“Our son graduated from Turnbridge yesterday, and on behalf of my wife and our family I want to thank you and the whole Turnbridge family for all that you’ve done for this young man. We couldn’t be happier for him, but also for ourselves, quite frankly. The day that he drove home a couple of months ago to make his amends with us, I asked him afterwards why the program has worked for him (this is the 4th program he’s attended). I didn’t know what to expect in the way of an answer, but when he said without hesitation “I like myself sober”, it had that unmistakable ring of clarity and honesty that only comes from within.
Thank you and everyone at TB for helping him to get there. Thank you for understanding addiction and the journey these young people are embarked on, and for helping our son discover himself.”
Rec & Lifestyle
From the Family
This past month, a group of women from Phase 2 of the Women’s Program were given the opportunity to get a closer look at glassblowing. An intricate art form, the group was able to learn how it was done as well as give it a try for themselves. Professional glassblowers showed them the studio, the glass blowing process and assisted the women in making their own creations.
“The girls were excited to try out glass blowing and eager to learn what it entailed,” said Carter Mangi, Women’s support staff member. “It was a great way for them to express their creativity while stepping out of their comfort zones. They enjoyed the hands on learning process and being able to see a finished product they helped create.”
Phase 2 client Olivia M. valued the experience of learning something new. “Getting out of my head really helps me, it was really cool to try something I’ve never done before.
Genevieve D., Phase 2 client, also enjoyed the unique experience. “It was awesome. I like learning about new hobbies and creative outlets. Exploring new art forms is so helpful for me in recovery.”
Heather Watry is a support staff member at Phases 1 and 2 of the Womens Program. As alumni, Heather is inspired to give back the same support that was shown to her. I have been asked to leave other treatment centers for behavioral issues. Turnbridge believed in me and made me feel like I could change. When I made mistakes they were there to pick me back up and thats a place I believe in.
After beginning as support staff, Heather quickly proved herself to be a valuable member of the team. Her personal experience lends itself to her ability to connect with clients and be a power of example.
Heather began working at Turnbridge because she felt a strong sense of compassion from staff during her stay and she wanted to be a part of passing on the message of hope. I switched majors several times in college but I never felt connected to anything until I came to Turnbridge. I feel Ive found my passion.
Heather serves as a strong role model for the women at Prospect. I like getting to know the girls and watching them grow. Being a support for them also helps me to grow.
Terri C. is the mother of Arielle C., a graduate of the Turnbridge Women’s Program. Growing up in Westchester, NY, Arielle was captain of her cheerleading squad and a typical high school kid. “We are an Italian family, so we have a very traditional way of doing things,” said Terri.
“In the beginning, I had no idea Arielle was using,” she explains. “To find out it was heroin, was very scary. I was so afraid Arielle was going to die.” After going to Silver Hill, Arielle transitioned to Turnbridge following a suggestion from a family friend. She completed Phases 1 and 2 before returning home.
“I thought I knew how to help her. I thought she was ready [to come home],” said Terri. Shortly after returning home, Arielle relapsed and returned to Turnbridge.
“What I appreciate so much about Turnbridge, is when we came back, nobody said ‘I told you so’. Everyone was extremely welcoming.” Terri shared a specific memory of her first Family Education Weekend following Arielle’s return. “Dave Vieau came up to me and gave me a hug. He said ‘I know it’s hard but it’s going to be okay.”
Terri credits case managers Cori Wilkes and Meghan Bresnahan for their attentiveness and patience with her. “We had many difficult phone calls. They were always there to coach me on what to do. It was a real learning experience for me. I always wanted to help and thought I knew how, but as it turns out sometimes I was doing more hurting. I had to learn to take a step back and trust the professionals. I had to learn to give up some control”.
Arielle now has 16 months of sobriety and has put down roots in New Haven. “Arielle is in school this semester. We don’t know the exact plan for when school ends but she’s built a life for herself, made friends, found a job. She has a sense of independence now,” explains Terri. “I had a very specific [expectation] for her future but even though it doesn’t look like I thought it would, what matters is that she is happy and healthy”.
Terri specifically notes a difference in their relationship. “[In active addiction] she was mean and hurtful. We couldn’t understand why she was being so mean and yelling at us. We didn’t think that maybe she was hurting too”. Since then, their relationship has grown and communication has improved. “Now, she will say ‘Mom, I need to walk away. I need to take a breath’. It helps us both to take a minute to pause.” “I am so grateful for Turnbridge,” said Terri. “Not only has Arielle grown, but so have I.”
Growing up in New York, Isabel S. recounts her struggle with substance abuse and multiple attempts at recovery.
“I tried to get clean several times,” said Isabel. “Each time I would try to do it on my own or go to an IOP. It never really worked.”
