April 2021 | Issue 6
The TCI Connection
“We inspire families and individuals to overcome the disease of
addiction by creating real long-term solutions!”
What have we accomplished with your help? To find out,
click below and read our Spring Appeal letter. Please
consider making a donation to help us bring our
mission and vision even further, because
Together WE are Stronger!
Ana Gopoian, Honored as
2021 Citizen of the Year

A fierce advocate for individuals and families who face the daunting challenges brought on by the disease of addiction, our very own Ana Gopoian was honored as Citizen of the Year on March 6 by the Wallingford Elks Lodge #1365. Ana still remembers the day she stopped using drugs. On July 13, 1995, the Walling­ford native sat in her bedroom, broken and despondent from years of substance abuse. The then 32-year-old had battled addiction since the age of 12.

“I had a gun in my hand and I was going to shoot myself — not to die, but to cause enough pain to feel like I deserved to recover,” Gopoian said. Rather than harming herself, Ana called a friend who kept her safe before helping her enter rehabilitation.“I was given the gift of desperation that day,” Gopoian said about her decision to seek help.

Ana has remained drug and alcohol free for over 25 years since, and, in July of 2016, founded TriCircle, Inc. Through this nonprofit organization, she is now helping others understand and overcome substance use disorders. Phase 1 of the development plan has seen the opening of a resource center in Middlefield, the implementation of clinical services, support groups for families, community engagement events, trainings and webinars to educate and engage professionals and lay people about the disease of addiction and memorial quilt making workshops. Ana has earned certifications as a Progressive Recovery Coach, a Recovery Support Specialist, and a Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counselor. Over the past five years, TriCircle, Inc. has worked diligently to strengthen their brand, recruit very talented professionals, engage new connections, and collaborate with powerful partners.

"One of our greatest resources is the strong and dedicated support we receive from our principled, focused, and evolving board of directors and volunteers. We are very proud of our accomplishments and have become further established in CT by growing our reach and influence through our clinical services and the opening of our newly expanded resource center in Middlefield," said Gopoian.

“Ana is driven by a passion deep within her. She is a very deserving recipient of this honor. She is an unstoppable force and has a determination that will change the way the world regards this disease," said Ceci Iliff, who lost her son Ben in January of 2019, and now serves on two advisory boards for TricCircle, Inc., "I have not seen anyone accomplish more than Ana in such a short period of time. She understands this disease inside and out, and she is not going away."

