Voices From Afar

Voices From Afar

Season 2, Episode 1

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

Guest(s): Brian Pennie: author, lecturer of neuroscience in the fields of addiction and mindfulness

In this episode of INTERSECTIONS Policy, Program, and Practice Exchange, neuroscience lecturer Brian Pennie joins the team all the way from Ireland to discuss the role of mindfulness in recovery.

Topics Discussed

  • Brian Pennie’s recovery journey and path towards the mental health field
  • Role of anxiety in addiction
  • Power of self-talk and inner narrative in both mental illness and wellness
  • Pragmatism in recovery (ex. harm reduction)
  • Radical acceptance and openness to change in recovery
  • Self-awareness and self-observation in recovery


Key Quote(s)

  • “Addiction knows no boundaries, just like the mental health world knows no boundaries. Addiction is a problem everywhere and the same strategies work everywhere as well.” – Brian Pennie
  • “Sobriety is not the opposite of addiction, connection is.” – Brian Pennie
  • “It’s not just using it’s the whole lifestyle that’s addicting…part of the thrill comes from the thought of ‘who can I deceive next.’” – Andrew O’Grady


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.