“We want to thank you for helping our son and family. Kyle is doing great and we give thanks to Turnbridge and to God. I want to thank Lauren Springer for all the positive messages and advice she has personally given me. Have a great day knowing you are helping many families through difficult times.”
Rec & Lifestyle
From the Family
This month, a group of clients from Phase III of the Turnbridge Women’s Program, drove up to the TD Garden in Boston for a Boston Bruins hockey game. Professional sporting events are a favorite of Turnbridge clients. Such events are bonding experiences that foster a sense of community and strengthen relationships and trust among those that attend together.
“The Bruins game was awesome,” said Genna P., a client who attended. “It’s awesome that Turnbridge brings us to events like this. It is nice to get a fun night out with the people I am sharing this journey with.”
“The best part about working at Turnbridge is witnessing the excitement in the eyes of our clients during recreational events,” said Brittany Trotta, Director of Recreation at Turnbridge. “I don’t have the opportunity to attend each and every event, but the stories I get to hear about the laughter, joy, and shared experience are incredible. It is awesome to see clients coming to me to say ‘let’s do it again!’. The events we do here at Turnbridge show our clients that fun is possible while sober.”
Steve Tobey, RCP
Steve Tobey is the Turnbridge Unsung Hero for the month of December 2017.
Steve is a Case Manager in Phase I of the Turnbridge Men’s Program.
“Being a Case Manager is truly about helping my guys and being of service to their whole family,” said Steve. “Every day at Turnbridge presents new challenges and victories. When I was first hired, someone told me working at Turnbridge is a lifestyle, not a job and I now understand what they meant. I am surrounded by the most talented and caring co-workers. I’m constantly learning and I feel blessed to be on the same team as all of these incredible people.”
“I get to meet and help amazingly talented, bright, promising young men that, for whatever reason, don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. As someone in recovery, I have felt their pain and discomfort first hand and can give them a road map to recovery through example and the resources around me in Turnbridge and in the Greater New Haven community.”
Lisa R., the mother of a current client in Phase III of the Turnbridge Women’s Program.
Lisa recalled that her daughter Rachel was a very outgoing and artistic child and was a cheerleader throughout middle school. When Rachel got to high school, however, her exposure to substances led to a series of difficulties.
“Rachel’s issues started in high school,” said Lisa. “Depression was one of them. She started smoking a lot of pot and eventually was transferred to an alternative school in our district. Therapists were seen, but she started to self-medicate even more with alcohol and harder drugs. She quit cheerleading and started hanging out with another group of friends.”
Lisa started to see dramatic changes in Rachel’s behavior around this time. “Rachel was 15 and her going missing and not responding became routine behavior for her,” said Lisa. “Our life was chaotic and it hit the tipping point when Rachel was hospitalized. From there on she went to multiple treatments and intensive outpatient programs.”
“Rachel finally got to Newport Academy, under protest at first, but after some time there she improved and told me she wanted to go to Turnbridge after,” said Lisa. “I broke down and cried because I knew she meant it. I have had to kick her out of the home before and it was torture. It was one of the worst things I’ve had to do, so this was an amazing turn-around.”
“She has had her bumps in the road, but the staff at Turnbridge has been an amazing help,” said Lisa. “There was one day early on that she called me and told me ‘they’re making me do grown up things and I have to come home.’ Since then, she’s gotten herself a job, graduated high school, and is now taking classes at Gateway Community College in New Haven.”
“I have attended many of the family workshops and have realized that we, as parents, need to help each other,” said Lisa. “Jack, our family therapist at Turnbridge, was incredible and helped us grow. My conversations with Rachel were constant screaming at each other for years. Jack has helped us renew our relationships and learn to establish boundaries.”
“I now have a relationship with my daughter,” said Lisa. “I have my daughter back. I am so proud of her and I am so grateful. Rachel came home for Thanksgiving and it was a great holiday. It’s the first time in a while that Rachel has been present and participating in conversation.”
Rachel now has plans to stay in New Haven after she graduates from the Turnbridge program and continue working, going to school, and staying active in the local recovery community. “It’s a family disease and Turnbridge has helped me get my daughter back,” said Lisa. “Rachel has her whole life ahead of her and finally I don’t feel like I am trying to keep everyone above water. We can continue to grow as mother and daughter.”
Kelley grew up in a smaller town in Pennsylvania.
In middle school and high school, she was on the track team, swim team, was an exceptional student, and a rabid Philadelphia Eagles fan. However, like many, she was exposed to substances at a young age and her use quickly progressed, ultimately developing into a full-blown addiction.
“I started drinking when I was pretty young,” recalled Kelley. “I started smoking weed when I was in middle school and gradually started doing harder drugs like cocaine early into high school. The progression was fast.”
Kelley was in her first residential treatment by the time she was 15 year old. “After treatment, I stayed clean and went to meetings, but thought because I was young it was just a phase and I could be normal again,” said Kelley. “I started drinking again and the progression went very fast that time. I was able to stop after a while and I started going to meetings again and managed to stay clean for 18 months. But, I got into a relationship and eventually got high again.”
Kelley’s progression led her to opiates this time. “Things got bad very fast,” said Kelley. “Eventually I got to the point where I had just five dollars to my name, I was in withdrawals, and I called my Mom for help. I went to detox and stayed for a week, insisting with my Mom that I knew what to do to stay sober after detox and didn’t need further treatment. Eventually I started getting high again.”
The next several years would see Kelley’s addiction continue to worsen. She continued to try unsuccessfully to manage her addiction with outpatient treatment. Eventually, she suffered a serious overdose and had to be revived with Narcan.
