“WELL... Derek has been at Turnbridge since August 18, 2017 - 9 months, 5 days and 1 hour! But who's counting...
I am actually working on not counting!! He is leaving/graduating the program next Friday! Derek came to Turnbridge broken, but since that day I left him in Gordon's hands he has never looked back. He is now healthy, happy, and strong - unbelievable! I don't know what the future will bring to Derek, but I do know he has been given the opportunity and the tools to succeed as well.”
Rec & Lifestyle
From the Family
This past month, Phase I & II Women’s Program Director, Audrey Bell, and Phase I Case Manager, Jaime Pietrosimone, took Turnbridge clients to a Post Malone concert at the Xfinity Center in Massachusetts.
These events are really beneficial to the clients because it shows them you can still go out and have a good time without using drugs and alcohol. “The Post Malone concert was one of those moments where I’m having such a great time and I’m in awe that I really can have this much fun sober,” said Isabel, a client who was in attendance.
“Music is such a powerful tool for me,” said Jaime. “It has such a great ability to connect people and create memories. There was a moment during the concert where I looked up at the stars, then at the women I was with, and realized how truly grateful I was to share this amazing experience with other sober women.”
Jazmine Gulliksen is the Unsung Hero for the month of June 2018. Jazmine is primarily a Phase III Support Staff member, but has worked in many areas of the women’s program.
“My own struggle with mental health and watching my father and step father lose their battles with addiction was really what attracted me to working at Turnbridge,” said Jazmine. “I wanted so desperately to be a part of the solution. I began educating myself, going to school, learning about Al-anon and CODA, exploring yoga/meditation, this helped me surrender in my own way because I needed to heal in hopes of being able to help others heal.”
Jazmine has a unique ability to make the clients feel at ease with her and is always willing to go the extra mile. “When I started working for Turnbridge about 20 months ago I was overwhelmed with the sense of family and community that I had been welcomed into. I work with some of the most resilient and genuine people I’ve ever met who I learn from daily, and for that I am extremely grateful.”
“My favorite part of working for Turnbridge is watching the clients transformation and how well the team understands addiction is indeed a family disease,” said Jazmine. “Clients come in with a whole team of people fighting for them and gradually they begin to fight for themselves and become passionate and excited about life again and their recovery, while their families are able to become educated and find their own peace as well.”
Elizabeth and Jim’s Daughter, Grace, came to Turnbridge in October 2017 after struggling to deal with her anxiety in a healthy way.
Her father recalled that before coming to Turnbridge, Grace was going through this repetitive cycle of “getting to a certain point in her life routine, then she would crash and burn, and then have to go and reset. It was really going nowhere. Both Beth and I felt that we were really not helping Grace and that she really needed to get out on her own somehow.” Their son, Chris, works in the Men’s Program at Turnbridge and they frequently sought out his expertise. “From what I have learned recently, I was dumping my problems on Chris,” said Jim. “But I am glad that I did.”
After several discussions with Chris and others, Grace’s family decided to offer her the opportunity to attend the Turnbridge Women’s Program. “At first, she thought she was being offered a job there. That’s how far removed Grace felt from having an addiction issue.” Since Grace was prescribed the medications she was abusing, she didn’t think of herself as having a substance abuse problem. Elizabeth recalls that Grace was not initially on board with the idea that she needed to change. “Initially she rejected the idea, flat out. She eventually agreed to accept the help about a month later and decided to move forward with Turnbridge.”
Elizabeth recalls that Grace really struggled in the beginning. “It was like she was in a burning building, so anxious. Her body had been on these medications for so long that she was just crawling out of her skin and very, very, very uncomfortable. She just wanted to get out of there.” This is where Jim and Elizabeth started their own journey into understanding the nature of what Grace was facing and how they also have to grow in order to help her. “This is something that you guys [at Turnbridge] do a really beautiful job with, helping parents understand we are participating in the problem. What we were doing is we were rescuing Grace every time she felt uncomfortable and we were fixing it.”
Jim shared that he was very happy with the attention to detail and time that Case Managers put in to assure them, as parents, that Turnbridge was doing all they could for their daughter. “Michael was really firm with us in that, ‘you have to trust us, you have to let us do it, we know what we are doing.”
“To our credit, with all that information, we were willing to take a step back and let you guys do what you do,” said Elizabeth. Jim jumped in, “What you help us do is understand the problem, and where we are part of the problem, and that’s a fact.” Elizabeth agreed, and added, “The better she gets, the clearer that becomes. She now uses her support system at Turnbridge rather than turning to us.”
Jim and Elizabeth Nagle were pleasantly surprised at Turnbridge’s ability to individualize care for their daughter. “One thing I was very impressed with at Turnbridge is some of things that have been done with Grace that have been outside of the box, like the cognitive testing,” said Elizabeth. “They also have her doing neurofeedback, which is really helping her with her anxiety. They also did genetic testing to see which medications for anxiety could actually help her. Those three things have really given us and Grace a lot of support.”
In reflecting about her experience with Turnbridge, Elizabeth said, “I know we have to go through all of this to come out on the other side, where we can have a normal relationship with Grace, a relationship that isn’t always about us trying to solve a problem for Grace. I have started to feel, and I am seeing, a person coming alive. I am starting to feel some relief. I am less waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
“The great thing about Turnbridge is that it grew organically,” said Elizabeth. “It grew because everyone needed each other.” The Nagles recalled that at one of the workshops Dave Vieau, the founder of Turnbridge, said, “you'll know when your son or daughter is doing better when their vocabulary changes from ‘me’ to ‘you’.” Said Jim, “I didn’t really understand it when he said it, but I watched it happen with Grace. That, to me, is what you guys do. You sit and wait it out with these women and that is incredible. You guys are putting the train back on the tracks and really showing women how to live.”
