From Down-Under: Words of Wisdom and Insight

From Down-Under: Words of Wisdom and Insight

Season 2, Episode 5

Host(s): Dr. Larry Force, Andrew O’Grady, Elisa Gwilliam

Guest(s): Kerrie Atherton: author and inspirational speaker, founder of Stories of Hope and EMPOWER Life Solutions in Queensland, Australia

Kerrie Atherton joins the INTERSECTIONS Exchange team all the way from Queensland, Australia to share her thoughts on honesty in addiction and the importance of sharing recovery stories. Atherton also discusses her Stories of Hope program and how she has found both success and support from sharing her recovery journey with others.

Topics Discussed

  • Kerrie Atherton’s addiction and recovery journey
  • Role of shame in peoples’ struggles with addiction and recovery
  • Stigma around addiction compared to other illnesses
  • Effects of isolation and loneliness in addiction
  • Importance of hearing other people’s stories in recovery
  • Summary of the work done by Stories of Hope
  • Differences in recovery based on sex, age and other factors
  • Music and recovery


Key Quote(s)

  • “I’m a big believer in that if we can stand and share our stories, that brings great hope for the person who’s sitting there, totally isolated, totally hopeless, thinking that they can’t go on another day…there’s nothing like a lived experience story to let somebody know that there is hope and that they’re going to make it as well.” – Kerrie Atherton
  • “We have to get to a society and a world where people feel comfortable enough to listen and to vent and allow people to talk about what they’re dealing with, and then show empathy and non-judgemental responses.” – Andrew O’Grady
  • “The first thing I tell my patients is that I’m not your hero. I’m not your hero because you’re not broken.” – Dr. Larry Force
  • “Part of addiction is delusion…when the delusion sets in we try to point to other things and change everything but our behavior…but we take ourselves with us” – Kerrie Atherton


INTERSECTIONS is an innovative, peer delivered, modular self-care program developed by the National Organization of Adult Addictions and Recovery (NOAAR) and Mental Health America of Dutchess County.

Addiction, chronic illness, and mental health are dimensions in our lives that isolate us. They isolate us from ourselves, from others, and from our spirit. INTERSECTIONS helps us connect and reconnect to reach our full potential.

INTERSECTIONS promotes the reduction of reoccurrence, improved maintenance of recovery plans, and success within family systems and the community.

Modules include:

  • Orientation
  • Meditation
  • Movement
  • Nutrition
  • Mindfulness
  • Personal Visions and Goals
  • Spirituality

INTERSECTIONS is based on a theoretical orientation called The Theory of Dimensionality and is rooted in a Practice-Based Intervention, Dimensional Solution Based Treatment (DSBT).

“We cannot fix you because you are not broken … everybody has stuff. We are all in Recovery from something.”

About MHA Dutchess County

Mental Health America of Dutchess County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making sure nobody gets left behind in our community due to lack of mental health services. Our staff and volunteers work day and night to:

  • Strengthen families
  • Overcome fear
  • Help people dealing with anxiety
  • Link individuals to the supports they need
  • Provide safe spaces to heal
  • Break down stigma
  • …and much, much more.