“Cindy and I would like to thank all of you for all of the guidance and support you provided to Bret during his stay at Turnbridge and for all that you have given to us as well. We are so very grateful for all of your hard work in ensuring that Bret would ultimately be in a position where he could achieve optimal success. Your program stands as a model that should be replicated throughout the country in our fight to help those who have succumbed to the scourge of addiction. Yet, no matter how good the program may be, it can only be successful when carried out by talented and dedicated professionals like yourselves. Turnbridge is YOU...it is nothing without the collective talent of each of you!”
- Fred, father of a Turnbridge graduate
Rec & Lifestyle
From the Family
This past month, several clients and staff in Phase III of the Women’s Program headed up to Mount Snow in Southern Vermont for a full day of skiing and snowboarding in the picturesque Green Mountains. Vermont has some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world and Mount Snow is a favorite destination of Turnbridge clients due to its varied terrain, which is suitable for all skill levels. Many clients are trying skiing or snowboarding for the first time, while others who are more experienced are placed in a leadership role.
“We all had a blast,” said Jessica Giunta, Women’s Support Staff Manager. “Between Emma ripping up the slopes and Alyssa tumbling down them, we all had a great time and we were able to really bond.”
“Ski trips are something I personally look forward to every year and they never disappoint,” said a Phase III client.
Nick Anderson is the Turnbridge Unsung Hero for the month of February 2018.
Nick Anderson leads the day-to-day Food Services operations for Phase I of the Turnbridge Men’s Program. As a Turnbridge graduate himself, Nick can personally relate to the anxiety of coming into a brand new place and meeting everyone for the first time. He goes above and beyond to create a positive experience for these newly arriving clients.
“Before coming to Turnbridge as a client, I suffered every major consequence that addiction can cause.” said Nick “Today I feel comfortable being sober and my life is great. My relationship with family is better than ever and I generally am happy where I am. I don’t have all the material things I want in life yet, but I feel good and that’s a major change.”
“Working with the clients, I think, is the major upside to my job,” said Nick. “As a member of the kitchen staff, I think clients are less inhibited when talking with me. I’ve been through Turnbridge and have made a lot of the same decisions they are facing, and they can relate to that.”
“This recognition of Unsung Hero is very much appreciated,” said Nick. “I love this team and everything we do here.”
Chris and Marilyn are the parents of Milena B., a current client in Phase III of the Turnbridge Women’s Program.
Chris and Marilyn adopted Milena from Bulgaria when she was 5 years old and raised her in their home community of Fort Worth, Texas. Because of reasons beyond their control, in her tween years, Milena bounced around to several different small schools. “The change of schools definitely took a toll on her,” said Marilyn. “I learned that she worked better in smaller schools. We tried a public school, but it was too overwhelming for her.”
When Milena was 13, she had her first major incident with substances. “She overdosed on over-the-counter medicine,” said Marilyn. “Chris and I had no education on mental health. We thought two weeks of going to groups and seeing a doctor would smooth over the bump in the road; no professional told us that we should be thinking differently.”
“Mental health was not talked about in Texas,” said Chris. “It was like speaking a foreign language here. We had no idea what was going on. We didn’t know that we should have followed up with rigorous therapy. Milena has had multiple inpatient stays, which eventually became an every-six-month occurrence. Our definition of normal was clearly different. We knew no other parents going through this, and no one gave us advice. It has been a very lonely road.”
“Because Milena was under 18, the doctors were hesitant to diagnose her,” said Marilyn. “When we finally started to get answers, it helped because we could read books and educate ourselves. Milena has been through multiple psychiatrists, multiple counselors, and several residential stays. We realized her needs were beyond what the resources in our area could handle. We finally had a specialist recommend Turnbridge because of the repetitive, cyclical nature of the hospital stays. Milena needed more long-term treatment.”
“During the admissions process, Gordon answered all of our billion questions over a 10-day period,” said Marilyn. “He was so helpful and understanding with our situation. At the admission, Chris got to meet her whole care team.”
