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New Year, New Decade

Hi Turningpointct!! 🙂 Happy Holidays to everyone!

As this year and this DECADE comes to an end, I thought I’d give a little update filled with cat pictures 🙂

Before the cat pictures, I must just say that I am really feeling the energy shift of going into a whole new decade. I was reflecting the other day about this past year alone and it was full of bittersweet moments. One thing I’ve realized and finally came to fully believe is that I am worthy of love and respect – and that I am allowed to make better changes for myself, regardless of how it affects others. I am committed to making this next decade be years that I enforce boundaries, advocate for myself, and follow convictions I have in my heart – again, regardless of how it affects others.

 

In 2019, some pretty amazing things happened:

  • I broke free from a religion that was starting to pull me away from God, not closer. I found a church that is safe for me and I feel as if I’m re-learning who God is to me.
  • I moved into an apartment with my best friend. We’ve created a safe place to call home together.
  • Speaking of the apartment, we obviously had to get a critter! Meet Pebbles!
  • Pebbles was sad that Jen and I worked long hours … so then there were two! Meet BamBam!
  • They became best pals after some hissing matches 😉
  • And even partners in crime!


  • This year, I graduated college!! I started with the intention of just simply starting ONE class. Two years later I have a certificate and a degree.
  • I was humbled this year by being recognized for awards, traveling the US for presentations, meeting some of my biggest inspirations, and being included in so many beautiful community events.
  • I started a new job! I’m working for the agency that I received treatment from – Recovery Network of Programs!! I went from client .. to employee !! I can’t explain how much I love working for this agency and how honored I am to be surrounded by such incredible leaders, coworkers, and colleagues. And of course I just had to get involved with anything and everything I can. I joined the book club and the outreach committee!
              
  • This year I had to let go and grieve friendships, relationships, trauma, and much more. I had some deep wounds created and old scars ripped wide open. Although some scars are going to be permanent; I must remember that they are still healed and shift my perception from loss to gain. I gained new friendships, new insight, new healing, and most importantly; I found a new sense of worthiness that I have been yearning for my whole life.
  • On December 2nd 2019 I celebrated FOUR YEARS in recovery!! Four years I haven’t turned to some form of opiate as a solution to whatever I was feeling, thinking, or doing. I don’t have even have the words for the gratitude of my recovery today. Can’t wait to do it another year !
  • I also have been building something special with someone special. Eric, you are such an incredible person and I’m so grateful to be your girlfriend. Every day you teach me something, love a part of me I didn’t expect anyone to, make me laugh, listen to my every word and thought, and allow me to be me unapologetically. You marvel me daily and I’m looking forward to continuing our journey together!

 

So that is my yearly wrap-up! I can’t wait to read about yours and your plans for the next year. Remember to celebrate the small successes – even if that just means waking up today.

A New Chapter

Hi TurningPointCT  Welcome to the next chapter!

I haven’t been on here in some time, so I think you’re all due for an update! I have some new blogs on the way, so stay tuned for my normal style of writing.

So it was a bit of a bittersweet good-bye to my position at TurningPointCT… I’m still involved, but I’ve ventured onto a new chapter! I am now the Recovery Liaison for Recovery Network of Programs (RNP). RNP has 19 different programs and several levels of care for people seeking recovery for addiction and/or mental health disorders.

What’s really cool about my new job is that I’m the first of this project that I am a part of. RNP partnered with Optimus Health Care to bring more services to their clients and patients. Basically, I’m mainly stationed at one of the Optimus Health Care locations and when a patient comes into the facility to receive general medical care, they are given a set of questions and depending on their answers, I get involved. Once someone indicates that they are in need of either mental health care and/or substance abuse treatment, I engage them and try to get them enrolled in treatment.

It’s really exciting because I have so much flexibility with my job role. RNP supports the involvement I have with CT and local communities, so they are encouraging me to still do public speaking and be on committees and whatnot. One thing I love about RNP is that the leadership are inspirational women that have had a huge impact on my life, as well as members of my family. Sometimes I get to bounce around to other agencies and site locations and spread the news about our new “Primary Integrative Care Team” aka the PIC Team 🙂 So if you see me all around Bridgeport – I promise I’m there for good reasons 🙂

But here’s a little secret: I was once a patient at RNP. I used many of their services throughout my active addiction years and still utilize their services. I went from being a patient to an employee! A blog on that is in the making!

So that’s an update on my professional life. My personal life has had some major changes as well:

1. I moved into an apartment with my best friend Jen earlier this summer!
2. I graduated college – check out the blog on that here
3. I changed churches & am shifting my spirituality pathway- stay tuned for a blog on that
4. I found out I’m not as weak as I thought I was

Wait, can we just go back to number 4 … I found out I’m not as weak as I thought I was.

This summer, I’ve learned that the weak, broken, bruised woman I thought I still was; is not me. Since so many big changes happened in such a short time, my mental health was starting to be neglected. I was becoming so absorbed in everything and I had quickly labeled myself as some awful things. I couldn’t be happy for myself because I was allowing other people, places, and things be the decision-maker of my emotions and thoughts. For someone living with PTSD, having no control is one of the worst feelings and can trigger a spiral in my thinking process.

