This month, Turning Point�s Phase I residents and Support Staff members loaded up the Suburbans and headed off to Flight Trampoline Park in New Britain, Connecticut. The Trampoline Park is a favorite activity among the residents and Recreation Coordinator Casey Olayos makes sure to schedule a trip at least once a month. �The guys always seem to like the trampoline park," Casey said. �There are a lot of different things they can do there - they can play dodgeball, trampoline basketball, and a number of other activities. It lets the residents release some sweat, get some competition and shows them that being sober can be fun."

Thomas B., a resident of Phase I, had a blast on the trip. �The Trampoline Park is awesome," said Thomas. �You can do flips and play dodgeball and get out of your head for a little bit."


At Turning Point, recreational activities play a crucial part of the program. It is extremely important for young men in early sobriety to realize that it is possible to have fun without the use of drugs or alcohol. �You can definitely have fun in sobriety," said Brendan F., a Phase I resident. �The Trampoline Park made me feel like a little kid again." These activities also give residents the opportunity to bond with one another, and with staff members, while gaining new experiences in settings other than locations they are used to.




Mike R. is a resident currently in Phase III of Turning Point�s Preparative Care program.

Like many other alcoholics and addicts, the progression of Mike�s addiction was fast and his most valued relationships were damaged, but his path in recovery has led to profound healing and change.

Mike began smoking marijuana at age 13, which quickly progressed to the use of dangerous prescription medications. Soon after being turned onto these types of substances, Mike was arrested and sent away to a 12-Step boarding school for 14 months. Unwilling to hear any sort of message, he returned home at age 15 and fell back into his old circles and familiar patterns. He began smoking marijuana again and a week later was back into the prescription drugs. Around age 16, when prescription drugs became too expensive, Mike turned to heroin. �That�s when everything fell apart," said Mike. �That was the only thing I cared about. I didn�t go to school because of it, my relationships with my family were destroyed, but as long as I had [heroin] I was happy."

At age 18, Mike was arrested again due to his using and charged with a felony. He finally admitted to his family that he had a serious issue and needed help. �I just had had enough," declared Mike. His family helped him enter a 30-day primary care treatment facility, which recommended Turning Point as part of his discharge planning. Mike was initially hesitant to some of the suggestions by staff members and others, but has become involved in the community and made a great deal of progress. �It is all laid out for you here, you just have to want to help yourself," said Mike. �You will see the gains if you are willing to change. Everything has changed for me - the way I think, the way I prioritize things, just the way I act in general."

Mike has even started to repair the relationships with his parents that were once broken. �When I was using I never even talked to my parents. Me and my family are really close now," said Mike. Recently, Mike�s progress and hard work were recognized by Turning Point and he was offered the responsibility of working as a member of the Support Staff at Phase II of the program. Mike accepted the position and has been a diligent employee. �[As Support Staff], I get to help people who were in a position I was in a few months ago," said Mike. �It�s very cool to see the guys move their lives forward."




Brian M. successfully completed the Turning Point program, and graduated at the end of September.

Brian came to Turning Point from his home in Westchester, New York after several unsuccessful attempts to maintain sobriety while living at home. At 20 years old, Brian�s road to recovery has already been long and trying for himself and his family. However, since coming to New Haven, Brian is accomplishing things he never thought were possible.

Brian�s issues with substance abuse began at age 13, when he began experimenting with multiple substances. It did not take long for his addiction to progress. �I think it was when I hit high school that things really started to go downhill," Brian admits. �I was attending a private catholic school, but when I switched to public school I began frequently using hard drugs." At age 15, Brian entered his first treatment center. The concepts he heard about addiction did not sink in, as Brian chalked his problems up to youth.

Despite struggling through addiction, Brian managed to graduate high school, but his issues continued to progress in college. He was quickly forced to drop out of school, and he enrolled in an intensive outpatient program near home. After a few lapses, Brian and his family heard about Turning Point from a friend who was thriving in the program. They discussed the idea and made the decision to enroll. Brian was initially resistant to the advice that he got and the idea of twelve-step recovery, but the loss of a friend motivated him to open his mind to new concepts.




�I resisted when I first got to Turning Point," Brian confessed. �I totally messed around and didn�t take anything seriously, but then when a friend of mine passed away, it was a wake-up call for me. I began to realize how truly serious drug addiction is. Among other things, I got a sponsor and started to work the steps and my life started to get better."

Brian has worked for the past seven months at local business and is taking classes at a community college in hopes to transfer to one of the Universities in New Haven. �I was never ever to hold a steady job before I got here," said Brian. �I see that have a future now, where for the longest time I didn�t know what would happen next."



Eli Ostroff is Turning Point�s Unsung Hero for the month of December. Eli began working as a member of Turning Point�s Support Staff just over a year ago, while he was still a resident in Phase III of the program. Eli has become a valuable member of the Support Staff team, serving as a shift manager at Phase I and II.

With an energetic spirit and personal experience in addiction, Eli has the ability to relate to residents and the desire to lend support and encouragement. �The largest benefit to working at Turning Point is that I get to stay connected to the residents," Eli said. �It gives me a constant reminder of where I was a year ago."

For Eli, the benefit of working at Turning Point lies in seeing first-hand the progress made by residents. �It is an amazing thing to see guys come in and struggle through Phase I and III, then flourish and thrive in Phase III and become my good friends."



Kathryn R. is the mother of Sam R., a resident currently in Phase III of Turning Point�s Preparative Care.

After struggling to maintain sobriety while living at home, Sam entered Turning Point and has greatly matured while building a solid foundation in recovery.

According to Kathryn, the progression of Sam�s addiction came as a complete surprise. During his tenth grade year at an Atlanta high school, Sam�s parents discovered a disturbing text message on Sam�s phone, which they believed was referencing drugs. They confronted Sam, who admitted an already progressed drug habit, which included the use of several dangerous narcotics. �We did not see any warning sign," said Kathryn. �He had never missed a curfew. He was only allowed to spend the night out at two houses. He didn�t get in trouble with the law. He didn�t steal anything." Following the shocking discovery, Sam entered an intensive outpatient at home, but soon relapsed while in the program.

Sam was sent to treatment in Pennsylvania for 45 days, and then returned home to continue school. �We thought that he could come back and do outpatient [in Atlanta] and stay on track with school," said Kathryn. �We were still hopeful." Sam suffered another relapse shortly after returning home, and his family made the decision for Sam to enter Turning Point.

Sam has made great strides since coming to New Haven, but as Kathryn admits, �It took a while." Since this last slip, Sam has put forth the effort to improve his life and everyone around has noticed a transformation. �All of a sudden he was acting different when I saw him and talked to him," Kathryn said. �He was starting to mature."

Sam�s family and friends have welcomed his recent changes. �Sam is not as self-centered," said Kathryn. �He asks how other people are doing when he talks to me. It�s not all about him or what he wants. He asks about his family and I understand he has really reached out in the community."

The biggest sign of change that Kathryn noticed came when Sam recently made the decision to stay in New Haven upon graduating Turning Point, after months of asking his mother to allow him to return home. He told her that he believed staying in the New Haven gave him the best chance to maintain sobriety � a shocking sign of Sam�s conscious development into adulthood as a sober person.