Isabel’s ongoing struggle with substance abuse and her mental health were reflective in her relationship with her parents. “We had a mutually mistrustful relationship. I would lie and manipulate them to get money. I’d lie so they didn’t get on my case about what I was doing or how much I was using. We would fight a lot. It was very hostile”.
Finally, her family had hit their breaking point and they urged her to get help. “My parents put their foot down. I’m the kind of addict where no bottom is enough. Ill keep going until I run myself into the ground.”
Isabel entered the women’s program in December of 2017. “I went in kicking and screaming. By the time I got to Turnbridge I was so depressed and beaten down. I didn’t think I could get better, I didn’t think I would make any friends and I didn’t think things would ever change. I had resigned myself to living a life of misery.” Isabel’s defeatist attitude got her off to a rocky start.
“My first few months were really hard. I had a lot of issues with honesty and telling people how I felt.” Isabel says her biggest struggle was changing her instinct to lie and manipulate. “I had a lot of people encouraging me but also calling me out on bad behavior. In Phase 1 and 2, I really struggled with honestly. I continued to try and lie and manipulate until it became clear my old behaviors wouldn’t work anymore.”
Eventually, Isabel made a decision to change. “I got to the point where I was so miserable, I started to take suggestions because I had nothing left to lose. It didn’t click immediately that it could be that simple; listening to people who knew what they were talking about. It actually started helping”.
This willingness propelled Isabel in a positive direction and she was able to see progress. “Every suggestion I took, things got better. I started to make friends. I got a sponsor. The women I came [into Turnbridge] with have become some of my closest friends in the world.” Isabel’s perseverance and change of attitude helped her see growth in herself and her relationships.
“My parents and I have a vastly different relationship today. There’s mutual trust and respect. We genuinely get along and enjoy each other’s company”.
In Phase 3, Isabel has been able to flourish. “I’m in school, I have an internship and a job. Today, I stress about real life issues like applying to schools, not how to get away with lies or find more drugs. Now, I work on balancing all the cool things I have going on. I have an actual life and I’ve never felt like that before.”
Isabel is currently studying political science at Gateway Community College and hopes to attend Wesleyan. She has a job in addition to an internship at Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS). Isabel’s community involvement has helped her to establish independence and a feeling of belonging. “At first, I hated New Haven and hated Connecticut. Now, I feel like I’ve made an effort to become a part of the community. Not only do I have a Turnbridge family but through my internship, I’m getting involved in the refugee and immigrant community. I’m making friends at school. I have a network of sober women from meetings. I feel like this is a special place to me and I want to contribute to it. It has helped to shape and mold me.”
Isabel continues to grow and work on her sobriety. “I never thought it would get better. I never thought I’d live the life that I have today. I know the longer I stay and work on my recovery, the more chance I have to keep getting better.” It’s this staggering turn around that Isabel recognizes the most. “Anyone who knows me when I got here knows I am not the same person that I was. I felt miserable, depressed and thought I could never be anything. Today, I have a life worth living. It’s not easy work, but it’s worth it.”
Cia M. from New York, came to Turnbridge in November of 2017.
For Cia, it was the emotional toll of drug and alcohol use that led her to seek long term treatment. “My life was completely unmanageable,” recalls Cia. “Toward the end, I’d burned every bridge with both family relationships and friends. I had a lot of legal issues but ultimately I wanted to get sober because I hit an emotional bottom.”
Cia remembers her initial struggle with trusting others. “In the beginning, it was really lonely. I had a hard time opening up and talking about everything that happened.” Through work with her therapist, Cia was able to see progress in herself. “A big part of my healing at Turnbridge was getting trauma therapy and learning I can trust people. Once I did, I got a really solid foundation of people who were there for me and supported me. I had never had that before.”
Having formed relationships with staff and peers, Cia’s attitude changed and she began to believe in herself. “Being open minded and taking suggestions was really important for me. I did everything I was told to do, even if I didn’t think it would work.” One of the things she learned to do was be patient.
“I was in Phase 1 for a long time. I remember being frustrated at how long it was taking but Turnbridge did a really good job of gauging when I was ready. That was something I wasn’t able to do for myself and I trusted [my team] knew what was best. Time helped me the most.”
While at Turnbridge, Cia worked hard to get into the summer program at Yale. She plans to start school again in the fall and hopes to make it back into an Ivy League school at some point. “I will ultimately stay in Connecticut because I’ve formed connections here.” Not only has she built relationships with her peers at Turnbridge, but she is active in the 12 step community. “I have a sponsor, work the steps and go to meetings.”
Throughout her time at Turnbridge, Cia has worked on mending the bridges she’d burned. “I have my family back. My parents trust me again. Now, all my friendships are founded on mutual respect. I’m an honest person and live an honest life now.”
Most importantly, Cia says “I like who I am again. I’m happy, which I wasn’t before I got sober. I’m really grateful for Turnbridge and the opportunities I was given to make something of myself.”
19 MONTHS Benjamin P.
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