“Thank you for putting together this [Family Education] Weekend for our support. My husband and I have started with our daily Thought for the day from the books that you so generously gave us, Courage to Change and Tending Dandelions (which made me cry) and also our meditation, which by the way, the walking meditation with Tom Marzilli, was one of the most meaningful moments for me. It brought out intense emotions and insights that surprised me, to say the least. It made me realize how beneficial a daily practice is needed. The entire program was so beneficial, it was informative, supportive, and comforting. Everyone there was kind, caring, respectful, and some very funny, which is always wonderful. I am so grateful to all of you.”
- A grateful mother
Rec & Lifestyle
From the Family
This past month, Turnbridge clients attended the first annual Recovery Fest in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. This event was hosted by Above the Noise Foundation, a non-profit organization that organizes sober music festivals to provides grassroots funding to U.S. cities that have been particularly affected by addiction. This year’s festival featured musical performances by Macklemore, Fitz & the Tantrums, as well as multiple speakers, meetings, and a job fair.
“Being in a stadium full of other people in recovery was truly a spiritual experience,” said Hope Asher, a Turnbridge support staff member. “It was so inspiring to watch clients learn that they can have fun without drugs and alcohol.”
“I have been to a lot of places and done a lot of things, but that was the most fun I have ever had sober,” said Sophie, a client in the Turnbridge Women’s Program. “I liked hearing the different speakers come up about how they got through addiction, and sharing their stories. I liked how it was mixed in with a concert so you got have fun while learning about recovery.”
“For somebody like me who has been traveling the festival circuit for years and have never been to one sober, to be surrounded by so many people sober and still have fun was inspiring,” said Leeza, another Turnbridge client. “It really helped me see that I could have so much fun sober and not have to use to feel something.”
Katherine Moses is Turnbridge’s Unsung Hero for the month of October 2018.
Katherine Moses is a support staff member in Phases 1 and 2 of the Turnbridge Women’s Program. As a Turnbridge alumni herself, Katherine brings valuable personal experience into her work with clients on a daily basis. She is always willing to take time out of her day to reach out to the women whose shoes she was once in. “I have always been interested in helping people be the best versions of themselves, since back when I was in nursing,” said Katherine. “I try to allow that compassion to show through to our clients at Turnbridge.
“I really enjoy taking the girls to recreational activities or meetings, or even just bonding one-on-one in the house,” said Katherine. “The friendships that I made at Turnbridge when I was a client are unlike any other friendship I have had with other women and I hope to help the girls cultivate the same.”
Caren K. is the mother of Evan K., a recent graduate of the Turnbridge Men’s Program.
Caren K. is the mother of Evan K., a recent graduate of the Turnbridge Men’s Program.
Prior to Evan’s enrollment at Turnridge, Caren had known for quite some time that Evan was struggling with opiate use, but did not realize the extent of the problem. “Evan went to a couple outpatient programs and really tried his best, but it just never really did the trick,” said Caren. “At his last outpatient program, because he kept having slips, they discussed residential to help him succeed.”
“They suggested Turnbridge, which was a long-term program and at first it sounded so long, but over the years, you know, going through these programs you learn there’s no quick fix,” said Caren. “We’ve learned it can take 12-15 months to help the brain get healthy and re-wired correctly.” After some initial reservations, Caren decided they would go ahead with Turnbridge. “We spoke with Evan and he wasn’t wild about it being longer term. I think Evan had enough of this cycle of addiction, really had enough, and wanted to have a better life. We called Gordon and he was incredible. He handled the situation so calmly, he was patient and kind, and he really helped us facilitate getting Evan there.”
“When we got there, Gordon was there in the parking lot and he and Evan immediately started talking and in my heart I felt like ‘thank you God’, said Caren. “It was a feeling of ‘This could be a really good place to get healthy.’ It was just a very warm and friendly atmosphere upon arrival.”
Once Evan arrived at Turnbridge, the real work began. “It took time because Evan was always a very private person,” said Caren. “He really didn’t share a lot, but on the inside I just knew there was so much turmoil going on, and it was difficult for him to express and share this. Every time we would go up and visit, little by little, we saw him become more receptive and slowly we got to a better place. We noticed that Evan looked better and better. By the end, there was such a difference in how he presented himself.”
As is true with all families who have been effected by the disease of addiction, Caren and Evan had some obstacles to overcome. “What was hard for me was that I felt Evan never really opened up to me,” said Caren. “I couldn’t get close to Evan. He always kept me at a distance. I didn’t want to invade his boundaries because he wasn’t ready to open up to me. That part made me sad, but I knew the relationship wasn’t going to get better overnight.” With the support of Turnbridge staff, Caren learned the importance of engaging in her own recovery. “I learned that I have got to take care of myself,” said Caren. “I did enable Evan, but from going to therapy we learned we were not the cause [of Evan’s addiction].”
“We always knew he had it in him,” said Caren. “But he needed to believe it and find it in himself that he could succeed. I think Turnbridge, through its clinical and residential support, helped Evan a lot to discover who he is. In the residential [environment], he had such a great support system, which he really didn’t have before. It was just the best help he could get and now he has the willingness to want to be healthy. I just feel like everything was put in place for my son to succeed.”
“Now when I speak to him he will say. ‘Wow Ma, I am glad I got to discuss that with you. In the past I would never really share this or have this conversation with you and I want to continue with this’. We're in a much better place,” said Caren.
