We are a family from Virginia and made a really difficult decision to send our daughter all the way to Connecticut. However, that decision was the best decision we ever made for her and our family.
The best part of the entire process was the feeling of safety, trust, and respect from everyone at Turnbridge who contacted us, gently yet firmly informing or counseling us, making us feel we had our daughter in safe hands and we need to get on with our lives parallel to hers. Every contact taught us something new, made us more aware of the nature of this illness, or gave us the strength to make one more step forward.
Thank you, Turnbridge from CEO, administrators, financial staff, doctors, counselors, case managers, staff and all the girls who are now some of our daughter’s finest friends ever!
- Arvin & Tina
Rec & Lifestyle
From the Family
Paddle boarding in the Long Island Sound has been a big hit this year for the Men’s Program clients.
“Watching guys get up on the board, catching a rumble from the water, and still staying on is a powerful metaphor in itself,” reflected Support Staff member, Drew P. “I remember when I was a client experiencing these new things and having fun sober for the first time. If this is how the staff felt watching me at the time I understand why they came to work every day.”
“This was one of the best recreational activities” said Phase 1 client, Greg B. “Having fun sober is extremely important to my recovery and we always manage to do so. Even if I have a horrible fear of trying something new, there are people around me to show me that it’s ok, and I can get through it with a smile on my face.”
At Turnbridge, recreational activities play a critical role in the program. It's crucial for young people in early recovery to learn to have fun without the use of substances. Activities such as the paddle boarding provide clients with a perfect opportunity to forge relationships and bonds through shared experience.
Danielle Bousquet is the Turnbridge Unsung Hero for the month of September 2017.
Danielle currently works as the Resident Liaison in the Turnbridge Women’s Program, providing direct support to clients on a daily basis as their Resident Liaison. Danielle got her start in the recovery field as a manager of a women’s sober house in the New Haven area while taking classes at a local college to become a professional substance abuse counselor.
“When I heard about the Women’s Program at Turnbridge, I looked further into it,” said Danielle. “It now feels like a second home. Working here is a lifestyle. I always enjoy coming to work, not just because I love what I do but because I get to be around the clients and the other staff, and it feels that we are all working toward a common obtainable goal.”
“It’s nice to be a part of client’s journeys,” said Danielle. “I get to watch someone who doesn’t want to be here at first eventually change their thinking. I get to see something click that allows them to start working on themselves and inevitably go on to help others.”
Dale and David F. described their son, Graham, a Turnbridge alumni, as a very outgoing child.
“He had a three ring circus going on at all times” recalled David fondly. “However, Graham had difficulty in school as a child and did not like it.” In an effort to provide the extra support Graham needed to manage these challenges, Dale and David enrolled him in a boarding school in upstate New York. The extra structure the boarding school afforded Graham helped him complete his high school education and subsequently enroll in college. It was at this point that his life took a turn.
“Problems developed when Graham was exposed to a lot of freedom, not at boarding school, not at home, and had free reign of his life at college,” said Dale. “Partying was his priority. He was always so social and it just clicked for him.”
“Graham wanted to complete his degree, but he was not doing the work, smoking a lot of pot, and probably doing other things to that we did not know about at the time,” said Dale. “Eventually Graham asked us for help, which was the biggest relief in the world.”
Dale and David helped Graham get into a residential treatment program. After about three months of treatment, he came home. At first, things seemed to be going okay, but it wasn’t long before Dale and David started to notice red flags again. Graham was back in treatment after just a short while. This cycle repeated itself several times over the coming few years.
“After five or six years of Graham getting help and it not working, we finally ended up at Turnbridge,” said Dale. “Graham was very uncomfortable at first, but eventually it clicked and he realized what he needed to do. Our relationship could not have been worse when Graham entered Turnbridge, but by that Christmas we visited him and he was healthy, happy, and he wanted to stay. It was the best Christmas we have had as a family.”
“At Turnbridge, Graham learned the tools he needed to take care of himself,” said David. “When he drove down to make his amends, he thought through what he wanted to say and I asked him a question and it was then I realized that my boy has changed.”
“He likes himself the way he is and we couldn’t be more proud of who he is and who he has become,” said David.
“The program has brought our family together and it’s been a long journey, but watching young adults develop their best qualities while not blocked by substances is a great thing,” said Dale. “To watch your child become happy is the greatest gift a parent can receive.”
Mike B., a current Phase III client in the Turnbridge Men’s Program, was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mike had a seemingly idyllic childhood. He attended private school and excelled in academics as well as sports. He had an ability to develop friendships with seeming ease. Despite all of these gifts, Mike was eventually derailed by alcohol and drugs.
“In high school I was always trying to be the cool kid,” said Mike. “I started to throw parties to keep that life going. The relationship with my parents became strained as I was becoming more independent.”
Mike, once the captain of his basketball, soccer and baseball team, was slowly starting to become more preoccupied with partying. In 11th grade, Mike started to experience the consequences of his new lifestyle. “I got asked to leave my high school and went to a smaller high school. Eventually, I graduated and went off to College.”
By the time Mike entered college, partying had taken center-stage in his life. “I lost the enjoyment from sports and I stopped pursing my passions,” said Mike. “I started abusing ADHD medication and started looking into other drugs like LSD and cocaine. I fell in love with the party scene in college. I moved out of my parent’s house, started going to work for 50-60 hours a week, and repeated the cycle of work, party, and repeat for 3 years after that.”
“That brought me to getting a DUI, wrecking my car, and going to jail in one night,” said Mike. “From there, I went to my first rehab, which was state-run. I was on probation and violating religiously. My use continued to accelerate and I went through multiple treatments.”