“The whole team has checked in with us all along the way,” said Marilyn. “At one point, there was an issue in the middle of the night, and everything was handled perfectly. We are so grateful for the availability of the whole team, especially Lauren Springer, our Family Liaison. We have a weekly call with Milena’s case manager and clinical team. Turnbridge is the first place we have been to that acknowledges that parents are in recovery just like their children are. We started to feel like we weren’t alone. It has been close to 9 years thinking this was our own fight and Turnbridge has made us feel finally not alone in this whole process.”
“One of the best things about Turnbridge is that if they don’t have the capability to do something, they will use outside resources to make sure those needs are met,” said Chris. “They aren’t just brushing you off if there are additional needs, which makes them different from other treatment centers. If Milena needs it, she gets it, and all of our questions are answered along the way. Our recovery as well as Milena’s is progressing.”
Milena is now in Phase III, and is working at a day care four days per week. She is active in the recovery community and has developed a network of support. “I have seen constant change in our daughter, and I couldn’t be happier,” said Marilyn. “Everything isn’t perfect, but I trust this recovery process to continue over her time at Turnbridge.”
Charlie M., a Phase III client in the Turnbridge Men’s Program, grew up in a loving family alongside his older brother and twin sister.
He was raised on the west coast, but later moved east to Connecticut. Though Charlie was blessed with a supportive family system and many natural gifts, he is no stranger to adversity.
“I first started smoking weed and drinking when I was 13,” said Charlie. “And I loved it right away. It was just a good time. At that time, I was good at sports and was a pretty good student. I was having a lot of fun, but also knew what I needed to do in order to be able to keep having fun.” Despite Charlie’s understanding that fun “in moderation” was vital to continued social and academic success, he began to struggle more and more with tempering his substance use.
“It slowly got worse,” said Charlie. “I kept getting into more and more trouble and falling in and out of depression. A few years ago my mother passed away and that hit really hard. At that point, I was using to self-medicate my depression.”
“I had successfully gotten into college, but I eventually fell into a full mental breakdown,” said Charlie. “I was drinking every day heavily and got into multiple car accidents. The crazy thing was that I was not concerned about my drinking. I was more concerned with getting into trouble with my family.”
“Eventually I sought out help,” said Charlie. “I went to an inpatient program for my drinking and mental health. They recommended Turnbridge for continuing care, which I was very excited about. I was nervous at first. Coming to a new place and learning a new way of life sounded great on paper, but doing it is a whole different story.”
“Phase I was pretty simple,” reflected Charlie. “I used therapy, and the ability to start creating an outside sober network, to help cope with things I was going through. The whole staff - case managers, support staff, and even the kitchen staff - helped me get over certain fears or get through the anxiety I was experiencing.”
“Beginning in Phase II, I started volunteering and enrolled in college classes,” said Charlie. “I started going deeper into my recovery and mending relationships. The relationship with my family is incredible now and I owe my experience here and the work I’ve been doing to Turnbridge.”
Charlie is now enrolled at Fairfield University and is finishing up his undergraduate degree. He plans to remain in the area after discharging from Turnbridge to continue his growth with his sober network in New Haven. Charlie has taken on the role of leadership in the Phase III community. He reaches out to newer Phase I clients and drives them to twelve step meetings frequently.
“It gets better,” said Charlie. “I found being honest with how I am feeling and what is going on is the best way to move forward to lead a productive, happy life.”
Eidetic Image Psychology - A way to find your natural high.
As a therapist, I am constantly learning new ways to help my clients overcome their addiction and mental health issues. For many, early sobriety is a scary time where one is re-shaping their entire identity. This can be a challenging commitment for many, and the process of understanding their addiction is a crucial part of the process.
One of the most helpful tools and therapeutic techniques I use is something called Eidetic Image Psychology. It is a fast moving, positive therapy that gets to problem areas quickly and generates change by using precise tools that promote insight and growth.
The Eidetic image is a bright, lively picture seen in the mind much like a movie image or a film strip. It is different from other types of mental images in its unusual clarity and its ability to reproduce important life events with exact detail. Through the Eidetic image, one can re-experience a life event with all of its basic elements intact: the visual image of the event, the physical and emotional feelings associated with it, and the meaning or significance it contains. These special images are neurologically recorded in the brain and systematically stored away for future reference. When recalled, the Eidetic image recreates a vivid experience of events and conflicts in a person’s life with drama, clarity and detail.