So long story short, it bubbled to the surface and the only word of defense I was able to come up with was: No.

Little did I realize, this was going to be the beginning of using a word I was afraid to use my entire life.

Once I saw that I CAN say no, it was a ripple effect. I was “no this” and “no that” for everything. E V E R Y T H I N G.

It felt so empowering. I felt in control. I felt peace. It started off with little things, then the big things came. I said no to men. I said no to helping someone when I mentally couldn’t. I said no to pushing myself when I knew it wasn’t safe to keep pushing. I said no to plans that I couldn’t uphold. And ready for this… I said no to things that I simply just DIDN’T FEEL LIKE DOING.

I may seem cold, but it was the best way that I felt I could shake my fears and insecurities and start becoming my own woman.

So anyway, that is some updates for now. I’ll be posting some cute apartment pictures soon! Jen and I living together is literally a constant sleepover with my best friend. Plus, Luca basically lives with us too, so it’s nice always having them with me. There’s never a moment that we aren’t laughing – or eating lol

I love you all and to the one that’s reading this that is struggling at saying ‘no’ — start with small, manageable things and then keep going– you will be surprised how it will create a ripple effect. I hope you all keep watch for my upcoming blogs about: my new spiritual path, becoming an employee at a place I was a patient, more about my PTSD, and lots more!

<3

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?

Calendar for Mental Health Awareness Days: 2019

TurningPointCT.org’s 2019 Awareness Calendar is here!

Every month there are awareness days that celebrate and recognize different things relating to mental health and advocacy. Have you ever wondered when all those awareness days are?

If so, check out ours below! Scroll down to find it!

Download the PDF or save the PNG to your desktop. Print it, share it, and enjoy it! #YouAreNotAlone

So, if you ever have felt like you are the only one experiencing your struggles, you are not alone. These awareness days exist to remind us of that fact. Together, we are strong. Love yourself, spread awareness, and fight stigma.

Make sure you are following us on Facebook and Twitter to see our posts on each awareness day. You can also find out if there are any events happening in honor of the days.

Questions? Ask the forum!

Did we leave out any awareness days that you want us to include? Or, do you have any suggestions? Then let us know in the forum!

You can scroll down for the PDF!

Here is the PDF link:
2019 awareness calendar PDF

And scroll down for the PNG! Hint: you can save these by dragging them to your desktop. If you are on your phone hold down your finger and save the picture!

Here is the entire calendar, month-by-month in PNG form:
January 2019:
January 2019
February 2019:
February 2019
March 2019:
March 2019
April 2019:
April 2019
May 2019:
May 2019
June 2019:
June 2019
July 2019:
July 2019
August 2019:
August 2019
September 2019:
September 2019
October 2019:
October 2019
November 2019:
November 2019
December 2019:
December 2019

If you want to check out last year’s awareness calendar, click here!

Faith-it Till You Make It

Time for me to switch up my usual story-writing technique and just give you guys the unfiltered version of Ally today. Not to say I’m not authentic in my other posts, but today it’s time to just tell it like it is. P.s. Why am I defending myself? The struggle of a self-esteem/anxiety issue is real, man. Ugh, anyways…

Have you ever heard of the term, fake-it till you make it?

As much as I feel as if I do that, it doesn’t sit right with me…

I’m not faking. I’m not good at faking. Why do I have to fake anything? Why can’t I just be?

So what is it that I’m feeling? Am I just putting on a good face? Am I simply putting aside my stuff so that I can focus at my task in front of me?

Or am I practicing faith?

Yeah, faith. That’s it.

I’m holding onto the faith that I will get through whatever feeling or situation is at hand. I’m “faithing-it till I make it”

Today is Wednesday and on Saturday, I will have two years in recovery. This is the longest time that I have ever been able to maintain my recovery since experimenting and abusing substances.

YAYYYY, right? Well, yeah, but it hasn’t been so “yay” for me lately.

So as many of you know, The Monkey is my addiction talking. He definitely has a love-hate relationship with anniversaries.

He loves to use them to try to stop them from even existing.
He loves to try to convince me that they are not worth celebrating.
He loves to try to use them as an opportunity to prey on my weaknesses.
He hates when I celebrate them, he hates when I continue in my recovery. And he hates when I don’t fall.

Literally for the past few weeks I have been overwhelmed. Someone had told me that it’s really common around the time for a recovery anniversary to be feeling this way. I’m definitely not some singled-out person, but MAN, it’s been difficult.

Let’s start with school. (pause: I’m already fighting the good fight by staying in school. Ally 1, Monkey 0)

Since I’m studying to be a Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counselor, take a wild guess of what I learn throughout the day: Drugs. People using drugs. How people use drugs (yes, actual videos and images of people getting high).

I can either have the perspective of:
A) Wow I’m so glad that’s not me anymore, I can’t wait to go out there and help people!
B) I could totally do that and no one would know.

You guys all know which perspective came from The Monkey right?

