“I am so incredibly proud of the young man my son has become. The guidance that he received at Turnbridge has proved to have made a lasting impact, as my son is now back in school full-time but remains very close to his sober friends and diligent in his recovery.”
- Robert, father of Alumni
Rec & Lifestyle
From the Family
This past month, the Turnbridge Mixed Martial Arts program started back up for clients in Phase I of the Men’s Program. MMA is a great way for clients to enjoy a cardio workout and blow off some steam in a healthy way. It also gives clients the opportunity to try something new that’s outside of their comfort zone.
“The best thing about mixed martial arts is confronting the uncertainty and the awkward feelings of trying a new task,” said one Phase I client.
“Learning to move a muscle and change a thought is one of the essential parts of my own recovery,” said Alex Pritchard, Turnbridge Support Staff Member. “I love seeing the guys get out of their comfort zone, try something new, and end up enjoying themselves.”
“I never realized I could have so much fun sober,” said Noah B., who is now a Phase II client. “I’ve found a new outlet in MMA and I would have never tried it if I wasn’t in recovery.”
At the end of each year, all Turnbridge staff members are asked to cast their votes for the co-worker they feel is most deserving of the Turnbridge “Unsung Hero of the Year” award. As a result of his untiring dedication to Turnbridge and the client’s we serve, Scott Fuchs has been selected by his peers as 2017’s Unsung Hero of the Year.
As a former Turnbridge client, Scott brings valuable personal experience with him to work every day.
Scott, what does Turnbridge mean to you?
“Turnbridge means a way of living. It's not a job or a chore, it's a lifestyle.
Turnbridge means that I can get up each morning and face the day head on and feel good about what can be accomplished.
Turnbridge means to me a reinvention of oneself, leaving the past in the past and moving forward.
Turnbridge means a band of brothers; like-minded individuals who want to get better.
Turnbridge means living in the solution instead of being part of the problem.”
Jerry and Katie, the parents of Kestin, a current client in Phase III of the Turnbridge Men’s program, describe Kestin as a child who was a great student and showed a lot of early potential.
The family moved around a couple of times, but finally landed in Ohio, where Kestin did most of his growing up. Kestin was socially gifted and always had a lot of friends. However, when Kestin began abusing substances his peer group changed very suddenly.
“It was a steady progression once Kestin got into high school,” recalled Jerry. “His personality changed overnight. He was out of it all the time and getting angry very easily. He also had a relationship with a girl, which wasn’t healthy.”
“Once he started using, he was quick to cut people out of his life,“ said Jerry. “He went from friend to friend just getting high with them and then moving on. During May of his junior year in High School, we tried to intervene by sending him to a wilderness program and then to boarding school. He left that boarding school and made it back to Ohio all on his own.”
Kestin’s addiction took him to some very dark places. “He bottomed out very low,” said Katie. “He was hanging at flop houses and with worse people.”
“Kestin overdosed,” said Jerry. “We thought he was dead. He was blue and it was horrible.”
Kestin’s parents were referred to Turnbridge by a prominent therapeutic consulting firm in Columbus, Ohio. “Sending him to Turnbridge was one of the hardest things I’ve done,” said Jerry. “We told his sister that he was leaving for a while and it was just so hard.”
“In the last year at Turnbridge, the education has been great,” said Jerry.
“I know he’s safe and the support is great. It has been smooth even with some bumps in the road,” said Katie. “I think Kestin has grown from all the experiences. Kestin has matured, become responsible, and has become more humble,” said Katie.
“He’s taking on more responsibility and has slowed down to let himself grow,” said Jerry. “The therapy and the busy, but productive schedule has gone leaps and bounds to help him change. Overall we are happy that he trusts people now and that he’s back in a safe pace to further his life.”