Kelley’s therapist intervened at this point and insisted she attend long-term care at Turnbridge. After a long and difficult detox, Kelley finally made it up to New Haven.
“When I got up to New Haven, the first three weeks were very hard,” said Kelley. “I was hell-bent on getting back to my job that was being held for me in Pennsylvania. I was convinced I didn’t need friends. At one point, I walked off the property. However, I quickly realized that I had no better option and decided to stay. I came to the realization that I was torturing my mother with how I was acting. I realized going home so soon would be hard for me. I didn’t want to give my mother sleepless nights anymore. I decided to put in my resignation for work and began making the best of my time at Turnbridge.”
“Parker, my therapist, is amazing,” said Kelley. “All of the staff worked hard to help me in those first couple weeks. When I got here, the moment I got here, everyone was so nice. They got me clothes, they walked with me, they talked with me, they let me be upset, and they went above and beyond to support all of us.”
Today, Kelley has a job in downtown New Haven. She frequently makes appearances at the Phase I and II Women’s Residence to offer a hand in helping the new women arriving at Turnbridge. She is active in the local twelve step recovery community and holds several commitments.
“I can cry, laugh, and grow with the girls that I am here with now,” said Kelley. “We support each other every day.”
The Power of Expressive Arts in Recovery
“The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrib le to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable.”Judith Herman states in her book, Trauma and Recovery
Expressive Therapies provide a method to manage these stress reactions in a creative and life affirming way providing the protective factors of connection to others through image, movement, and music. In this modality of therapy the therapist utilizes art, music, movement, and verbal expression to partner with the client to help them tell their story. Sometimes it is the silence that is most important where the art speaks and healing can be witnessed. In this situation the witnessing is the catalyst for healing and a beginning towards hope.
Art therapy is sometimes referred to as: Drawing from within. In most therapy sessions, the focus is on your inner experience-your feelings, perceptions, and imagination. While art therapy may involve learning skills or art techniques, the emphasis is generally first on developing and expressing images that are connected to the imaginal world. The word recovery gets thrown around a lot but the word brings with it so much imagery. Recovery from substances is an awakening to yourself, a reconnecting to the limbs, the eyes, to touch, all with a sober mind. While looking for definitions of recovery I found one I loved: “A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength. The action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.” Some synonyms are: retrieval, repossession, reclamation, recouping, or redemption.
A great art activity would be to print those synonyms, cut them out and allow clients to create a collage incorporating those words and concepts highlighting their own experiences then share them with the group or therapist. Another idea would be to create a poem that incorporates those words. I find that clients enjoy working with the materials in new and exciting ways. It is a form of play familiar to them and they gain new insight and understanding when they think creatively about a topic, even one that seems mundane and ordinary. Within each group I lead I try to find a creative way clients can relate to the material, from checking in about their day to envisioning a pleasant moment they have experienced through use of haiku, to creating sacred spaces in small boxes. The ideas are only limited to the imagination. It is a partnership between creator and creation that I love to facilitate.
Chris was adopted at birth and grew up in Pennsylvania with a loving family.
He was an outgoing child with a great love for soccer and a lot of natural leadership qualities.
However, Chris’ childhood was not without difficulty. At a young age, he was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD. “I was always prescribed a lot of medication to help with my learning disabilities,” recalled Chris. “Also, my parents got divorced when I was in 8th grade. I remember starting to feel like I was not good enough. That’s when I started smoking marijuana. I instantly felt it was for me. It got me out of my own head and it was an alternative to drinking, which I didn’t like.”
By Chris’ sophomore year in high school, his substance use had progressed significantly. “My disease progressed with LSD, benzodiazepines, and oxycodone,” said Chris. “My friends stopped using and I kept going because I always felt it was the thing for me. It helped me.”
Shortly after enrolling in college, Chris’ substance use started to bear significant, undeniable consequences. “My dorm room got raided and I was asked to leave the school,” said Chris. “After that, my friends wouldn’t hang out with me. I was alone in my car getting high constantly.”
Chris finally decided he had enough and reached out for help. “I went to my therapist and asked for some help and he recommended Turnbridge,” said Chris. “At first, in Phase I, I really struggled. I was constantly questioned whether I needed to be at Turnbridge.”
Despite himself, Chris stayed the course and progressed into the next Phase. “By the time I had progressed into the next Phase and had gotten more connected in the community I realized this process was helping me immensely,” said Chris. “At first, I thought the staff had no idea what I was going through. I realized later on that I was completely wrong.”
Chris has since completed the Turnbridge program and now lives in New Haven, CT. He has maintained his connection to the Turnbridge community as a member of the Turnbridge indoor soccer team and was just recently hired as a Turnbridge Support Staff member. “I am active in the recovery community, I stay involved, and I often take Turnbridge guys to meetings.” said Chris. “Showing them that you can have fun sober, and laugh and grow is crucial in early recovery. If you keep pushing through in those early stages and listen to those around you trying to help you, it gets easier.”
“Before I came to Turnbridge, I burned a lot of bridges,” said Chris. “My family and I have a great relationship now. I talk to my Mom every day. It’s one of the best gifts I have ever had.”
21 MONTHS Lauren K.
17 Months Delaney B.
15 MONTHS Jacqueline E.
14 MONTHS Jamie C.
13 MONTHS Zachary T.
12 MONTHS Trevor C.
11 MONTHS Valerie R.
10 MONTHS Samantha K.