“While in a treatment program called Turning Point in Utah, I found out about Turnbridge,” said Mike. “I wanted to come to Turnbridge. Something clicked and I just wanted to be sober. I wanted to stop using drugs and alcohol the way I did. I wanted to restart and get away from home.”
Mike enrolled at Turnbridge this past May. “Now, I am going back to school, I have a job working in a kitchen again, and I have made a ton of new friends, while obtaining a huge network of people in recovery to call when I need to,” said Mike. “I plan on staying in New Haven, continuing my education, and continuing to be a part of the recovery community around the area.”
“I am super happy that I am able to take advantage of what’s being offered to me,” said Mike. “When I use the tools I’ve been taught, good things happen. It’s amazing how that works. I can have non-hostile phone calls with my parents and they can visit without me being paranoid or immensely irritable.”
“Getting back into society can be awkward at first,” said Mike. “The first and second phases at Turnbridge help with this. I learned how to slowly put myself into situations and come out through the good or the bad without a drink in my hand. The case managers and other staff are always helpful and are always pushing me in a direction that I really want to go.”
Ownership: Restoration Hardware
The American home-furnishings company Restoration Hardware won’t give up on me. I am uncertain how I got on their radar, but they just won’t quit. Every few months I receive a hefty catalog with stuff in it that looks really nice, and I am unlikely to purchase anything.
I don’t know where their name comes from, but they recognized years ago that many of us have positive thoughts about both words in that name. “Restoration” and “hardware” evoke strength, movement, and satisfaction. Hardware gets the job done, and restoration is a process. It’s sharp marketing, really.
Recently I saw the company name on one such catalog and started thinking. Stay with me.
When I looked at the word “restoration”, I immediately thought about 1994’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Heavy? Maybe. But to me, restoration is about recovery, justice, and reconciliation. I think through times in history when people have tried, successfully or unsuccessfully, to make things right.
Recovery, justice, reconciliation... many wellness processes involve these elements. Whether through 12-step groups, in family therapy, or with a friend over coffee, individuals often seek to improve relationship through acknowledging past mistakes and through altering a path. Perhaps it’s an amend for missing a loved one’s birthday, or it’s a correction after providing an incorrect assurance. We all receive opportunities to take ownership.
Some years ago in West Texas I treated a young man who could best express his feelings through the music of country singer Hank Williams. Our talk therapy included my asking what was on his mind, to which he would play a song. We didn’t have a whole lot of back-and-forth dialog. Looking back, it was one of the more unique experiences I’ve had as a counselor.
One day I asked him what he hoped to express when his family visited a few days later. He set down his guitar (a rare occasion) and said firmly, “I want to tell them I love them and that I did ‘em wrong. Most importantly, I intend to make things better.”
Those words were this young man’s language for ownership. We all benefit from finding which words make sense to us.
In counseling young people and their families over the past six years, it’s been very moving to watch ownership take place. Whether from a young person, a loved one, or both, ownership is one of the best connectors we have as people. It disarms and it unites.
Ownership is restoration hardware.
Turnbridge Alumni, Cole D. grew up in Newtown, CT in a large family with three younger brothers.
As a child, he consistently performed well in school and was always surrounded by a host of friends. On all counts, Cole was gifted. In high school, however, Cole had his first experience with alcohol and his life took a dramatic shift.
“The first time I drank I blacked out,” said Cole. “After that, I started drinking all the time. I just loved the way it made me feel.”
As Cole’s drinking escalated, his priorities started to shift. “I quit baseball, which was kind of my thing at the time, and started spending all of my free time drinking, smoking marijuana, and skateboarding.”
Despite Cole’s problematic lifestyle changes, he would go on to finish high school and enroll at the University of Vermont. According to Cole, he chose UVM because of what he heard about the party culture. “At UVM, I started experimenting with drugs like LSD,” said Cole. “I was blacking out from drinking all the time and my grades started to slip. Eventually, I started to lose friends because of my drinking.”
In Cole’s junior year of college, his life really began to unravel. “I studied abroad in Spain during my junior year of college,” said Cole. “I was drinking wine every day, not going to class, and skipped my finals that year. I started to get paranoid, was getting into fights frequently, and I was arrested a few times.”
During Cole’s senior year in college, his hometown of Newtown was shook to its core by the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. “After that, I went off the rails,” said Cole. “I was heavily taking benzodiazepines and dangerous amounts of cocaine. I eventually got a DUI and I realized that I needed to stop using drugs, but my roommates used just like me so it was difficult.”
“I eventually told my parents that I needed help,” said Cole. “They helped me get into a 30 day treatment program in Canaan, CT. While in treatment, I learned that 30 days of treatment alone doesn’t work for most people. I was referred to Turnbridge for extended care and off I went.”
Slowly, but surely, while in Turnbridge, Cole started putting the pieces back together. “I enrolled in a graduate program at Southern Connecticut State University,” said Cole. “I started doing the steps, righting wrongs that I had committed, and reconnecting with my family. I started working part time. I am happy, I have friends, and I am looking out for the health of myself and those around me.”
Cole graduated from Turnbridge in May of this year and decided to remain living in the New Haven community. Cole is still an active member of the recovery community and serves as an excellent example to other young people entering early recovery.
18 MONTHS Lauren K.
14 Months Jack S.
12 MONTHS Jacqueline E.
10 MONTHS Davis R.
9 MONTHS Gregory M.
8 MONTHS Nicholas B.
7 MONTHS Ian D.
6 MONTHS Michael P.
5 MONTHS Richard H.