Over 8 years ago, Amy and her husband became aware that their 21 year old son, Eric was having an issue with alcohol. He agreed to go to a rehabilitation center in Kent, CT. After completing the rehab, he was motivated for a new sober lifestyle. It was suggestedthat he stay at a sober house to transition back into his community.

Amy and Eric went to the only sober house located near their town, only find that it was too expensive, unsafe, and didn’t offer therapeutic activities. No food was provided, nor transportation to the 12 Step meetings. Slowly Eric began to drink again. Eric loved to ski so he decided to move to Colorado with a few of his friends to work at a ski resort during the winter, and return in the summer to work with his dad as a carpenter.

On March 28th, 2013, Eric, 24 years old, died due to substance abuse induced suicide. Eric’s parents were aware that Eric was drinking, but not aware of his using other substances. After their son’s death from substance abuse, Amy, felt driven to createa safe and affordable environment to help other individuals dealing with substance abuse and healing after leaving rehab.

Amy started Smile Anyway to raise awareness, education, break the stigma, provide support groups, and the long term goal od starting a structured transitional facility for continuum of care after rehab for young adults. She has worked for over 16 years as a psych nurse with addiction and mental health issues in different sectors throughout the State of CT.

The Smile Anyway philosophy is to provide a new lifestyle, and a new approach to living is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Every individual needs to fulfill five basic needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization. Without this foundation, individuals will continue to be active in addiction, overdose, and we will continue to see the loss of life in our young
adult population.

Amy with her Mission and Vision, reached out to different individuals to create a diversified Board of Directors that also have the determination, and passion bring change to the community. They formed a nonprofit organization, that will not make money from the disease of addiction but make a difference for young adults returning to their community.