Re-Authoring Your Story:
A Glimpse Into Narrative Therapy
Narrative Therapy is a model that capitalizes on an individual’s strengths, rather than his or her weaknesses. It uses language to help a person re-author their lives; problem-saturated stories are no longer the focus, and therapists work with their clients to find unique outcomes that can be capitalized upon as an agent of change. One of the main principles of Narrative Therapy is to help a client understand the ways in which his problems influence his or her life and serves as a reminder that life is not just about the stories we tell, but also about the stories we have yet to discover.
This therapeutic process encourages the therapist and client to find openings in his narrative that haven't yet been storied by using the tool of externalization to separate the individual from the problem. Rather than someone being the problem, he is seen as having a relationship with the problem. Once the problem has been externalized, the client no longer sees himself as inherently flawed or problematic. He is encouraged to discover experiences that are contrary to the problem-saturated story and unearth unique outcomes, experiences not yet predicted by that same problem-saturated story. These unique outcomes can be as simple as doing something differently in response to a problem, which then helps to make new meaning of that problem and prepare him/herself to have a different kind of relationship with it. By discovering these unique outcomes in one's own personal history, the client is able to take ownership of that story and use it as motivation for change.
There are times we buy into the frame of not having control. We find ourselves embroiled in a single story, diminishing our capabilities without considering the multiple stories that are woven into our lives. It is then that we fall victim to the belief that we are powerless in changing our narrative. This model of therapy enables us to grow in new ways as we continue to re-write our lives. As we determine how our stories unfold, we create a space for ourselves where we can make new and positive associations with what was once a problem-saturated story. The role of the therapist is one who listens and guides, bearing in mind that despite years of education and experience, the client holds the agency of change.
Jake S., a current client in Phase III of the Turnbridge Men’s Program, grew up in Newtown, Connecticut to a loving family.
Jake’s natural talents allowed him to excel in academics and sports, often times with minimal effort. However, Jake’s teenage years saw him fall prey to emerging substance use and mental health difficulties.
Jake now recognizes that because things came easy to him early in life his resilience was stunted, which may have contributed to his emerging issues in his teenage years. “I always was able to not put in a lot of effort and still get by,” said Jake. “I could do the minimum and still do well in school and hockey.”
“I started drinking by accident,” said Jake. “A friend put alcohol in my drink without me knowing. Out of nowhere, I started feeling pretty good and I had no idea until he told me. I loved the feeling. I started using more and more substances.”
“Around this time, I was also diagnosed with type 1 Bipolar Disorder and everything started to change,” said Jake. “I remember starting to feel very good for no reason, sort of like the first time I drank. I could stay up for days at a time and could be even lazier with school work and still get by. But, by the time I got to college, it was always ups and downs.Insane highs followed by dramatic lows.”
“I realized I was changing,” said Jake. “I was more irritable, taking more risks, and treating my loved ones poorly. Eventually, I got arrested and was hospitalized. My family was very worried about me and I eventually ended up at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut.”
“After Silver Hill, I came to Turnbridge and on my first day we went on a 3-day camping trip,” said Jake. “I love camping and it was a lot of fun. I struggled with isolation in Phases I and II, but activities like this eventually helped me get rid of the fear. At Turnbridge, I learned to get and keep a job, I created a sober network in New Haven, and was taught to trust people that were farther along in recovery than me.”
“Now, in Phase III, I have my car, I attend meetings, and I participate in the community,” said Jake. “I can give new guys rides to meetings now like others did for me when I was new.”
“The staff at Turnbridge loved me along the way even when I was feeling low,” said Jake. “My relationship with my family has immensely improved and I can be happy around them. I Just have to remind myself that things take time and effort but will eventually always turn out for the better.”
22 MONTHS Lauren K.
18 Months Delaney B.
16 MONTHS Jacqueline E.
15 MONTHS Jamie C.
14 MONTHS Zachary T.
13 MONTHS Trevor C.
12 MONTHS Valerie R.
11 MONTHS Samantha K.
6 MONTHS Alyssa B.