode, don’t worry, you can always check back here and see what you’ve missed.

In the mean time, we have something new…

Listen to Rai, Liv, Kevin, Sydney and Lauren share their perspectives on sex education. While some do agree that sex ed should be mandatory in middle schools and that the idea of sex and/or sexuality should be introduced in the home, some totally disagree.  What do you think?

Join us on the forum and share your opinion!  https://turningpointct.org/lets-talk/topic/new-podcast-episode/


Lamar Odom Coming Out About His Addiction

So I came across this article about Lamar Odom coming out to the public about his addiction. I was really impressed by his courage and his story! I was able to relate to it and things that he went through. I also related to the support and encouragement he had always gotten from his mother.

What are your thoughts?