Brooke M. is from Jupiter, Florida and is a current Phase III client in the Women’s Program at Turnbridge.
Brooke came to Turnbridge following wilderness therapy at Evoke therapy programs. Brooke is 18 years old and before seeking treatment was struggling to maintain a relationship with her mother. Brooke had been caught with substances, was defiant, and eventually ended up in a car wreck while under the influence of marijuana. Brooke explains her relationship toward the end of her active use, with her mother, as, “I just didn’t care anymore and there was nothing she could do about it.” Brooke describes that “in 2015 my dad passed away. He took his own life and that’s when things got out of control. It was just me, my mom, and my brother. I just pushed it all down.”
The emotional toll of losing her father presented through lack of sleep and using substances to repress emotions. “I didn’t sleep for like four months,” said Brooke. “I was just using, drinking every day, smoking every day, either just alone or with people. I never dealt with it really. I was tired of talking about it with people I just had a lot of anger, even though I am not an angry person.” Brooke had a hard time with emotions surrounding her father’s death. “I felt unworthy. Like, why would he take his own life if I was here? I was really down on myself and a sad, lazy, angry mess.” When this all came to a head she went to wilderness and, soon after, Turnbridge.
Brooke explains that Turnbridge has really helped her, “It’s completely changed who I am, my morals, and who I am as a person. I have respect for myself. Back home, I didn’t know how to live. Here, I can be on my own without my mom doing everything for me. I am a much better communicator. I used to be terrible at asking for help. Now, I am able to ask for help and talk through things. The biggest difference is that I don’t push things down anymore. I deal with everything.”
Brooke’s relationships with others have vastly improved as well. “If someone isn’t treating me right and wants to bring me down then I am going to step up for myself,” said Brooke. “I want a good life and I want to be happy. I am able to put myself first, but know the significance of helping other people. I am not letting anything get in my way.”
Brooke talks about the people at Turnbridge that have had an impact on her and helped guide her to where she is now. “My therapist, Lila, knows me better than I know myself,” said Brooke. “My Case Manager, Erin, has helped me so much and we’re just so similar. She totally gets me. I love Erin so much. Of course my close friends here, I couldn’t have done it without these girls.” Brooke has made profound personal changes in her journey and allows people into her life today. “I wouldn’t open myself up to anyone, not my mother, not a therapist back home. That all started here [at Turnbridge]. I can actually trust people. People actually want to help me.”
Brooke says, in closing, that her relationship with her mother has improved immensely. “I am just grateful I have a great mother. She’s a single mother and we’re so close. She’s just a strong, great role model and a great woman”
Ian was born in Chicago to an Irish Catholic family. Ian grew up around alcohol and in a culture of heavy drinking.
Ian began having troubles with alcohol early in life, getting his first DUI at the age of 19. He described a lack of stability in his early adulthood, moving from job to job and never staying with one thing for very long. “When I lost my job in construction after my second DUI, I went back to working in bars,” recalled Ian. “That’s really when my drinking took off.”
“I woke up in the hospital several times in Chicago because I am a type 1 diabetic,” said Ian. “Drinking and diabetes do not mix well.” Ian’s father lives in Connecticut and offered to have him come stay with him and fix up his house. In return, Ian father would help him pay off his DUI fines. After being in Connecticut for just three months Ian was drinking everyday.
“I started drinking, morning, afternoon, and night,” said Ian. “One day, I woke up in the hospital and that's when he said ‘look you have a problem’.” This was the precipitating event that lead to Ian’s path to recovery. “I always knew I had a problem, I just didn’t want to deal with it. It was always just easier to go back to the bottle.”
After arriving at Turnbridge, like many new clients entering treatment, Ian did not want to be here. “I would say, ‘look I learned my lesson. I have detoxed. I can go back to a normal life.’ I was really angry in Phase I.” However, after some time in Phase I, Ian found that the people he was able to have one-on-one time with really influenced him. “From my Case Manager, Chris Nagle, to the shift manager, Graham Forster, the staff was really just amazing.” Ian recalls that in his 6th week he had a major turning point. “That's when I surrendered. I asked my Case Manager, Chris, what I had to do to get to Phase II. I just wanted to be part of society. I was sick of moping around.”
Once he got to Phase II, Ian expressed a desire to volunteer with the Turnbridge facilities maintenance team. “Tim R., my co-worker, was a huge influence on me. He was a confidant and I could talk to him about anything I needed to. There is really no one at Turnbridge that I met that didn’t help me in one form or another.”
Ian explains that the recreation events were pivotal in helping him see that sobriety could be fun. “The fishing trips were really amazing and I really enjoyed them,” said Ian. “I love fishing. I loved going out into the Long Island Sound with a few guys and catching a few fish.”
Ian’s emotional journey through Turnbridge taught him a lot about himself. “I was a people-pleaser. I put up this facade of always doing what people wanted me to do. Being sober showed me I was more introverted. I don’t mind people, but I need my own space and my own time and that was something that Turnbridge taught me.”
Today, Ian works as a member of the Turnbridge Facilities Maintenance department. “Where I am at now, my life couldn’t be better,” said Ian. “I have my own apartment downtown. I have a good job with health insurance, which has been something I worried about for years because of my diabetes. I am going to two weddings in Chicago in July. This is the first time in 5 or 6 years that I am happy again. I have my complaints, but I am good with where I am at. It’s crazy. For me [Turnbridge] has been life changing. It’s given me a second chance. It’s given me my life back. That's all I can really say.”
16 MONTHS Brooke M.
15 MONTHS John C.
14 MONTHS Jake E.
13 MONTHS Madeline S.
12 MONTHS Tyler R.
7 MONTHS Reese B.