I was able to shake that off. I’m not gunna lie though, it was tough. EVERYTHING HAS BEEN EXTRA DIFFICULT THESE PAST FEW WEEKS. I mean, after watching a video of a young girl shoot up heroin (aka me two years ago), you’d think I would be like eww… but The Monkey, my addiction, wants me to focus on the head nod the girl gets, the way her eyes close as she falls into a world of relaxation and calmness.

Thank God (really, thank you Jesus) I focused more on the other parts of the video: the part where she couldn’t get a vein, the part where she was dripping with sweat and her hand was shaking when trying to inject because she was in deep withdrawal, the part where she sold her body to purchase the dope, the part where she waited hours for the drug dealer. Those parts kept me sober. (Ally 2, Monkey 0)

Work has been fine. Work is always great actually. My supervisor snuck a sweet cheering-me-on message on my calendar for me. My co-worker is encouraging me to celebrate. My colleagues are congratulating me. Speeches have been a bit tough. Standing in front of hundreds of people trying to make recovery look happy is difficult when deep inside you have The Monkey screaming at you saying, “YOU AREN’T SH*T!!!!!”

But remember what I said before, I’m Faithing-it till I make it.

Social life/home life: My family is the best, they really are. My mom was so empathetic towards me when I told her how much pressure I feel like I’m under. My dad is his usual uplifting spiritual self. My friends are great, the few I have (ew, did you hear that passive aggressive complaining I just did, smh!). Not gunna lie, I’ve been a hibernating bear lately. But I like to call it self-care. Cozied up in my super cozy-themed room watching a show with snacks (specifically Smartfood Popcorn falling into my shirt) and my furry son Pete, is literally the best.

But, I’ve definitely been extra cranky. Definitely snappy. Definitely rude.

I’m so sorry to anyone I’ve been cancelling plans with and have been snappy and sassy and just straight up evil towards.

Well, phew, that was quite the venting paragraphs.

If you skipped over a lot, here’s where you want to pick back up.

Those moments I’m feeling: overwhelmed, agitated, hateful, pressured, not good enough, worthless, useless, hopeless, and filled with sorrow…

I have to stop and think, “is this from God?”

It isn’t.

But God, I feel like this because blah blah blah blah blah”

Again, no matter how justified I am in a worldly sense of my feeling, God’s not giving me that.

He may allow it, but, what the enemy meant for evil, God allowed for good. (Genesis 50:20)

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

“But God WHYYYYYY why do I have to feel like this?! It’s overwhelming, I can’t do it, I’m going to break” – said me, billions of times.

Because no matter what, God is always good. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The same “good God” that I claimed He was when He lifted me up, held me tight, grasped my hand to guide me, and blessed me with recovery (and a job, school, family, food, shelter, etc) ….

Is the same “good God” that is allowing me to go through this trial, this temptation, this discouragement. When I am weak, He is strong. “Greater is He in me than in the World” (1 John 4:4)

But how do I see His goodness, when I’m being proud by being selfish and consumed with my own stuff, struggling to get through even just the seconds of the day?

Faith, humility.

(and sometimes mixed with some of my stubbornness because I’m not perfect)

God allows storms in our lives for so many reasons. Some we may never know, but some become known in ways we would never have imagined.

I never thought that my addiction and all the pain that came along with it, was going to happen to me so that I can help someone else.

I have to remember that these feelings that I hold onto don’t need to be stuck on me. I can give them to God and hold onto the faith that He will get me through them.

I thank God that He always, always gets me through every temptation, trial, barrier, and harmful feelings. He’s in the healing business, not hurting.

So as my two year anniversary is a few days away, I’m gunna continue to faith-it till I make it, because that’s truth, that authenticity.

Faking something doesn’t seem right, because you are really doing it, even if it’s just externally or even internally.

No matter how many different ways my addiction tries to stop my anniversary, recovery has a different plan.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

Men’s Health Month

Men’s Health Month – Celebrate Men’s Health Month with us.

This week is Men’s Health Week. Make sure to wear blue on Friday, June 16th or any other day of the month to show support.

Additionally, here is a link to the CDC about men’s health so make sure to read it and raise awareness!

Men's Health

Here, you can learn more about men’s health and stay informed.

Fresh Check Day @ NCC

Fresh Check Day @ NCC – On Wednesday, April 22, 2016 we celebrated #FreshCheckDay at Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut. The West Campus cafeteria was filled with students, parents and campus/community organizations as everyone cheerfully engaged in conversation  and participated in more than 12 different booth activities that in one way or another, captured an aspect of mental wellness. Each booth provided an activity that engaged students and visitors and helped to facilitate the dialogue on mental health, opening the door for the first for many who, and I quote, “have never really thought about it”. From yoga to painting to even designing t shirts, NCC Fresh Check Day had it all and everyone that contributed surely made the event worthwhile but even more importantly, educational and comforting. The event saw over 150 students and as tradition goes, one student walked off with an awesome flat screen TV after winning the raffle. Huge shoutout to the one and only Miss. Lisa Slade (NCC Mental Health Counselor) for once again pulling it all together, NCC is on a roll!

Check out our visit and more here: Explore Featured Events

TurningPointCT ice cream social

Check out this photo from last summer when folks in the Stamford area got together to celebrate our design award! Warm weather, yeah!!