“Turnbridge offers the full-package - truly a differentiator. From our initial contact with YOU, to everyone who is helping our son, to all the support we are receiving... and the fact that the program is designed to fully re-launch someone into society not just “get them sober” - to holistically address re-establishing healthy routines and any clinical issues while working the 12-steps to establish a sober network independent from Turnbridge, to working through issues in family sessions, to providing help to return to school and/or find a job, and introducing someone to a sober living community.
We are extremely hopeful that our son is finally receiving the support he needs to be able to turn his life around. Thank you”
Rec & Lifestyle
From the Family
This past month the Turnbridge Women’s Program attended a two-day camping and adventure program in Bantam, Connecticut called Adventure Recovery, facilitated by renowned outdoor educator and recovery coach, Tim Walsh. Rock-climbing, paddle boarding, and kayaking are just a few of many activities that the weekend entailed.
“The camping trip not only challenged me but helped me find some of my true friends here at Turnbridge,” said Sophie D., a client in Phase II. “I overcame a lot of my fears emotionally and physically. It was overall a very rewarding trip.”
Many clients had some initial apprehension about this trip, but came away from the experience with profound gratitude that they had gone. “The camping trip was an enriching trip and helped me learn that sobriety can be fun and thrilling,” said Neha S., a Phase I client. “Rock climbing was exhilarating. I loved the trip and would definitely do it again.”
One of the phase three clients that went with the group saw it as an opportunity to engage with the girls that were much earlier in their Turnbridge journey, Talicia M., stated “The camping trip gave me the opportunity to get close to the newer girls in the earlier Phases and made me so grateful to be a part of a community like the one we have at Turnbridge,” said Cia M., a Phase III client. “Not every day does one get to escape from the world into a group of sober, strong, hilarious, and powerful women.”
“It was wonderful to see both clients and staff work together to set up camp, cook together and learn new things,” said Turnbridge staff member, Kristen Fetchick. “Between rock climbing, paddle boarding and hiking we had so many opportunities to push ourselves and overcome fears. After the first few hours outdoors, there was a tangible change in the energy of the group. Everyone came together to help and encourage each other. It was incredible to witness and be a part of.”
Drew Behr is the Turnbridge Unsung Hero for the month of July 2018.
Drew Behr is a Case Manager in Phase I of the Turnbridge Men’s Program. As a Case Manager, Drew is on the front lines providing direct mentorship and support to Phase I clients on a daily basis. “I get to help young men not make the same mistakes I made and to see the light turn on, see that glimmer of light on a daily basis,” said Drew. “To see young men thrive in the recovery side of life, it’s really rewarding. I have had a few clients and their parents say that I was part of what made the difference in their lives, in their child’s life. At the end of the day that makes me feel good, but I know it’s a team effort, it’s not just me.”
“Being part of a team that moves together toward a common purpose has been one of the most rewarding things in my life so far,” said Drew. “The guys I work directly with on a daily basis all come from different backgrounds, but we all work together toward a common goal. When they asked me if I wanted this position they told me it was a lifestyle and asked if I was ready for it. I said yes, I was and I haven’t regretted it since.”
For parents, selecting the right treatment program is a scary and difficult process.
Aurora D. - mother to current Turnbridge client, John D. - knew that this may be her last chance to help her son. “Turnbridge was not the first treatment for John,” said Aurora. “He had been to several different places before that, but things were getting worse than ever and everything that we tried failed. John was seeing a psychiatrist in town who realized John needed some type of residential program, and he recommended Turnbridge.”
“When I got in touch with Turnbridge, I was totally desperate,” said Aurora. “John was pretty much in another world.” John initially resisted the recommendation of his psychiatrist. “I had some really good conversations with the Family Liaison, Lauren Springer. She sensed I was having trouble convincing John to go to treatment. I felt that I was going to have a very good support system behind me even before John came to Turnbridge. Once he got there everything started to move in the right direction.”
