“I will never be able to properly articulate the gratitude I feel for the people that have gotten us to this point, us being the operative word here. How lucky we were to have found Caron and then Turnbridge, two places that understand the need to first convince the family that they are all suffering and need help and then to offer that help.”
- A grateful mother
Rec & Lifestyle
From the Family
This past month, several clients in Phase III of the Turnbridge Women’s Program took a day trip to iFLY Indoor Sky Diving in Westchester County, NY.
iFLY simulates the free fall experience of sky diving in a vertical wind tunnel with wind speeds up to 150MPH. While many clients were nervous going in to this event, it ended up being a huge hit. “The instructor was knowledgeable and very helpful, which put everyone at ease,” said Brittany Trotta, Director of Recreation at
“This was the best rec event we have ever been on,” said one Phase III client.
“We cannot wait to go back again, having fun like that makes this process of recovery not as hard,” said another.
Erin Royer is the Turnbridge Unsung Hero for the month of October 2017.
Erin is a Phase III Case Manager in the Turnbridge Women’s Program. Erin’s passion for helping young women overcome substance use and mental health issues stems from her journey in recovery. Erin uses her personal experience as an asset in working with Turnbridge clients.
“Sobriety is and will continue to be my greatest accomplishment,” said Erin. “It was hard fought and I fell on my face repeatedly. My sobriety must come before anything or anyone else and it took me years to recognize that.
“I work for an organization that allows me the freedom of transparency,” said Erin. “I have the opportunity to use my own personal challenges and moments of defeat to empower young women through theirs. Witnessing women start to get their confidence back, their families back, their lives back, makes the days, even the long ones, worth it.”
“And just as each client has a team of people helping them, so do I,” said Erin “My colleagues are with me to uplift me, correct me, challenge me, and lighten the mood by laughing with me when I need it. They have my back.”
Patty F., the mother of Patrick, a recent Turnbridge graduate, recounts that her son grew up in Manhattan as the youngest of four siblings.
Patrick had a seemingly well-rounded childhood, maintaining involvement in activities such as theatre and sports, while performing well in school. However, Patrick suffered an unthinkable trauma when he lost his father suddenly on the first day of kindergarten.
As Patrick grew older and went on to high school, his pain began to manifest in behavioral issues, namely substance abuse. The substance abuse problem started to take off and Patrick stopped participating in extracurricular activities such as sports. After failing a drug test, Patty arranged for her son to start seeing a counselor.
“Therapy was a never ending cycle until he graduated high school,” said Patty. “Patrick went off to college, but came home shortly thereafter as the result of an Anxiety Disorder. Patrick was prescribed Xanax for his anxiety and returned to school, but returned home again 3 weeks into the semester. From there, he started going to community college and began to just spiral out of control.”
“Once we found out there was an issue Patrick came clean and wanted help pretty quickly,” said Patty. “I can’t say he made it easy. He left primary treatment against advice on day 4 and that was tough. After going through that, I was done. I asked the treatment center about after care and they recommended Turnbridge.”
“The coping skills Patrick has developed at Turnbridge were ones I always knew he was lacking,” said Patty.“Patrick has now graduated from the program and works in the kitchen at Turnbridge and at the Yale Bookstore. He is an active member of the recovery community. Patrick is learning to live in a completely different way. He is being raised in this community.”
“Things he can handle now would have put him in the fetal position for three days before,” said Patty. “At one point during Turnbridge, Patrick registered for a class at Gateway and when he showed up the class had been canceled. He just picked up a different class no problem.”
During her son’s treatment, Patty engaged in all of the family support services Turnbridge provides. “I went to all the education workshops,” said Patty. “Diana Clark was very helpful and informative. The concept of empowering families to set boundaries is great. The testimonies given by Turnbridge staff were hugely helpful to me in understanding this disease. It’s one thing to be taught what is going on, but then to hear the experience of another who has faced it themselves is tremendous. Everything has changed. I am a better parent, a better friend, and we have a better version of Patrick back.”
Skylar K., a current Phase 3 client in the Turnbridge Women’s Program, was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee.
Skylar was blessed with many natural talents. In high school, Skylar was the captain of her soccer team, played on the lacrosse team, and performed well academically. “I used school as an escape,” confessed Skylar. “I put so much effort into doing well so I could make sure I could do no wrong in other’s eyes.”
Skylar had her first experience with alcohol during her sophomore year of high school. “It quickly took control of my life,” said Skylar. “During my junior year I went to treatment for the first time and was able to stay sober for a few months after leaving there. It just kept going on and on and my grades were suffering. One of the things in my life that I took pride in was falling by the wayside.”
As her drinking continued to escalate, her performance in other areas began to suffer as well. “I showed up to one of my soccer games drunk once and was benched as the captain for the whole game,” said Skylar. “This is when I realized there was a problem. Alcohol was clearly making some of my decisions for me.”
“Half way through my senior year I was sent to Turnbridge and honestly, at first, I was terrified,” said Skylar. “I was 17 years old and it just felt like so much. But, when I met the other girls at the Prospect House, which is beautiful, I felt I was going to be taken care of. Everyone was welcoming. The staff are cool and I felt a little better.”
“The connections and friendships I have made at Turnbridge are so different from the ones I made earlier in my lifetime,” said Skylar. “The bond is so real, deep, and filled with raw emotion. It is unlike anything else. My case managers walked me through very hard situations, you can tell they are there for me. They hold me accountable, care about how I am doing and what I am doing about it.”
