I will never forget talking with you on the phone in March, 2015, about our son who was in Colorado at the time, about coming to Turnbridge. You were a wonderful resource to us, reassuring, supportive. We made the decision to send our son from Colorado to you all at TB, and have been grateful ever since. He’s been sober from 2/19/2015, every day, and counting.
- Rachael, mother of a Turnbridge Alumni
From The President’s Desk
Rec & Lifestyle
From the Family
As many of you know, at Turnbridge we believe that family support is integral to a successful treatment outcome. While this ideology has been reflected in our curriculum since our inception in 2003, our family services scope has broadened considerably over the years as the critical importance of family involvement has been reinforced repeatedly through direct experience and outcomes measurement.
After many months of thoughtful planning and recruitment, we are thrilled to announce the launch of our most comprehensive and robust offering for families to-date, our quarterly Family Education Weekend.
This three-day program will incorporate experiential activities so that parents of those struggling can embed new information and be supported by both professionals and other parents to do the very hard and important work of family recovery. The workshops are punctuated with activities devised to soothe even the most anxious parents and maybe spur interest in mind/body techniques, which are known to have tremendous cathartic value.
Participants will come away with a new, deeper understanding of their loved one’s condition as well as with practical strategies for identifying and addressing addictive behavior.
For more information, please visit our website at www.tpaddictiontreatment.com/family-education-program.
I hope you can all join us!
This month, clients and staff from the Turnbridge Women’s Program took a trip to The Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum for a day of climbing and zip-lining. The Adventure Park boasts 11 tree-top trails consisting of 180 platforms.
“I’ve never done anything like it before.” said Jennifer, a Women’s Program client. “I didn’t know I could have that much fun sober.”
“I broke through a fear of heights while zip lining,” said Cindy, a Women’s Program Support Staff member. “It was exhilarating.”
For many young people just entering recovery, the idea of experiencing joy without the use of drugs and alcohol can seem incomprehensible. The recreational activities at Turnbridge are designed to instill hope in our young clients that you can have a good time without the use of substances. New experiences foster the notion that change is a good thing.
The Women’s Program has a variety of other exciting events coming up, including trips to the beach at Hamonassett State Park, Six Flags New England, and Brownstone Water Park.
Craig Blough, Phase 1 Support Staff member in the Turnbridge Men’s Program, is the Unsung Hero for the month of August 2017.
As a former client, Craig has a unique ability to relate to clients of Turnbridge on a foundational level. Craig has been with Turnbridge in the capacity of employee for over a year and has earned a reputation as one of the hardest working members of the Support Staff team.
“I love working for Turnbridge and continuing my path here with this family,” said Craig.
“This isn’t just another job for me. “I do it because I want to pass on what was given to me. I love helping people and coming in and seeing the guys grow, and sharing my experience from when I was a client.”
Linda D. is the mother of a current client in Phase 3 of the Turnbridge Women’s Program.
Linda recalled that, growing up, Julia was very quiet and reserved up until high school. At that Point, Julia began to come out of her shell. She began participating in sports, developed a really close group of friends, and eventually began partying. All seemed well, until Julia went off to college.
“She dropped out in her second year,” said Linda. “Because she didn’t have any problem behaviors before I did not see the signs immediately. Over the next year I watched as Julia struggled to keep jobs, slept a lot, and became combative with me. If she was drinking a lot or partying a lot, I didn’t see that. But, our relationship was starting to deteriorate.”
“Around the age of 22, Julia started going down a path I had no control over,” said Linda. “Everything was an argument, sometimes physical. Julia would come home drunk, couldn’t maintain work, and when she was employed would sometimes blow it off. I was making appointments and she would cancel or not show up. This was a whole process of trying to get her to do things constructively.”
Shortly thereafter, Julia was involved in a bad car accident. Linda began to feel truly helpless. “I was completely powerless at this point,” said Linda. “I had been trying for years with doctors and therapy. She attended an outpatient program, but I knew Julia was never doing what she was supposed to do. I hardly slept because I had no idea where she was. She was always out of it.”
“We eventually gave her an ultimatum and told her we would only support her getting help,” said Linda. She went to treatment screaming, but it ended up being the best thing that happened in a while.”
