Latosha Taylor recently moved from Arkansas to Middletown, CT because of the holistic practices that are highly available in Connecticut. She identifies as a person in recovery and healing from trauma that caused her mental distress and addiction issues. Healing is her passion and utilizing her voice in the most powerful ways possible is a crucial aspect of her recovery. She is excited for the opportunity to be a part of this film and looks forward to the connection and dialogue amongst like minded people.
Chuck Bascetta is 59 years old and lives in Winsted, CT. He is a recovering heroin addict and alcoholic who has been clean and sober for over 7 years. After half a lifetime of failed attempts at recovery, he found that addressing the root of his addictions–past trauma and its effect on his mental condition—allowed him to successfully recover from the fatal disease of addiction. In his recovery he has become a Recovery Support Specialist and is currently employed with a behavioral health organization supporting people with mental health and substance abuse disorders. Today, Chuck is a grateful human being living a successful, rewarding and beautiful life. Ready and willing to share his experiences without shame, Chuck wants others to know that there is hope for their own recovery. He is truly thankful to be a participant in the making of this film and is hopeful that it will bring anyone dealing with addiction one step closer to successful treatment and recovery.
Kristin Poly is a 35 year old woman. She grew up in Westport, CT but now lives in Fairfield, CT with her two sons and fiancée. She has been clean and sober since 9/28/99 and is in recovery from childhood sexual abuse, as well as rape while intoxicated, and spousal sexual abuse. She attends 12-step meetings and therapy to facilitate her recovery process.
Kelvin Young believes that healing begins from within. After many years of battling with drug addiction, anxiety and depression, he began his healing process in prison. While incarcerated, Kelvin learned about the transformative powers of meditation, which helped him look within to find inner peace in a very hostile and restrictive environment. Kelvin is a Sound Healer, Holistic Stress Management Instructor, Certified Addiction Recovery Coach & Recovery Support Specialist, Assistant Executive Director of Advocacy Unlimited and Toivo Director, AU’s peer-run holistic healing center in Hartford, CT. He was featured in a powerful documentary called “Meditation: The Journey Within” and serves on the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Multicultural Advisory Council. In 2014 Kelvin received the “Professional of the Year” award from the Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative and also received special recognition from U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for being a positive role model and directly contributing to the success of reentry efforts. Today, Kelvin sustains a healthy lifestyle by eating a vegan-based diet, practicing meditation on a regular basis, spending quality time in nature, and building healthy relationships with others.
Rob Funkhouser is from Canaan, CT. He is 52 years old and began his recovery journey in 2008. He struggled with alcohol from an early age and in 2003 had the first of four back surgeries which introduced him to the world of opiates. He quickly became addicted and continued to used these drugs to numb the pain of everyday life and past trauma. Rob uses yoga, Smart Recovery, therapy, and 12 step groups to support his recovery.
Kaytlin Coon is from Ghent, NY. She was sexually abused at an early age and also had to contend with her brother’s emotional and physical outbursts related to his mental health issues. She reports being her brother’s primary instigator for fighting, but as they grew older their relationship slowly changed to one of love and mutual respect, that also included occasional drug use together. Kaytlin’s brother died on March 7, 2015 from an overdose. Kaytlin got clean from heroin the week after her brother’s death and since then has been pursuing any and all ways to recovery to assure that her family doesn’t have to go through this kind of loss again. For Kaytlin, her relationship with her brother was complicated—she continues to love him and struggles to accept that he is gone. Today, she makes a point to do whatever she can, to help whomever she can, to make her brother proud of her.
Originally from New London, Ryan Bailey is 25 years old, and currently lives in Bristol, CT. Ryan was an IV Heroin user for 6 years until he got clean in February of 2014. His life has been ruled by addiction in one form or another for as long as he can remember. He reports that he has gained more in his two years of being clean than he had ever gained in the 23 years prior. Ryan believes that the life he lives today is a gift which surpasses all of his wildest dreams.
