“All the staff and their personal recovery stories help me to have great hope for my son’s future. I know my son feels safe there, and has remarked that he’s learning things he didn’t know before. Something is finally resonating with him. I know the structure of Turnbridge’s program is to be credited to very large measure.”
Recovery in Motion
From the Family
As part of the Recovery in Motion curriculum at Turnbridge, Young Womens Program clients recently took a kayaking trip on the Quinnipiac River. This activity was designed to promote team building and communication, while being physically and mentally challenging.
Turnbridge Wellness Coordinator for the young womens program, Brooke Hadfield, stated this Recovery in Motion activity was a huge success! The clients loved being out on the water and there was such a beautiful, happy, uplifting, and positive vibe during and after the activity.
The theme of the day was freedom on the water and it was amazing for my heart and soul, said Stefanie, a Turnbridge client. Stefanie even led a portion of the activity to help challenge herself and her peers.
Another client who was volunteered by her peers to take the lead on part of the kayaking adventure was hesitant at first but then decided to accept the opportunity, rising to the challenge, said Brooke. She came alive in her leadership role and did a fantastic job, giving everyone a strong physical workout and keeping the whole team safe.
Kayaking, and Turnbridges other Recovery in Motion activities, are a wonderful way to take advantage of the beautiful weather, while practicing responsible social distancing.
Turnbridge Young Men’s Program clients recently took part in a 10-mile bike ride on the Farmington Canal State Park Trail in Cheshire, CT. This activity was led by Turnbridge Wellness Coordinator, Kyle Digennaro, and was designed to promote physical and mental well-being. “Our clients worked so hard and were engaged with each other for the full 2 hours, talking about recovery, relationships, mental health, and cleaning their side of the street,” remarked Kyle.
“These Recovery in Motion activities put focus on the mind-body connection and promote an all-around healthy lifestyle in recovery,” said Kyle. “They not only help our clients to feel personally accomplished, but are integral in helping clients build meaningful relationships with each other. On the bike trip, the guys worked hard to motivate each other during uphill rides, and along the way shared some of their struggles and goals in recovery.”
“We want to keep the body and mind active, especially during a time where it’s so easy to be stagnant,” Kyle added.
Greg B. is a member of the Turnbridge Facilities Maintenance department and has been with the company for about a year. My sister told me there was a good opportunity at Turnbridge, recalled Greg. I worked in construction my whole life and was looking for something more stable, working with other people in recovery. Greg has quickly become a vital member of the maintenance team as he moves through the houses daily, cleaning and making sure the homes are disinfected. When asked what he enjoys most about working at Turnbridge Greg replied, The people. Everyone is laid-back. Its like a family and a pleasure to work with everyone.
I feel privileged to be nominated, said Greg. It makes me happy that Im being noticed for my work, especially in maintenance, which is not always recognized.
Turnbridge would like to give a special thanks to our Maintenance staff during this time who are working overtime to ensure the safety and health of our staff and residents.
Alex grew up in a supportive home and had what he described as a good childhood.
Around the age of 16, Alex began hanging around with a crowd that was experimenting with substances. “I was still able to maintain decent grades even while I was actively using,” said Alex. Alex went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, despite his escalating substance abuse. But, as time progressed, his need for substances grew and eventually led to criminal activity. He struggled to hold down a job for a meaningful amount of time. Eventually, he found himself couch surfing.
“I ended up in a [psychiatric hospital] due to poor decisions while on drugs,” said Alex. “I was given the option of Turnbridge and realized I had nothing else to lose.” Alex’s family held firm that they would support one option: treatment. Alex decided to accept this opportunity.
Alex recalled when he first arrived at Turnbridge, he was simply going through the motions and doing the bare minimum to get through the Phases. “I was at Turnbridge longer than most because I just didn’t want to do the work”, said Alex. However, shortly after Alex transitioned to Phase III he was regressed back into Phase II for behavioral reasons and this proved to be turning point for him. “I just decided this wasn’t a way to live and started really doing the work. I wanted to get back to Phase III and be able to live independently.”
Alex started engaging more meaningfully in his recovery; he started working the twelve steps, participating in family therapy, and in turn mending relationships. “Shout out to Julia [Turnbridge Family Therapist],” said Alex. “She was awesome and did a lot for us. My relationship with my family went from nonexistent to amazing.”
Alex credits many Turnbridge staff members who supported his journey of recovery along the way. “Chas [Case Manager], Sean [Case Manager], and Joanne [Assoc. Clinical Director] did a lot for me and Ashley [Dietition] helped me a lot with leading a healthier lifestyle.”