“At first, when I put down the drink my life got worse,” said Skylar. “I struggled with certain things with my mental health. I had to ask for help and the staff and the girls all rallied around me. I developed new ways of coping and learned to deal with unhealthy thoughts, impulses, anything that gets put in front of me.”
“My relationship with my family coming into this program had no trust,” said Skylar. “They didn’t know what to do with me. They were full of fear and clearly hoped that Turnbridge could do something. For the first few months, nothing changed and I would get in fights with them. But after a while I realized that wasn’t the way to go about it and after one humbling experience after another, and help from therapists, who are all awesome, the relationship with my family has improved immensely.”
Skylar is now finishing high school while here at Turnbridge in addition to holding a volunteer position at Benchmark Senior living. “I go there a few hours a week and serve ice cream to the residents there and I love it,” said Skylar.
“For a long time I held fear in,” said Skylar.“Eventually I was honest about it, which made this whole process a lot easier. My family and everyone else has been so helpful during this journey and it’s all due to my time here working on myself.”
“In my early professional years, I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his/her own personal growth?”
__ Carl Rogers
I want to talk a little about a guy named Carl Rogers. You may have heard of him... I certainly wouldn’t have minded being his client.
Carl Rogers believed that all people possess an inherent need to grow and achieve their potential. This need to grow or to “self-actualize” he believed, was one of the primary motives driving our behaviors; that our need to continually develop self was what was really propelling us forward.
He theorized that the formation of a healthy self-concept was an ongoing process shaped by the collection of person’s life experiences. This process is an ongoing one, beginning in early childhood and is heavily influenced by an individual’s relationships and environment. Children who experience unconditional love and regard are more likely to foster a healthy self-concept. Whereas children who feel they have to “earn” love may end up with low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness.
Rogers also suggested that people tend to have a concept of their “ideal self.” The problem is that our image of who we think we should be does not always match up with our perceptions of who we are today. When our self-image does not line up with our ideal self, we are in a state of incongruence. I believe, in this state of disharmony with self we are more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, shame, substance abuse etc... We are less able to take the risks needed for growth if we stay stuck in the state alone without love, compassion and support.
We know people with a more stable sense of self tend to have greater confidence and cope more effectively with life’s challenges. How, as therapists can we help provide our clients with an environment where this is more feasible to them? For psychotherapy to be successful, Rogers, believed, it was imperative that the therapist be able to provide an unconditional positive regard for the client. An offering of support and lack of judgment, no matter what the client feels, does, or experiences. The therapist must accept the client just as they are and allow for them to express both positive and negative feelings without judgement.
When you produce a thought of compassion, of loving kindness, of understanding, that is peace. When you do this, you create a space to lessen suffering. You create a space where an individual may feel safe enough to take a risk and to be open to learning from the experiences around them -- as opposed to being closed off or too highly defended. It is through this relationship we are able to help build their confidence to test their character for continued growth toward further self-actualization. This is how we partner with them on their journey. This is how we begin to help provide them with what may have been missing to help them combat life’s difficulties more effectively with more resilience and harmony.
Carl Rogers was one of many I studied in grad school. Because of his theories and his work, therapists like myself did not have to spend years trying to cure their “broken” clients. We could join with our clients; to create and help foster a place where growth could develop from a place; from a relationship of love, compassion, and understanding.
Turnbridge Alumni, Justin F. grew up in northern Virginia, right outside of Washington D.C.
Justin was adopted by two loving parents and grew up an only child in an idyllic neighborhood.
Justin’s difficulties with substance use began when he switched from a public high school to a private school. “It was actually worse there,” said Justin. “The kids had more money and were into harder drugs and could obtain them more easily.”
Justin’s first experience with alcohol came at a social gathering with his baseball time. “I didn’t have white light moment the first time I used alcohol or marijuana like a hear many people say,” said Justin. “At first, I wasn’t really a huge fan of it and could stop easily.”
But eventually this would change for Justin. “It started to get bad during the summer of my senior year,” said Justin. “And then I turned 18 years old, headed off to college, and just started partying as much as I could. My drinking progressed from there. I would drink every night at college, which eventually caused me not to go to class or do homework. I started drinking before work too, sometimes at 9:00am in the morning.”
“July of that year I got caught driving drunk with a blood alcohol content of 4 times the legal limit,” said Justin. “I was sentenced to complete a rehab stay in Jacksonville, Florida. I completed treatment and moved up to a sober house outside of D.C. I stopped going to meetings, then drank again. It was every night again, and then every day. Before work, after work, it became very sloppy and I got kicked out of the sober house.”
“I moved home and a week after that I drank so much I went into a coma,” said Justin. “I woke up in the hospital and told my parents to take me to treatment.” Justin’s parents found Turnbridge and he was enrolled shortly thereafter.
“Turnbridge was not easy, but I got through it and graduated,” said Justin. “Now, over a year later, I’m a Support Staff member at Turnbridge, all my friends are in recovery, I go to the gym regularly, I’m a member of the local recovery community, and I’m taking classes.
“Turnbridge helped me learn how to be content,” Justin finished.
19 MONTHS Lauren K.
15 Months Ashley W.
13 MONTHS Lindsay L.
11 MONTHS Davis R.
10 MONTHS Gregory M.
9 MONTHS Valerie R.
8 MONTHS Ian D.
7 MONTHS Michael P.
6 MONTHS Richard H.