“While she was in primary treatment, I heard about Turnbridge,” said Linda. Linda did her research and decided to offer Julia continued support at Turnbridge. Julia accepted.
“Everyone and everything at Turnbridge was amazing, from the staff to the properties,” said Linda. “It was a difficult first few days, but we were able to come visit every other weekend. Turnbridge takes them out to the beach, to the movies, to a bunch of different events. Step by step they help the girls, and also the staff are always available.”
“I have a relationship with my daughter today,” said Linda. “Because of Turnbridge, I am beyond thankful. I am so lucky that Julia has such good support. The relationships she has built and the network she has there are such a blessing.”
Born in Detroit, Greg and his family moved around a lot when he was a child.
They lived in Mexico, West Virginia, Singapore, New York, and then ultimately landed in Baltimore where Greg spent the majority of his childhood.
Greg recalls that before he even began using substances he had a preoccupation with seeking the approval of others, which ultimately led him astray. In 9th grade, Greg was introduced to marijuana by some older kids. “I remember feeling 'a-part-of', because that’s what I though the cool kids did,” said Greg, “I always hung out with older guys due to involvement in sports. I eventually started drinking during freshman year of high school. The only reason my life stayed intact at the time was because of the support I had around me, my parents, teachers, and coaches.”
Greg would go on to be accepted into the University of North Carolina on a lacrosse scholarship. When he went off to college, Greg’s substance use began to escalate. By sophomore year, Greg had developed an opiate dependence. “I remember at the college level I wasn’t in the lacrosse spotlight anymore and it made me feel uncomfortable,” said Greg. “So, in my mind, pledging a fraternity to get to the top of the social latter was my best option. Partying, lacrosse, and academics in that order.”
“Drugs were preventing me from succeeding,” said Greg. “At the time, I thought that the location I was in was my issue, not the drugs, so I moved to San Diego. People were starting to see through my charade, but I still didn’t think I had a problem. I always wanted to party, but everyone around me was able to put it down and go to work. My addiction completely owned me by this point.”
Greg’s family eventually held an intervention for him. “I heard my mother cry and I was forced to listen to what my brothers and everyone were saying,” said Greg. “I realized I was hurting the people around me and doing things I normally wouldn’t do. I had hit my bottom.”
“I came to Turnbridge with an open mind,” said Greg. “I followed directions. The staff and the other clients that follow you on your journey are priceless supports. I learned that I wasn’t the only drug addict out in the world. The fellowship and camaraderie helped immensely. There were times that I had such bad cravings for drugs and alcohol, but I had this safety net around me.”
“I have a program for sobriety set in place today and I also have a program that is helping me live life and Turnbridge is allowing me to do all of it in a safe space,” said Greg. “I eased back into everything. I got to look for a job, I got to go to the gym, but I struggled with it at first. Before treatment, I had a big boy job with a company credit card and now they wanted me to start with a minimum wage job. It was completely humbling and through the process I came to the realization that my ego was one of biggest problems.”
“I have all the resources Turnbridge has to offer and all I have to do is ask for help when I’m struggling,” said Greg. “I have a Case Manager, friends that I live with, and other staff to bounce ideas off of and to share struggles with and ask for advice.”
The Value of Family Therapy When Addiction is in the Family
For families with a family member recovering from addiction, most understand, even if only intuitively, the value of family therapy. Even so, the value of family therapy can be lost among many competing forms of support when addiction is present in the family. As addiction is a family disease, the value of family therapy cannot be underestimated in it’s effectiveness to support families navigating the waters of recovery.
When a family is equipped with a family therapist, they receive many benefits:
- Understanding addiction and recovery as it pertains to the uniqueness of their family and their loved one in recovery
- Emotional relationship ‘knots’ that so often are present with addiction in the family can be untangled through understanding and productive communication
- Provides the opportunity for family members to bring mindfulness to their family relationships, their individual needs and a way forward with resilience, strength and clarity - even amidst uncertainty.
- Families have a place (the therapy office), a supportive person (family therapist) and specific times (scheduled sessions) that are designated to focus on family relationships and family functioning.
There is enormous troves of literature and research available that details the typical patterns of families. The research and literature informs both families and professionals alike about what one can expect in the process of addiction and recovery - in general. Yet there is something that is instrumental that only a family therapist can provide.