“I realized pretty much immediately that Turnbridge was different in their approach,” said Aurora. “Turnbridge really drew me into the program myself. I realized that I also had to go through my own recovery. I was given books to read, I almost felt like I was in therapy myself. It was really a game changer for me and John, because the fact that I felt involved in the program gave me strength to face John’s addiction. I felt empowered by the service and the tools given to me to support John in completing the program.”
“Turnbridge put the responsibility on John,” said Aurora. “They have this system where they slowly help you become more responsible and at the same time make sure you follow through. I am still so impressed. I think this was what John needed for his success. John is a new person. He is physically and mentally doing very well. He is responsible. He is able to engage with me in conversation.”
“The biggest thing that I have seen, now that he has been there for almost a year, is that I feel like I can finally trust John,” said Aurora. “Which is huge. It&lrquo;s really huge. I can leave doors unlocked. I can leave money out. I don’t worry about where my pocket book is.”
John is planning on staying in the New Haven area after he graduates from Turnbridge. “He has so much support and so many friends in New Haven and I think that's vital.”
Noah B. is a current client in Phase III of the Turnbridge Men’s Program.
Growing up in New Jersey, Noah’s difficulties with substances began to come to a head in late adolescence. “I struggled in school and I blew a lot of solid opportunities,” said Noah. “For some reason all I wanted to do was use.” After finishing high school, Noah enrolled in a community college. “Even when I did go to classes I never did any of the work because I was busy getting high.”
The consequences of Noah’s lifestyle extended into his home life as well. “I was making my parents life a living hell,” said Noah. “I was ghost. I would be gone for 12 hours a day. I would come home to eat and then just leave again. All of my money was going to drugs. I was literally just dying.”
During this time Noah realized that there might be a problem, but was unsure of how to go about getting help. “There was a part of me that wanted to stop, but I just didn’t know how to,” said Noah. Noah recalled trying to limit his benzodiazepine and opioid use, but found that he was making up for it by numbing himself in other ways. “I would try to stop pills, but then I would just drink a lot, or I would smoke,” said Noah. “Eventually I would always go back to the harder stuff.” As Noah’s addiction progressed, his relationship with his parents was becoming more estranged and toxic. “I would get kicked out of my dad’s house, then I would go to my mom’s house, then she would kick me out,” said Noah. “I would stay with friends but then they would eventually kick me out because I was just a mess.”
Eventually, Noah was given an ultimatum by his mother to get treatment or leave her home. “I had been using since I was 14, but my first stint in rehab wasn’t until I was 20 years old,” said Noah. “At the time, I didn’t think I was addicted,” said Noah. “I just thought kids my age partied really hard.” After completing his first residential treatment, Noah went to a sober house in Northern New Jersey. “I wasn’t really working a program,” said Noah. “I was just white knuckling it. I relapsed pretty badly and after a short while I was in a motel room, alone.” This relapse was a monumental turning point in Noah’s story, “I overdosed multiple times. I eventually just realized that I didn’t want my life to be like that.” Noah called his stepmother and gave her all the money he had left, and asked for help. “I went to Caron in Pennsylvania, did a month there, and then they recommended Turnbridge.”
Noah arrived at Turnbridge ready to engage in recovery. “I didn’t have any of the tools, I just knew I wanted to be sober,” said Noah. “I was a really angry person. I had a lot of anxiety, shame, and self-pity for blowing all the opportunities I had and hurting all of those people I cared about. [At Turnbridge], I just decided to start listening to people. I made a lot of really good friends here. There have been so many valuable and important friendships I’ve made here and I was really tight with my case manager, Steve.”
“The fact that I was able to come here - you know Turnbridge is really luxurious and it’s easy to be here -- and that my dad was willing to help me after all the times I had burned him... I just didn’t want to disrespect my dad and not work hard. This was a huge motivator for me,” said Noah.
