“I have started to see a change in Brian. His attitude towards success and obtainable goals has been one of forward direction. He is once again becoming the young adult we once knew before addiction took this wonderful person to a different place. Brian has just begun Phase II of the program. He has a sponsor, is signing up for two classes next semester and beginning to look for a “sober” job. This is all largely due to the Turning Point staff working together to direct Brian during good and not so good moments”
Rec & Lifestyle
With the Turnbridge Women’s Program up and running, we are offering a variety of new recreation events. One of the new offerings is an art healing class.
At Turnbridge, we believe it is critical for young adults in early recovery to learn that it is possible to have fun without the use of drugs or alcohol. Further, the art class provides a perfect platform for the healthy expression of feeling.
“The art class gives our clients an opportunity to stay present in the moment and find a creative way to express their emotions,” Audrey B., Turnbridge Women’s Program Director, stated. “It’s a great way for clients to connect with one another, and build relationships.”
“I am not very good at expressing my feelings, so art class gives me a safe place where I can express my feelings,” said Genna P., Phase I client at Turnbridge. Prior to her substance abuse issues taking hold, Genna had a keen interest in art, but “everything took a backseat to drugs.”
“The class is very recovery based and is letting me get back to the things I love,” said Genna.
Dan W., Director of Kitchen Services, plays one of the most important roles in customer service at Turnbridge. Despite his hectic schedule, Dan always brings a smile and a strong sense of humor with him to work every day to brighten the mood.
After attending multiple treatment centers in different states, Dan eventually made his way to Turnbridge as a client. “My life was in shambles,” Dan said. After completing the program, he was offered a job with the Turnbridge Facilities Maintenance Department. Eventually, Dan moved over to culinary services at Turnbridge where he excelled, and was eventually offered the position of Director of Kitchen Services.
“I take pride in the meals we provide for our clients every day,” said Dan. “I remember what it was like; a good meal can be the difference in a lot of things for me. I am beyond blessed to be where I am today and work for this company.”
Lisa W., the mother of current Phase III client Colin W., has watched her son face many difficult obstacles over the last few years, especially on the road to recovery.
But, since Colin enrolled in the Turnbridge Men’s Program, he has fought hard to find a better way of life. Colin grew up in a great family and had an idyllic childhood. In high school Colin was introduced to marijuana. “He dabbled with pot in high school,” Lisa said. In college, Colin began to abuse prescription pain killers and other substances and “it was a downward spiral from there.”
Colin has been an avid skateboarder for much of his life, according to Lisa. As a kid, Colin attended Woodwork skate camp and expressed a desire to work there when he got a little older. Colin went on to do just that, but it was short-lived. He was fired after being caught with drugs and alcohol on the premises. “He lost his passion and quit skating and started chasing the drugs,” Lisa said. “He put skateboarding on the back burners when he was using. Nothing else mattered but the drugs.”
Colin’s addiction would take him to treatment facilities throughout the country, but his substance abuse persisted. A relative of Lisa’s ended up referring her to Turnbridge and after doing her diligence, she became convinced that she had found the right place. “I called Colin and told him we had the greatest gift we could offer him,” said Lisa. “He thought it was new shoes or something. I told him it was the best treatment in the country and Colin jumped right on board.”
“He is so much happier than he has ever been,” said Lisa. “There were bumps in the road, but he knew he was where he needed to be.” Colin has put in tremendous amounts of hard work to get to where he is today.
“It is so amazing to have our son back, to have Colin back,” Lisa said.
“What makes Turnbridge different is that they work with the parents,” said Lisa. “Getting to speak with his case manager on the phone every week was extremely helpful and helps me hold Colin to a high standard. “The parent support groups and all the work Turnbridge does with families is unbelievable.”
Colin has not only made huge changes in his own life, but he continues to help out newcomers at Turnbridge on a daily basis. As a Phase 3 resident, Colin was offered a position to be a House Manager, which he accepted and he takes very seriously.