A family therapist is equipped with an in-depth understanding of family dynamics, the particularities that families go through when addiction is present and most importantly, a family therapist has the know-how of using general clinical data to assist families as they navigate their unique path forward, from active addiction to early recovery and beyond.
Unlike family members, who have their own needs and personal histories with other family members, a family therapist comes into the family as a new agent unencumbered by the family history and interpersonal dynamics. The addition of the family therapist into the family’s network of relationships offers the opportunity for a new dynamic. Implicit in this new dynamic is the family therapist’s function to support family member’s adjustment to the reality of addiction and support recovery in the family. The family therapist’s presence in the network of relationships acts as catalyst to bring forth family strengths and resilience, dismantle defunct and dysfunctional ways of relating and create healthy relationships amidst the recovery process.
As families move forward into the world of addiction and recovery, they are inundated with resources, treatment modalities, levels of care, support groups and information. A trusted family therapist is an invaluable ally to the family as their loved one moves from active addiction to early recovery and beyond. A family therapist can help family members bring order, healing and love to their life and relationships with one another, so that life can move forward amidst uncertainty. And therein lies, the value of family therapy.
Growing up, Matt moved around a lot. His father was in the military and his mother was a teacher.
In 2001 his father was deployed for a year and his mother fell ill. Shortly after, Matt recalls he began having this perpetual feeling of impending doom. “I didn’t know what it was then,” said Matt. “But, apparently it was real-deal crippling anxiety.”
“I started acting out in school and was diagnosed with ADHD,” said Matt. “I was prescribed medication for my ADHD but that just made it worse. From an early age, I learned that if you have an issue there is a pill you can take to get rid of that issue. Pills are what people use to fix problems.”
Eventually, Matt’s mother got well and his father returned from deployment, but his feelings of anxiety did not go away. “I used to pull my hair out and stress eat to get rid of emotions and feelings.”
“In high school, after moving to Alabama, I began going to parties and drinking,” said Matt. “There was a big party culture. When I would binge drink all my anxiety would go away. I was social, had a girlfriend, and many positives came from it at that time.”
Matt’s substance use eventually progressed to other substances. “I enjoyed speed and started abusing the ADHD medication I was prescribed,” said Matt. “I started looking into pharmaceuticals, including opiates, benzodiazepines, and anything else I could use. I developed the mindset of speed during the day, opiates at night, and drinking on the weekends.”
Matt went on to attend the University of Alabama, but his drug habit followed him there. “I was switching doctors because they were catching on to me,” said Matt. “The first time one of my doctors called me out I immediately left and I looked for another doctor.” Matt eventually started buying drugs online in order to keep up with his habit and stave off withdrawal symptoms.
“When I was sophomore in college my brother was diagnosed with cancer, my grandmother passed away, and I just sedated myself,” said Matt. “Eventually my brother passed away and it put me into complete shock. I would cry in my bed for hours because I didn’t go through the grief. Everyone thought I was just grieving and my behavior was normal. I had to hide everything.”
Despite what Matt was going through in his personal life, he managed to be accepted into graduate school at Auburn University. Shortly after, Matt suffered a drug overdose and his family was forced to face the reality of his situation. They learned of Turnbridge through the parents of another Turnbridge client. Matt was presented with the option to go to Turnbridge and he agreed to accept the help.
“Turnbridge was great,” said Matt. “When I first got to Phase 1 I didn’t have to worry about my life on the outside for a while. I could shut the production part of my brain off for once.”
“I had a life to live but I was not capable of living it in a healthy way,” said Matt. “Turnbridge helped me out so much.”
“While at Turnbridge, I got a job working at a local restaurant and I eventually earned the position of Phase 3 House Manager,” said Matt. “I always love taking the other guys to twelve step meetings. Because of Turnbridge, I eventually decided to stay in the New Haven area and attend college there.
“I can develop healthy relationships now and work on my anxiety,” said Matt. “I am not only just as productive as I used to be, but I am fully present.”
16 MONTHS Chris M.
12 Months Julia J.
10 MONTHS Toni G.
8 MONTHS Gregory M.
7 MONTHS Nicholas B.
6 MONTHS Anthony C.
5 MONTHS Riley N.
4 MONTHS Richard H.
3 MONTHS Evan F.