Editor’s note: These are powerful stories from our Oxford Hills community of folks who have gone through challenging times and found ways to recover. The ‘Resilience Matters to Me’ campaign helps foster a community of care and empowers the ability to build resilience through connecting and reaching out, to support and be supported. Thanks to all who are bravely sharing their stories, encouraging others to break the silence and stigma and know that no one is alone. 

BCT yard sign

Kari Taylor, 44, of Naples grew up with six of the 10 ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). Her resilience came much later in life. In the interim, she escaped through addiction.

Consequently, Taylor has had to fight a double battle – overcoming the childhood ACEs and triumphing over her substance use disorder (SUD). She has done both and is now dedicated to helping others.

“One goal of mine,” she says, is helping people have more compassion for people with substance use disorder. It’s important that we understand that people with substance use disorder are likely to have experienced traumatic events.” Taylor stresses there is a correlation between ACEs and SUD and that “we can help prevent SUD when they are children. How do we help [children]? How do we help parents? We need to provide help.”

Kari Taylor

Taylor is with the Western Maine Addiction Recovery Initiative (WMARI).

For Taylor, help came through family. But it doesn’t have to be family, she says. “There are scholarships for treatment,” which she admits is very expensive. WMARI helps people find those scholarships and get treatment. “We are a bridge to resources.”


Building resilience is a process she explains. One key to her success was fully immersing herself in the community of recovery. “You feel shame so being in a community with someone else who shares those same feelings is important.”

Other things Taylor found helpful was self reflection, meditation and finding things in life that were calming. “Nature was huge.”

Taylor noted her husband, who is also in recovery, is most supportive. “He is an amazing human being.”

She also credits her coworkers at WMARI who have her hope. “In the middle [of SUD] you feel completely alone, unworthy, unlovable. Now I experience the opposite of that…it’s huge.”

One step, in the 12-step program, she explains, is writing about all your fears and experiences and how they affected you. “Through this process I was really able to look at my mom and my childhood and let it go…let the feelings go…learning how to love myself.”

Taylor thinks building resilience and overcoming ACEs is a community effort. “We need to prioritize helping others.”

What does that mean?, she asks. “Do we integrate that into schools? Prioritize mental health?

“If a lot of people were talking about it we would find a lot of people suffering … .”

QR code for resilience website.

“Hard things happen – Make a connection – Connecting helps us rebuild – Love. Support. Connect.” Look for these messages around the community and get involved in the campaign. Everyone can build resilience in ourselves, and help to build it amongst loved ones and community – so reach out because one positive relationship can make all the difference in a life. Visit www.resiliencematterstome.com to find all kinds of resources and supportive ideas, or reach out to Brendan Schauffler brendan.schauffler@mainehealth.org or Emma DayBranch emma.daybranch@mainehealth.org.                 

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: