Stories of Hope

Stories of Hope

Season 2, Episode 14

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 for a second time! Atherton discusses changes in the mental health field in light of COVID-19 and the incredible power of honesty and understanding to give people hope in recovery.

Topics Discussed

  • Effects of COVID on Stories of Hope and other recovery resources
  • Importance of mental health first-aid
  • Connection and community in recovery
  • Emotional pain during the pandemic
  • Addressing shame and stigma around addiction and recovery
  • Importance of being heard and sharing your story in recovery


Key Quote(s)

  • “When people are struggling, people scramble for escapism and alcohol sales have gone through the roof here in Australia…people don’t want to sit with reality, they want to escape from the pain so going through this thing called COVID sober is a hard gig.” – Kerrie Atherton
  • “We tend to be there for other people but we don’t always feel comfortable reaching out ourselves for help. Sitting with [emotional pain] will make you stronger but sometime it can be overwhelming” – Andrew O’Grady
  • “Shame comes from the fear of being judged and the feeling of being judged… I think that when we give people grace and a listening ear and no judgment, that gives them a  key to a door to freedom to know that they can walk back in a new door and start all over again.” – Kerrie Atherton
  • “In recovery, I think we can all agree, there really is a strength. That strength of resiliency, of getting back up, and moving forward.” – Dr. Larry Force


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.