Ron P. is the father of Mens Phase 3 client Jonathan P.
Ron is a lawyer, lives in West Hartford and has four children. Of Jonathan, Ron said “He’s very likeable. He did well in school and was captain of the swim team.” In Jonathan’s senior year of high school, he was focused on his future and looking into colleges.
As he was planning for his bright future, tragedy struck during the second semester of his senior year. Jonathan’s mother passed away after battling cancer. “His mother was his greatest motivating factor. Losing his anchor was very difficult,” explains Ron. This loss would be the catalyst for their family’s journey through substance abuse and mental health challenges.
“In high school, he lost motivation and he wasn’t handing in his work. I later found out he started drinking and smoking a little bit,” said Ron. “He was apathetic with me. He was not communicative at meals with my younger daughter and me. He had his headphones on and his head in his phone”. Jonathan began attending Trinity College and Ron saw distinct changes in Jonathan’s behavior. “He missed a couple classes, he missed a couple tutoring appointments and he missed a couple therapy appointments. Pretty quickly I could see there was something wrong. I found out from his counselor [at school] that he was using cocaine and [having thoughts of suicide].”
This news was devastating for Ron. “It was hard and unexpected because of the way we treat alcohol and drugs in our family. I myself did not do any drugs in college. My wife and I didn’t drink, I only had a couple drinks a year. We didn’t have alcohol in our house, even on holidays.” For Ron personally, the loss of his wife had made him feel ill equipped for this challenge, explaining that she’d been the one with experience in the mental health field. “She was a nurse practitioner at Trinity College where she saw substance abuse, binge drinking and psychiatric issues every day.” For Ron, this was his first intimate encounter with addiction. “I had no real experience in my family or my community I didn’t know anyone who’d gone through these things.”
Ron offered his son a chance to go to treatment, which Jonathan reluctantly agreed to. “He went to [a detox program], his problem being cocaine abuse and alcohol over consumption,” said Ron. Upon suggestion from a therapist, Ron made the decision to bring Jonathan to Turnbridge.
“He went to Turnbridge and at first he was really happy in Phase 1. He was sober and he was making friends quickly.” Soon after, Jonathan was calling Ron asking to come home. “He fought me on it. He said he was ready; said he didn’t need to be there. It was really painful when he said ‘Dad, you know I’m going to drink again’. But he stuck it out and made it to Phase 2.” While in Phase 2, Jonathan began taking classes at Trinity College and commuting from Turnbridge.
After some time, Ron recognized some familiar signs and became worried for his son’s well being. “Quickly, Jonathan felt overwhelmed again. He felt the old triggers. He stayed clean and sober, but he had made a plan to [take his own life].”
This moment proved to be pivotal to Jonathan’s recovery. “He spent a few days at Yale Psychiatric and Turnbridge was phenomenal. They were involved, they were going to meet with psychiatrists. They were really on top of things. That was the turning point.”
Ron found the staff at Turnbridge to be essential in helping Jonathan in his recovery. “His therapist first struggled to get Jonathan to open up about his mother. She eventually did. Jonathan Lowe, his APRN, was very knowledgeable about my son’s issues and was very on top of things. His case managers in all phases would always check in with me,” explains Ron. “Its not easy to pinpoint one person at Turnbridge because it’s a team approach and it works really well.” Ron remembers his feelings of visiting the clinical building on Orange Street. “You just get to feel a vibe it’s a very positive vibe. There’s a hum or a buzz that feels energetic and it really turns me on to know that my son is being cared for by people like this.”
Jonathan has now been in Phase 3 for five months and is looking forward to graduating. “He now has a job at a Chinese restaurant. He likes the people and they like him. He has a car and is taking classes at Gateway. He is now looking at apartments and considering moving to Thrive. I think he’s grown a lot emotionally. He’s made connections he’s very social. He’s been one of the younger [clients] and his peers have seemed to take him on as a younger brother which is really cool.”
Ron said since being at Turnbridge, his and Jonathan’s relationship has grown “...unquestionably.” He notes that Jonathan’s journey has led him to his own learning experience. “Emotionally I’m working on that as well. I’ve gone to maybe six Family Healing Workshops and one Family Education Weekend. I only wish I could have taken more advantage of the family programs. I learned a lot, especially from other families.”
“My only hope now is that Jonathan can take the lessons he’s learned at Turnbridge and continue to reincorporate his family in his life and understand what sobriety means.”