As each Eidetic “record” is retrieved and thoroughly examined through a step by step approach, any unresolved areas are revealed and their underlying causes are identified. From this enhanced perspective, emotional difficulties can be viewed with greater insight and the solutions to long-standing problems become clear.
In my practice, I use Eidetic image exercises to help clients recover their own “Expectation High”, a high state that already lives in their psyche. To do this, I ask them to examine their first experience with alcohol or drugs. I ask the, “What were you doing? Who were you with? Right before you took the substance you were expecting something, perhaps a new experience, a feeling of freedom, or a feeling of power.” I point out to my clients that all of those feelings were in them naturally, not in the drug. The drug stole that feeling from them. Now, with this knowledge, they can recover their own natural “Expectation High” and gain all of the positive resources it has to offer.
This work has been incredibly powerful and it has a deep and profound impact on those who utilize it. Clients often feel empty inside, and look to external factors to fill their emptiness such as drugs, sex, money, etc. The key to a truly successful recovery is always the inner work. We all have the potential on our own to fill ourselves with the love and natural high states that naturally exist within us. Eidetic Image Psychology helps people find their inner strengths and authentic powers and, in doing so, allows them to live a fulfilled life in recovery.
Turnbridge Alumni, Bobby B. grew up in Wayne, Pennsylvania with his mother, father, and two sisters.
Bobby excelled in school and played multiple sports. “I always loved math and science and baseball,” said Bobby. “In high school, I started wrestling and rowing crew as well. The summer before sophomore year is when I started drinking and smoking weed. I loved the feeling. I remember feeling like I liked it a little too much.”
“Throughout middle school, I was bullied and made fun of,” said Bobby. “As a result, I had a ton of anxiety growing up. When I started drinking and smoking, the social anxiety was gone. Using substances made me feel different and happy.”
“I switched schools twice and ended up at Saint Joe’s Prep in Philadelphia, which I liked a lot,” said Bobby. “But, I had struggles wherever I went. During my junior year I really started struggling with depression and I started using a lot of psychedelics, like mushrooms and LSD.
“I went off to University of Vermont,” said Bobby. “I had more freedom and less responsibility and accountability. My addiction started getting worse and the mental health and depression became unbearable. Every day at UVM I smoked and drank, and I started to lose friends. My parents started to realize there was a problem.”
“When I came back home for winter break and I was so out of it,” said Bobby. “I couldn’t hold a conversation. Nothing I said made sense and I was losing my sense of reality. I ended up going to Caron for 30 days of treatment.”
“Caron recommended I continue my treatment at Turnbridge,” said Bobby. “I didn’t know if I really wanted to go, but I was willing to try it out. There was definitely a lot of back and forth, but I told myself, let’s just see how this goes.”
“When I came to Turnbridge, I thought it was amazing,” said Bobby. “I made a lot of friends with clients and staff. I started feeling gratitude for the recovery community around me and started realizing how lucky I was to have the life I have.”
“My therapist helped me slowly deal with the passing of my younger sister,” said Bobby. “She passed away when she was 2 years old, but with support I realized I could make it through anything. My case managers helped me get into the recovery process and create a life worth living, even with mental illness. I needed a network, and my peers and staff helped me put a plan in place, establish a routine, and eventually get back into school.”
“Phase II was a good reality check that not everything in my life is going to be given to me on a silver platter,” said Bobby. “I eventually was able to get a job and start taking classes again, while volunteering at a soup kitchen. This experience opened my eyes to what I can do and that there are no limits as long as I maintain balance in everything.”
“I was seeing things through for the first time in my life,” said Bobby. “I always did things half-assed, but I started finishing what I started and my word meant more than it used to. I always have to remember to stay open minded and trust the process. It eventually all works out if I can remain honest.”
After completing the Turnbridge program, Bobby moved back to Philadelphia where he continues to work and go to school. He has created a sober network using the tools he learned at Turnbridge. “My parents and I have learned to talk to each other and support one another through this process and it has been a wild but eye-opening journey,” said Bobby. “I wouldn’t have changed anything I did to get to where I am today. Everyone at Turnbridge has helped my life progress immensely and I will be forever grateful.”
16 MONTHS Merrium S.
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