Ethan’s journey to New Haven for treatment was, like many, wrought with pain and fear.
Since arriving at Turnbridge, Ethan has found a better way of living, full of joy and fulfillment. Growing up, Ethan explained how he was “very shy and spent a lot of time alone.” At a young age, Ethan moved and was forced to start a new life and meet new friends. “I never really fit in or felt a part-of,” said Ethan.
When Ethan was 14 years old, his mother was diagnosed with an untreatable disease that was quickly spreading. Soon after, Ethan’s mother would pass away. “I was devastated and really didn’t know what to do,” said Ethan. “I just isolated.”
It wasn’t too long after the loss of his mother when Ethan began to experiment with drugs and alcohol. “I started hanging out with the older kids and really just wanted to fit in” he said. “It was something I really enjoyed. I started to party and get out more and felt like I fit in.” At first, there were limited consequences everything seemed to be going okay, according to Ethan. “I came out of my shell and was a part of group of friends now,” said Ethan.
Ethan would make it through high school, and would soon go off to college. “My idea of college was a little skewed and thought I could just party and drink and not do any work,” said Ethan. With his drinking escalating, Ethan began to skip his classes. “I just kept drinking and became really depressed,” said Ethan. It was not long before Ethan had to withdraw from school and would head back home.
When Ethan arrived home, all of his friends were gone at school and he decided to start hanging out with someone who was a known drug dealer. His drug use escalated, and Ethan suffered a manic episode while under the influence. “I soon started to steal and manipulate to get what I needed, and it was very uncharacteristic of me,” said Ethan. “It took over my life and I didn’t really think anyting was wrong.”
Ethan would soon face multiple arrests, leading to his first substance abuse treatment episode. Following the completion of treatment, Ethan left and relapsed almost immediately. “I thought I could manage it, but I couldn’t,” said Ethan. He began abusing psychedelics, which resulted in a severe psychotic episode. He was subsequently hospitalized.
Ethan entered substance abuse treatment again, and about a week into his stay, Ethan received news that his father had passed away. “I thought my life was over; that the world was out to get me,” said Ethan. “I had lost all hope in life itself.”
He left treatment against advice, and decided to move out on his own. “The day I got home, I got high and woke up 2 days later in the hospital,” said Ethan. “You would think that would be a wake up call, but it wasn’t.”
Ethan made the decision to reach out to Turnbridge and make his way to New Haven. Upon arrival, Ethan states how he “dove right in” and immediately got involved in working the program. “I started doing things that were suggested, as uncomfortable as they were, and things started getting better,” said Ethan. “I eventually started taking classes again and realized how well I can do when I’m sober.” In addition to his course load, Ethan took on a commitment as a full-time volunteer at a local non-profit.
Now, in Phase 3 of the Turnbridge Men’s Program, Ethan continues his local commitment in the community, plays on the Turnbridge soccer team, and will be attending school full-time in the fall. “I never thought I would make it to where I am today.” Said Ethan. “I am so grateful.” Ethan has begun planning for his graduation from Turnbridge and plans to stay in the New Haven area to continue living the life he has built for himself. “This place saved my life,” said Ethan. “I have friends, family, and everything I could ever need to live a happy life now. I am so grateful.”
Long Term Work is Done Here
In late April I moved from Texas to New Haven to become a clinician at Turnbridge. Back home my friends wonder why I ever left a place with no state income tax, delicious brisket tacos, and some of the country’s nicest people. But alas, I desired new life experiences.
For work, that meant departing the comfortable short-term treatment models to find a program where I would have the chance to work with one client for longer than a month or two while she or he is in a structured, supported, and supervised environment.
Those unfamiliar with mental health treatment might not understand how valuable and fulfilling long-term work is for a client.
Essentially, long-term work means I build a stronger therapeutic alliance with someone. It means I get to know his mind and spirit, her tendencies and values, his struggles and hopes, her challenges and dreams. It means together we implement coping skills and foster self-worth.