Lizzie C. is a current client in Phase III of the Turnbridge Women’s Program.
Originally from Larchmount, NY, Lizzie’s journey to Turnbridge was long and arduous. Before coming to Turnbridge, Lizzie described herself as being uncomfortable in her own skin. “I don’t think I was ever comfortable with who I was as a person,” said Lizzie. “I was never really confident. I started finding small voids to fill. There were a lot of underlying issues and I never wanted to address them.”
“I struggled a lot in school,” said Lizzie. “I started fighting with my parents. I was just always really lost. I started drinking and partying and it’s what made me really confident. I felt like I knew myself, but I obviously really didn’t. Then I started stealing oxy from my grandparents.” This was a pivotal moment in Lizzie’s story, because she began to realize that she was no longer in control. She truly loved her grandparents, yet she still could not stop herself from betraying them in this way. “My grandparents are my life,” said Lizzie. “I used to take care of them a lot. Taking care of my grandparents is really where I found happiness, but then I started stealing from them, I found a new love. That’s where I really started to isolate. My parents began recognizing that I was always irritable and isolating, and knew that I needed help.”
“[At first], I wouldn’t admit that I had any kind of issue,” said Lizzie. “Then I went to Silver Hill after my parents discovered that I was stealing oxy from my grandfather. My therapist recommended Silver Hill, and that was life changing, not just for me, but for my whole family. That’s when I initially realized that I was an addict and needed help.”
“[After Silver Hill], I felt I needed more care,” said Lizzie. “I felt like I needed a structured program. They told me about Turnbridge and I told them one of the things that scares me the most about sobriety is not being able to have fun and what attracted me to Turnbridge was the idea of recreation events. I didn’t know how to have fun while clean and sober.” As Lizzie’s journey continued, she found that it was something she simply had to experience to learn. “When I came to Turnbridge I started to learn how to have fun. I would say the Bronx Zoo was one of the most memorable. It was my first rec event. We ended up being at the Zoo for all of 30 minutes because it took two hours to get there and three hours to get back because of unexpected traffic, but what I think was so great about it is was that we made the best of it. We were all listening to music and dancing in the car. I don’t know, it was just so fun. I also went to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. It was amazing. We had great seats. We were dancing the whole time. I love concerts and being able to learn how to go to a concert sober was just incredible to me.
Rec events were not the only thing that Lizzie found at Turnbridge. “I really started to find myself,” said Lizzie. “I have experienced things sober that I have never experienced before. It was a new world to me and my family.”
Once sober, Lizzie realized the harm she had caused her family while in her addiction, and recovery gave her the opportunity to make amends. “I did family therapy and that helped tremendously,” said Lizzie. “Turnbridge really taught me to communicate with my family in a respectful and mature way. I learned to take a step back and understand how they feel. I have become more observant with my actions and how they affect my family. It was really stressful and hard in the beginning, but now I am not only calling them when I have a problem, I am calling them with good things and I am able to ask them ‘How is your day going?’. It’s not just about me anymore. It’s a healthy balance with each other.”
“I have goals now and know who I am,” reflected Lizzie. “My dad always says to me now, ‘I feel like I have my Lizzie back.’ I know how to have fun now. I don’t need drugs or alcohol to make me be able to experience things. I’m able to accept and sit with my feelings. I’m incredibly grateful for this program, and I am still growing every day.”
Eric B. is an alumni of the Turnbridge Men’s Program.
Eric B. is from Toronto, Canada and he successfully completed the Turnbridge program in July of this year. Like many, Eric’s substance use started with occasional alcohol and marijuana use, but escalated over time. “I was smoking a lot of weed, and drinking, and popping pills almost every day toward the end,” recalled Eric. “Then, I ended up having to go to the [psychiatric hospital] due to psychosis. My parents offered me treatment while I was there and I went to Caron Treatment Center for 2 months prior to coming to Turnbridge. Once my stay was up there, they recommended Turnbridge.”
When Eric got to Turnbridge he, like many of his peers, had a hard time adjusting to the idea of being sober at such a young age. “I got to Turnbridge on September 1, 2017, and I had some struggles at the start,” said Eric. “Once I started to ‘phase’ through the program, I met some friends and found some stuff I liked to do sober.”
“[At first], I didn’t really want to get sober, but with the time that I spent there, and with my case manager and therapist helping me, I started to see the benefits of staying sober outweighed the benefits of getting high and the bad things about getting high outweighed the bad things about getting sober,” said Eric. “If I wanted to live a full and happy life, I couldn’t do it if I was using drugs and alcohol.”
“My time at Turnbridge started to become enjoyable and I didn’t know if I wanted to leave,” said Eric. “I have now been back in Toronto for two-and-half months and everything is going really well. I am living in a sober living house. At the start of September I started back in my home High School to finish my diploma. I play a lot of golf and hockey. I hang out with friends, go to movies, and I realize I don’t have to be drunk or high to enjoy doing those things.”
Eric’s family relationships have also gotten healthier. “When I was active in my addiction, I got kicked out of the house and got into arguments with them all the time,” said Eric. “I’d say that I have been able to earn their trust back through the time I have been sober. I don’t hide things from them anymore. We don’t fight much and have learned to love each other again.”
18 MONTHS Jake E.
17 MONTHS Madeline S.
16 MONTHS Alyssa B.
15 MONTHS Nathan B.
14 MONTHS Brad G.
9 MONTHS Saban G.
5 MONTHS Emma S.