Stephanie M. was born in Long Island, New York to a very loving and supportive family.
She grew up dancing and excelling in school. She describes herself as a curious person, a trait that lends itself to being intelligent and intuitive.
Stephanie started smoking marijuana in high school, but remained an excellent student and kept up with her grades and obligations. She also maintained a great relationship with her family through her high school years. Outwardly, her life appeared to be in great order. But, the seed was planted and when Stephanie went off to college her curious nature led her to further experimentation. Substances quickly became more significant in Stephanie’s life. “I never thought I would have the gene to become addicted,” said Stephanie. “I always thought I would outsmart it.”
She began using stimulants and opiates in college, but she held onto the idea that as long as she maintained her grades in school she felt she could continue using. “I was always being more productive than the people around me who were doing what I was doing,” said Stephanie “‘So, I am fine. I’m okay,’ I would tell myself.” After Stephanie graduated she told herself that she would stop, that it was time, but as she stated “the addiction had already started and it was stronger than I was, and I couldn’t outsmart it.”
She was working for an engineering firm and it was a great job, but the addiction had taken hold and the expense of prescription opiates was just too high, which eventually led Stephanie to turn to the more affordable street option, heroin. Her relationship with her family began to deteriorate and she found herself becoming a person she no longer recognized. “They knew something was really wrong with me, and I was just lying and manipulating which was never something I would do with them,” said Stephanie. “It goes to show how much my addiction just changed me completely.”
On July 23, 2017 Stephanie’s parents had an intervention, and Stephanie jumped at the chance to get help. She had been trying to stop for most of 2017, “I was just really afraid of the physical pain I would go through so I wasn’t able to,” said Stephanie. This brought her to detox, and eventually Turnbridge.
“From the second I got here, I thought ‘I can do this’,” said Stephanie. “I got passed the physical aspect of the withdrawals, which is what I was most afraid of, so now I have no excuse.” These were Stephanie’s first thoughts when she arrived to the Turnbridge Women’s Phase I Residence for the first time. She wanted nothing more than to live up to her potential. Stephanie began creating relationships with the staff at Turnbridge and started to “want what they had”. She also started to build connections with other clients, many of whom she now considers family. At the 90-day mark, Stephanie admits that she started to get restless and wanted to leave Turnbridge, but “I had an epiphany that saved me,” said Stephanie. “I didn’t want to do this again. I wanted to try my hardest the first time.”
Soon Stephanie phased up to Phase III of the program and began to really see a shift in her recovery. Her bond with her therapist at Turnbridge, Lexi Holmes, got stronger and she feels that Lexi played a pivotal part in her self-awareness. “She helped me see how many things I just always rationalized in my head,” said Stephanie. “I don’t know where I’d be without her.”
The transition into Phase III also meant a new case manager, Erin Royer. “Erin is just someone I trust and is very similar to me,” said Stephanie. “I just don’t know where I would be without their support, and their love, their genuine love.” Stephanie continues to build her sober network and dive further into her recovery. She recently secured a job at a local mortgage firm. “I just didn’t have any coping mechanisms,” said Stephanie. “Drugs were my only coping mechanism and now I just have so many other ones. It’s a really good feeling.” Stephanie has nine months of continuous sobriety now and is much more her authentic self. “Turnbridge is really ahead of its time in terms of recovery and how they go about it, and its working,” said Stephanie. “I am the best version of myself that I feel like I have ever been.”