Talk therapy over an elongated period means I identify immediate needs as well as table certain growth areas for a time when a person is stronger. It means I help each person sustain her or his changes. It means sober identity is developed in a safe place where trust is sacred.
For these reasons, Turnbridge looked very attractive to me as a clinician. And on the residential side, its phase system reinforces each persons therapy experience. While one young woman is working on stabilization in phase one, a young man in phase three is gaining confidence from showing up for life through work, education, relationships, and hobbies.
I am grateful to have joined the Turnbridge squad and to have daily opportunities to do long-term work with each client.
I’ll return to Texas twice this month once for a Dallas wedding and once for my ninth year to judge the World Championship Barbeque Goat Cookoff. (Google it.) I’m excited to hit the dance floor at the former and to square dance at the latter.
But I know at the end of each trip, I’ll want to get back here to continue assisting young people in their long-term process toward wellness.
Originally from South Carolina, Lee S. made his way to Turnbridge to try and better himself, and avoid ending up back in jail.
After recently completing the Turnbridge Men’s Program, Lee now has found within himself a desire to share his message of hope with others.
Growing up, Lee explains how he “got everything he could ever want”. Despite this fact, he began engaging in reckless behavior at a very young age. He was a self-described menace, always fighting and lighting fireworks in the community in which he grew up. “I was always grounded,” said Lee.
In 8th grade, Lee starting getting involved with a bad crowd. A lot of his friends were 2-3 years older then him in his neighborhood. “I looked up to those guys,” said Lee. “I wanted to get high with them, get girls, and have nice clothes. I was still figuring out who I was and wanted to fit in.”
When Lee was 13 years old, he got high for the first time. “I was indifferent about it,” said Lee. “I always struggled to find what made me happy.” His freshman year of high school, Lee began getting high every day. He would soon begin to abuse prescription pills and was “getting high to maintain [his] sanity.”
“I always needed something to be okay in my own head,” said Lee.
Lee would soon face a series of arrests due to his drug use . “I was losing all of my friends, didn’t have any money, and could never feel right,” he said. Lee began to do whatever he could to get his drugs. “I was sick,” said Lee. “It still haunts me to this day.”
Lee’s days consisted of using drugs to avoid feeling sick, and he was never home. “My relationship with my parents disappeared,” he said. “I thought it was over and I had nothing to live for anymore,” he said.
A counselor that Lee was working with at the time noticed something was off and called him out. “I broke down crying,” said Lee. “I was hopeless.” Lee spent a brief period of time in a psychiatric hospital and then subsequently attended a substance abuse treatment program. “I got out of treatment and thought I had it all,” said Lee. “I relapsed within 12 hours of being out.”
Lee’s drug abuse and arrests continued, resulting in further jail time. While on the phone with his dad in jail, Lee said that it was over and he was going to go on the run when released on bond. “My dad told me he was going to get me out and get me into treatment,” said Lee.
Lee enrolled at a wilderness treatment program. “On my solo trip I ran away and found myself in an open field yelling to the sky,” said Lee. “I knew something was up there helping me stay out of jail and get the help I needed. I felt some type of relief after.” Lee would finish the wilderness program and enroll at Turnbridge for continuing care.
Lee came to Turnbridge ready to continue his recovery, and began to excel. Lee made significant strides as he has progressed through the program, successfully demonstrating the ability to hold down a job and maintain commitments within the local recovery community. “Life is about as close as it can be to my wildest dreams,” said Lee.
After completing the program, Lee decided to stick around in New Haven and move into a nearby sober house. He is currently working, and is looking to become a part of the Turnbridge Support Staff team. “I am comfortable being out in society,” said Lee. “I am so grateful and never thought I would be where I am.”
10 MONTHS John F.
9 MONTHS Mishka S.
7 Months Marlon P.