"Together WE are Stronger, and, as we fully engage our communities in this conversation, we will strengthen our presence and clearly demonstrate what our mission and vision bring to the table," said Ana. "We are dedicated to creating real, long-term solutions for individuals and families affected by substance use disorders and the disease of addiction, and we will not stop until we reach full implementation."
TriCircle, Inc. seeks to identify people who reside in Connecticut and have demonstrated a commitment to further their collegiate studies. We recognize that the epidemic of substance use disorder exists here in our state and that tragically thousands of wonderful people have died due to the disease of addiction. We have come together to continue this scholarship opportunity originally created in honor of Michael F. Gagnon II. The TriCircle, Inc. 2021 Memorial Scholarship will be awarding two $2,500.00 scholarship awards in 2021. Scholarship applications and information are available on our website www.tricircleinc.com/scholarship, email Christine@tricircleinc.com, or at the front desk where our office is located: Executive Offices 6 Way Road, Middlefield, CT 06455. The signed, completed scholarship application with all supporting documentation must be received in one packet and postmarked no later than May 29th, 2021.
So Much is Happening
Save the Dates
  • Saturday, April 10 and Sat. May 1, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm - 2nd Memorial Quilt Square Making Event
  • Tuesday, April 13, 6:00 pm - The DMHAS Family Webinar Series, Topic: Grief, Loss & Hope
  • Friday, April 23, 6:30 - 8:30 pm - First in a 2 Part Series, Everyone Knows Someone III - details coming soon on our Website and Social Media
  • Sunday, April 25 - The 2nd Annual Charity Challenge Drive Thru Breakout Blessing of the Bikes, 12:00 Noon to 2:00 pm, Saint David's Episcopal Church, Gales Ferry, CT
  • Saturday, May 8 - Ride For Tomorrow, in loving memory of Dave Frye, Raging Bull Harley Davidson, Durham, NC
  • Friday, May 21, 6:30 - 8:30 pm - Second in a 2 Part Series, Everyone Knows Someone III - details coming soon on Website and Social Media
  • Saturday, May 29 - deadline for submission of the 2021 TriCircle Memorial Scholarship
  • Sunday, June 6, 8:30 am - 2:00 pm - The Charity Challenge Twisted Trails 5K Color Run, Tamarack Lodge, Voluntown, CT
  • Wednesday, July 14, 9 - 10:30 am - Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce presents Learning to Live in Recovery - details coming soon
  • Sat., July 24, 11 am - 7pm, Fellowship Festival hosted by the Masons at Franklin Lodge #20, Westerly, RI. Music, Food, Fun and Fellowship! All proceeds benefit TriCircle.
  • Sat., July 31, 7:00 pm - Together WE are Stronger in Enfield, Live Facebook Raffle
  • TBD - The Recovery Block Party summer event - details coming soon!
During a weekly call with TriCircle, Inc. volunteers, the subject of family rituals came up. I have always loved a good family ritual: grace before dinner, bedtime candle, the NCAA bracket or donuts on Sunday. Rituals define our family life and set us apart from other families. But when you have a loved one with substance use or alcohol use disorder, rituals can be fraught with anxiety and sadness.

Here are some things to consider:
  • Does your love one attend? Not if he/she creates chaos, embarrasses you or frightens people.
  • How do you explain your loved one’s absence? You are not obligated to explain. A simple, no he/she cannot make it will suffice. 
  • How to keep the ritual going when the loved one is unable or unwilling to take part? If the ritual provides an identity and sense of comfort to family members, keep it; but if it perpetuates grief, loss and sorrow, let it go.
  • When is it time to start a new ritual? Over time, rituals change. Children grow up, family dynamics ebb and flow, members are added; a new ritual can replace one that no longer provides a sense of belonging, predictability, or comfort.

by Elizabeth Kirby Fullerton, PhD
Recover Your Family
Spotlight on Owen McLean
Addiction - A Progressive and Painful Disease
Addiction is a progressive illness. For some, this progression is very slow, and, for others, it is quite quick. Regardless of its speed, addiction is an incredibly painful disease (for all involved) that, if allowed to go untreated, will always lead to jails, institutions, and death. In my case, the progression was very fast. I won’t talk much about the details of my using; for one, my mom will be reading this, and, for two, I’m sure everyone subscribed knows the brutal realities of that sort of thing all too well. But basically, I started drinking at 14, using illegal drugs at 15, and found recovery at 20. 

There’s this stereotype of old timers in recovery saying stuff like, “I spilled more than you drank,” to young people like me. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case for me. Most of the older folks I meet in recovery tell me they wished they had come in at my age and that they had had the strength or something along those lines. While I’m certainly appreciative that I was able to come into recovery when I did, it had nothing to do with my strength. 

The day I stopped using wasn’t my strongest day or even my most painful; it was just the first day that it took less strength to change than it did to live through the pain. Slowly, but surely, my life since then has become less strenuous to maintain the changes I’ve made...and also to keep changing for the better. The process of recovery is surely difficult, but it’s far, far easier than living the way I had been living. Every day, I get a chance to live up to my potential and thrive, rather than just survive. Whether it manifests through finding fulfilling relationships, running my own business, or just taking care of myself physically, this chance is the greatest gift recovery has given me. 

Here is a link to my website:
Where did you find help?