Robin Cullen is a consultant and artist. For nearly twenty years, Robin has been sharing her story of recovery and reentry as a writer, performer, and speaker. She is a trained group facilitator in curricula authored by Stephanie Covington: Beyond Trauma, Beyond Violence, Beyond Anger and Violence, A Women’s Way Through the Twelve Steps, Helping Women Recover, and Healing Trauma. Robin was a member of the original therapeutic writing group formed by Wally Lamb at York Correctional Institution. Her essay was published in Couldn’t Keep It To Myself (2003). She continues with related work as a performer and board member for the Judy Dworin Performance Project (JDPP). Since 1989 JDPP has been harnessing the arts as a powerful catalyst for creative expression through performance, community building, and positive change. Robin is certified through Amherst Writers and Artists to teach therapeutic writing. Ms. Cullen worked with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, (MADD) for more than ten years. Now, as owner of Color Outside The Lines, in addition to speaking and facilitating groups in prisons and community outreach programs, Robin is a remodeling contractor. Uplifting, transforming, and repurposing – people, places, and things!
Cynthia Cloney is 47 and lives in Oakville CT. She was addicted to heroin from 2001-2007. She was arrested on Sept 11, 2007, went to prison and has been clean and sober ever since. She relies on her faith in a higher power and methods she learned along her journey to maintain sobriety. Today she owns a home, has healthy relationships and lives one day at a time.
Miriam Darveau is 47 years old and resides in Terryville, CT. She has had several traumatic experiences that were, and continue to be, disruptive in her life. She also suffers from depression and anxiety. Miriam’s recovery began in 1992, although she recently relapsed on prescribed pain meds due to surgery. This was Miriam’s fourth relapse since entering recovery. She has not used street drugs since 1992; her relapses were on alcohol and/or prescription opiates. Despite Miriam’s relapses, she believes that her life in recovery from substances, trauma, and mental health has given her the best life possible. She continues to have hope and faith that each day is another opportunity to heal.
Tami-Jo Stevenson is a thirty-nine year old (she feels 31) person in long-term recovery. On June 6, 2006 she entered into treatment and has been in recovery ever since. Maintaining her recovery, discovering her potential, and helping others achieve recovery are the three things she is most passionate about. She has accomplished a lot since coming into recovery, including recently graduating with a Bachelor’s in Social Work degree from Central Connecticut State University. Tami-Jo will continue her education at Fordham University in the fall of 2016 to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work. Currently, Tami-Jo is a member on the Board of Directors at the McCall Center for Behavioral Health. She also works at a residential treatment center for adolescents. She is deeply committed to the recovery process and looks forward to making connections with others as she continues on her journey.
Daryl McGraw is the Director of the Office of Recovery Community Affairs (RCA) for the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). This position is contracted through the Yale University Department of Psychiatry. Daryl works in the areas of policy development, contract management and project coordination, as well as collaborations with grassroots peer organizations and the CT Department of Corrections.
Daryl is a Certified Addictions Counselor and Certified Recovery Support Specialist. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership, both from Springfield College.
Previously, Daryl served as the Associate Program Coordinator for the AXS Center at Sound Community Services, Inc. (SCSI) The AXS center is a program designed to engage and assist at risk young adults ages 18-25 in the New London area. He worked as a Peer Identified Recovery Pathways Case Manager at SCSI for four years.
Daryl has been trained in a variety of nationally recognized peer support modalities including Intentional, Forensic and Trauma-Informed Peer Support, as well as Hearing Voices Network Facilitation and Recovery Coaching.
Daryl’s personal experience overcoming the battles of addiction and incarceration has allowed him to serve as a longtime advocate for persons in recovery experiencing incarceration and reentry. He gives presentations to parole and probation officers throughout the State of Connecticut, participates in weekly Connecticut Valley Hospital case conferences as a peer advocate, sits on reentry roundtable boards throughout the state, and currently sits on the New London Connecticut Juvenile Review Board.
Hiram Rivera is a 52 year old man from Puerto Rico who currently resides in Bristol, CT. As a young teen Hiram started to hang out with the wrong crowd. He began to smoke weed, and learned to make fast money by committing crimes. He was incarcerated by the age of 14, but did not stop using drugs. After serving time in Puerto Rico, he joined his family in the Bronx, NY where his drug use and illegal behaviors escalated, becoming a vicious cycle that he could not escape. Consequently, Hiram spent many more years in prison. On April 12, 2015, he decided to change his life and entered a 28 day treatment program. He has been clean ever since. Today, Hiram is grateful for his clean time and works on his recovery by going to 12 step meetings, having a sponsor, and using a network of supports. He gives thanks to his Higher Power, as he reports God has blessed him with the ability to become a better father, boyfriend, brother, uncle, and friend.