In Phase III, Noah started working for a construction company. “It was a really humbling experience,” said Noah. “It taught me so much about how to manage my time and still go to meetings and work my recovery program while showing up every day for work.” He realized then that he wanted more from his life and that he needed to finish his education. He eased back into it with a single college course. “I had never given myself a fair shot at school, because I was always so inebriated,” said Noah. “So, taking this one class was really important because I had to learn how to be a student again. I ended up doing really well in that biology class and decided I wanted to pursue a career in nursing and help people. I am just really excited about where my future is going.”
Noah plans to stay in the New Haven community when he graduates from Turnbridge. “My life is headed in the right direction for once.”
Merrium S. grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. She successfully completed the Turnbridge Women’s Program in March of this year.
In recalling her struggles prior to treatment, Merrium said, “I struggled a lot with body image from a young age. I struggled with relationships. I just wanted to be set apart from people. I wanted to be different.” The resulting feelings of insecurity led Merrium to self-medicate with substances. Her substance use began to progress and her parents started noticing something was wrong. “It was really scary for my parents the last few months before treatment,” said Merrium. “I was AWOL. My parents didn’t know where I was. I’d come home covered in bruises. I just remember not being able to sit still.”
Merrium’s constant need to escape the way she felt was taking its toll on her. “I was waking up in the morning just thinking about when I was going to get my next fix,” said Merrium. “The bottom line for me was that I never felt okay unless I had a substance in me or someone was making me feel validated.” Eventually her parents sought help from professionals and got her into treatment. “My parents thought that if things continued they were never going to see me again.”
In January of 2017 Merrium transitioned to Turnbridge from a primary treatment center in Asheville, NC. “When I first got to Turnbridge I felt really grateful,” said Merrium. “I went back and forth. It was really hard for me. I had to learn how to let my guard down. Throughout my using I struggled with trusting women.”
“Through Phases I and II, I struggled with wanting to be perfect,” said Merrium. “I had this vision of how when I graduated they were going to say, ‘Oh, Merrium was perfect the whole time’ but I guess I realized closer to Phase III that it’s just healthier to learn to fall down on your face.” In Phase III, according to Merrium, this is where the work really began as she started to focus on the maladaptive ways of coping that emerged when substances were no longer available. “I struggled with boys, with eating, over-eating, under-eating, just body image in general,” said Merrium. “A significant moment for me was when I just started allowing myself to not be perfect. Phase III was definitely the most transformational for me because I met Danielle and Erin and they were just such strong figures of women to me. When I got to Phase III things got really real. That is why I think it’s such an important part of treatment and more treatment centers should have something like that.”
As her relationship with the members of her treatment team grew, Merrium began to realize how important those relationships were. “I didn’t need someone to yell and scream at me,” said Merrium. “I needed someone to look me in the eye and cry for me. It was important for me to have a safe place to cope and that's what Phase III was. To have people that didn’t judge me, that’s what was missing for me, somebody who didn’t look at me differently because of my thoughts or feelings or actions, but just met me where I was at. I will always be grateful for that.”
“I always tell the new women I meet to embrace the other women around them,” said Merrium. “The sense of community and being together all the time and growing with other people was just so important to me.”
After graduating from Turnbridge, Merrium re-located to Lexington, NC. “It was hard for me when I left,” said Merrium. “Everyone thinks that it's going to be so great when you leave treatment, but when I left I felt like I was mourning the loss of my community. When you leave no one is there to nudge you into your safe space anymore.” Despite the sadness of being away from her friends at Turnbridge, Merrium has embraced her new life and is making the most of it. “I go to school. I work full time. I have three nieces, so I am babysitting. I am blessed today to be family-oriented. I get to sit with my family and have dinner. Enjoying and appreciating those little things are what I gained out of my sobriety.”
Merrium has remained active in her recovery in her new environment. “I still mess up, and I still make unhealthy choices sometimes,” said Merrium. “The difference is I know how to recognize it. I know what it feels like to be happy and peaceful and I learned the skills needed to get back to that space. I am grateful for the program and everything it taught me. I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t been able to go to Turnbridge. I am a believer in treatment, and long-term treatment especially. I needed every minute that I was there.”
“I definitely really love Turnbridge and I always want it to be part of my life,” said Merrium.
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