We are interested in learning where the loved ones of those with substance use disorder (SUD) go for help, support and answers. Our goal is to write a book for loved ones to learn from what you have learned about addiction, language of the systems, self-advocacy, resources,
as well as the different paths to recovery.
At the end of this brief survey, you will have an opportunity to provide contact information. If you are interested in sharing additional information via a phone call, please let us know. For questions, you may contact one or both of us:
Ana Gopoian - ana@tricircleinc.com 
Elizabeth Fullerton - elizabeth@recoveryourfamily.com
Hello, my name is Amy. I have decided to host a fundraiser in Durham, North Carolina, in memory of my father, David. It’s hard to write this because this is something I never imagined myself writing. My dad struggled with addiction since he was in his early twenties. Growing up, I attended NA meetings with him and met a bunch of amazing people. My dad’s battle had its good days and its bad days. There were years when he was sober and we saw how incredibly generous and caring he was. My father was my role model. My father sadly passed away June 2, 2020. I am hosting “Ride for Tomorrow” in hopes that I can bring awareness to others and raise money to put towards helping others battling with addiction. While I strive to help multiple individuals, my hope is that I can save at least one life. No battle is easy, but I trust God to lead me on the right path. I believe God chose this path for me because he knows I have a strong passion for helping others. I strongly believe the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” To the person reading this, whether you’re an addict yourself, the partner of someone with an addiction, a child with a parent who struggles with addiction or just someone who knows someone with an addiction, please know that you’re not alone. There are many people with open arms to help you get to tomorrow. by Amy Fry
Now Accepting Clients
TriCircle, Inc.’s Clinical Services are now open and accepting new clients. Our master’s level clinicians facilitate a range of evidence-based programs, giving clients the opportunity to grow, change and maintain long-term recovery.

TCI’s Clinical Services offer:

Flexible morning or evening hours
Time for family
Ability to seek and/or maintain employment
Practice of new coping skills
Enjoyment of substance free activities
Benefits for personal health and wellness

Click here to learn more or call (860) 349-7074 to set up an intake.
Self Care: Reach Out for Support

Our Hope & Support and Hope After Loss group meetings are made available each month on Zoom. These meetings are co-facilitated by two paid professionals - one licensed and one para-professional with lived experience. We provide a safe and confidential space for parents, guardians and others who are concerned about a loved one’s substance use or addiction or who have lost a loved one to an accidental overdose, drug induced suicide or drug related murder. There is no judgment or blame, just support and understanding. Join us as we work together on this journey of healing. 
Click here to learn more.
The Memorial Quilt Project has two more scheduled upcoming sessions on Sat., April 10, and Sat., May 1, that provide the opportunity to honor and remember a loved one. This impactful, traveling memorial has the power to draw families and community together in a united effort to start the conversation, provide support and reduce stigma. Anyone interested in creating one of 36 squares for our 2nd Memorial Quilt can get more information about our quilt project and how to get involved by visiting: Memorial Quilt

Forms Available Online at:

We have a new company page on LinkedIn.
Please click the icon below and add us to your network!
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too!
 It is easy! Do all your everyday shopping online! First, be sure to sign up on Amazon Smile and choose TriCircle, Inc. as your recipient organization. Then, every single time you make a purchase from the Smile.Amazon site, a percentage will be donated to us! It doesn’t cost you a thing!
Mark Your Calendars - You Won't Want to Miss This! Gather Up Your Family and Friends. A Portion of Proceeds Will Benefit TriCircle, Inc.
Looking to become a TCI Volunteer?
We want you!

We have opportunities on the following
TriCircle, Inc. Advisory Boards:

Communications & Public Relations
Meets on Zoom, Mondays at 11 am.
Positions needed: Vice Chair, Graphic Designer
Commitment - 2-3 hours/week
Fundraising & Events
Next Meeting via Zoom, Tuesday, April 13, at 6:30 pm.
Positions needed: Chair, Vice Chair, Event Sub Committee Volunteers, Graphic Designer
Commitment - 2-3 hours/week, plus events
Meets on Zoom, next meeting
Positions needed: Secretary, Document Specialist
Commitment - 2-3 hours/week
Click here to learn more.

For more information, please contact lenore@tricircleinc.com
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