Alex graduated from the Turnbridge Young Men’s Program in February 2020 and is continuing to use the tools he learned while at Turnbridge. “I have a sponsor and home group now,” marveled Alex. “And I’m able to still keep my commitments even during these uncertain times.” After completing the Turnbridge program, Alex decided to remain in the New Haven community he had grown to love. He resides in a house with a group of friends who are also alumni of Turnbridge. Alex recently joined the Turnbridge team as a Support Staff member. “I’d like to see where this job at Turnbridge takes me,” said Alex. “I’m just taking it one day at a time.”
Gale G. is the mother of Halley, a client of the Turnbridge Young Women’s Program.
Gale recalled that Halley showed a great deal of determination and natural talent from a young age. She was an exceptional student and a competitive dancer, even starting her own dance company as a young girl. “She never smoked, never drank. Seemingly, there weren’t any red flags that we noticed in real time,” said Gale.
In college, Halley was a thriving student. She was chosen for an elite study abroad program, which was offered to only 30 students worldwide. At the end of the program, her teacher asked her to pick her own grade. “Halley was uncomfortable with that,” said Gale. “She gave herself a lower grade because she didn’t feel right giving herself an A.” This is one of many examples Gale offered that speak to Halley’s humility and character.
After college, Halley wanted to travel. She moved out to L.A. and that is where things started to deteriorate. “Halley stayed in L.A. for about two months, then came home and that’s when we noticed things were not well with her,” said Gale. “She tried some self-help modalities, but still didn’t define her struggles as mental illness.” Halley had a hard time recognizing her difficulties for what they were, and continued to try and tackle her issues without the necessary support.
One day, Halley called her parents in hysterics and that’s when they knew things had become dire. “We reached out to a psychiatrist and therapist to start medication for her depression,” said Gale. “Then Halley called us one day and stated she was looking for bridges. We started searching for local treatment centers that day.”
Halley went to a couple of different treatment centers and hospitals, but they just couldn’t find a good fit. “They all felt like institutions that weren’t giving her the level of care that she needed, and didn’t provide the comfort and care that we all needed in that time,” said Gale. “We really wanted her to go to someplace with kids her age and similar experiences.”
That’s when Gale and Nyles reach out to an old friend, Lauren Springer, Turnbridge’s Director of Family Relations. “We reached out to Lauren initially for support here and there, but then we started seriously looking into Turnbridge as an option,” said Gale. Lauren put Gale and Nyles in contact with the Turnbridge Admissions team to begin the process and Halley admitted after completing a stay at another facility for stabilization.
Halley struggled in the beginning and wanted to go home after a couple weeks. “We knew this was the place for her,” said Gale. “And with the guidance of the team we were able to set a boundary, which ultimately led to Halley’s decision to stay and her success.”
Halley is now in Phase 3 and truly happy to be at Turnbridge. Halley had shared with Gale recently, “I’m so happy I’m here with people my own age and in recovery.” Recently, Halley has been sharing her love and knowledge of dance with her peers at Turnbridge by creating motivational dance videos with the other girls in Phases 1 and 2. “We’ve seen so much growth in Halley,” said Gale. “For all of us, the future starts now. We are so happy that we found Turnbridge”.
Kelly had been in active addiction for many years, during which she found herself in and out of many treatment centers.
“I couldn’t function or get a handle on my life,” Kelly recalled. “I would get a short time of sobriety and then go back to what I knew.”
Kelly’s Aunt, who participates in a Turnbridge Community Parent Support Group in her area, made the suggestion to Kelly that she explore Turnbridge as an option. “When [Turnbridge] explained the program to me, I liked that they took the time to slowly integrate you back into the world.” Kelly knew this was her last chance and Turnbridge seemed like the best option.
Kelly came in to Turnbridge with the mindset that this was her last chance. “My turning point was in Phase 2 when I started realizing there was so much support and guidance for me,” said Kelly. “When I first started interviewing for jobs in Phase 2, I wasn’t getting hired. It was discouraging. I had such a large gap in my resume, but I had my supports to help me to keep going, keep trying.” Kelly kept at it, practicing her coping skills and leaning on her support system at Turnbridge. When she transitioned to Phase 3, she found success. “I eventually got a job,” said Kelly. “In fact, I had two job offers in one day! That feeling of gratification and accomplishment, knowing I was important enough to hire was amazing.”
As Kelly progressed through the Phases and started making progress toward independence, her relationship with her family slowly began to heal. Kelly acknowledged the damage she did over the years she was actively using. After multiple treatment centers, multiple overdoses, and all the heartbreak that surrounds addiction, her family was discouraged. “I had been in treatment so many times before and failed, they had really lost hope,” said Kelly. ”I take my recovery from my addiction and mental health seriously now, constantly working toward my recovery, utilizing my sponsor, therapist, support, and the people in my life have seen these drastic changes. I am respecting their process. I’m not forcing anything. Working with Julia in family therapy has helped. We’re not perfect, but we’re working at it.”
When Kelly spoke of her future, she kept it simple. “My main goal is to live independently, and I know I have the tools and the support network to do this now.”
24 MONTHS Emma S.
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