Turning Point Connections
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“The Family Workshop series with Diana Clark was excellent, much compelling information; I will read all of the books and avail myself of the resources provided. I am very impressed with the Turning Point staff and program. Most importantly, the change in Drew was so visible. Several months ago, I brought a very broken lad to Connecticut and yesterday I saw a glimpse into the old Drew. He was talking, laughing, and engaged. I cannot thank you enough and I reiterate we are committed on our end to the program.”
- Michael

This Issue

Family Mailbag

From The President‘s Desk

Rec & Lifestyle


Unsung Hero

Resident Profile

Clinician‘s Corner

Alumni Life

From the Presidents Desk

Dear Friends

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
-Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

David Vieau Headshot

My experiences both personally and professionally over the last 13 years have shown me that purpose is an essential ingredient to successful long-term recovery. Ask any of our staff and they’ll tell you this is true: I spend the majority of my day at the Phase I home where our residents are furthest from recovery � furthest from their purpose. I witness the waywardness and destituteness, and inwardly I can only smile because I know something they don’t.

One of our many goals at Turning Point is to provide our young men with an opportunity to discover or re-discover their purpose. We use a number of interventions to do so, including working with a host of wonderful not-for-profits and educational institutions in greater New Haven. As of this writing, we have 22 residents who are actively enrolled in spring semester courses at either the high school or college level. These are the same young men who just months ago could not find a meaning, could not see a life beyond using drugs and alcohol.

So what is it that makes me smile at the melancholia? Because I know that with recovery comes hope, and with hope comes purpose. And we at Turning Point are afforded the opportunity to watch these young men grow into themselves � a blossoming process that often times creates something more beautiful and more picturesque than we could have ever imagined…a truly remarkable evolution.


David Vieau's signature

David Vieau

Recreation and Lifestyle

Bromely Mountain VT for skiing

On Tuesday, January 6, a few of Turning Point’s Phase I and Phase II residents and two Support Staff members packed up the Suburbans with ski and snowboard gear for the fourth time this year and drove up to Bromley Mountain, Vermont for a full day of shredding up the slopes.


Ski trips are always a blast for residents and Recreation Coordinator, Casey Olayos likes to plan a trip every other week during the winter months. “It’s a freeing trip for resident,” explains Casey. “The guys get a bit of a vacation from the daily activities of Turning Point and being up on the mountain provides a peaceful escape from the tough work they’re doing every day. They always seem to have a good time too, I’ve never gotten a negative review.”

Some of the guys bring their own equipment, but most residents rent skis or snowboards for the day. “I haven’t been skiing very much recently,” says Matt S., a resident currently in Phase II. “So it was a nice opportunity to get back out and try it again. It was definitely my favorite day I’ve had at Turning Point so far.”


At Turning Point, we believe it is crucial for young men in early sobriety to realize that it is possible to have fun without the use of drugs or alcohol. Recreational activities provide residents the opportunity to come to that realization. Trips like the one to Bromley Mountain give the guys a chance to build close relationships with one another, and with staff members, while having fun and trying exciting new things.

Charles S., a resident in Phase I, seized the opportunity to form a connection with one of the Turning Point employees. “I spent most of the day hanging out with Chris Meyer (a Phase I Support Staff member) and got to know him really well, which was cool,” says Charles. “All in all, I had a great time.”

Next month, Casey has some big events planned for Phases I and II. Among the activities are a Chris Brown, Trey Songz and Tyga concert, WWE’s Road to Wrestlemania and the 2015 Masters of Illusion

Unsung Hero
Unsung Hero Headshot

John Palmer

Director of Operations, is Turning Point’s Unsung Hero for the Month of February.

John’s own personal recovery experience, along with a strong desire to help young men achieve their goals, brought him to Turning Point in 2009.

unsung hero quote

John's tenure began on a volunteer basis, facilitating groups for Phase I residents on 12-Step recovery principles. His exceptional talent and ability to connect with the young men was quickly recognized by Turning Point’s leadership, and he was offered a full-time position.

This was over 5 years ago. Today, John holds the position of Director of Operations, making sure every Turning Point family is getting the support and direction they need to become and remain healthy.

Events Calendar
From the Famliy

Melissa H. is the mother of Chris H., a resident currently in Phase III of Turning Point’s Preparative Care program.

As a result of his addiction, Chris’ family watched him transform from a fun loving, peaceful brother and son into an unrecognizable person. Since Chris came to New Haven, his family has experienced the joy of having that loving son and brother back in their lives.

Family photo

According the Melissa, Chris started using drugs and alcohol in high school. After having some issues with pain, Chris was prescribed opiates, which ignited his issues with addiction. At some point after high school, Chris started using heroin. His family did not know the extent of his drug use, until a traumatic death in the family and a difficult break-up brought things to a head. “I think there were some triggers that really pushed him over the edge,” explains Melissa. “Soon after that time, we noticed the signs and eventually Chris asked if we would send him to treatment.”

Chris went to a 30-day facility in Arizona, but relapsed shortly after returning home. He went to the same facility again, and had the same result. Things were only getting worse. “At that point I was fully aware of his heroin use,” Melissa says. “I was beyond frantic every time my phone rang and basically every time he left the house, because I didn’t know what was going to happen. It just kept snowballing and snowballing.”

She was doing a lot of research for an appropriate treatment path for Chris, and finally decided to hire an interventionist. The interventionist advised Chris to enroll at Turning Point, and Chris came to New Haven in September 2013. While in the program, Chris has done a lot of work on himself and his family has clearly noticed the results.

“It was hard to see this peaceful person who had brought so much joy into our lives go the complete other direction,” says Melissa. “It has been great seeing that peace being restored within him.”

Resident Profile Resident picture

At the age of 25, Dominick’s addiction has already caused him an enormous amount of suffering and pain, but over the past 6 months he has reaped the benefits of hard work and dedication to a life in recovery.

At 13 years old, Dominick began smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. Once in high school, his recreational use quickly progressed to daily use. A lack of motivation and an escalating drug habit limited Dominick’s progress after completing high school. “I didn’t really have any goals or ambitions after graduating high school,” admits Dominick. “That’s when I got into opiates and things got bad. I was in and out of dead-end jobs and my addiction just kept progressing.” Once Dominick began using opiates it didn’t take long for his parents to catch on. After finding drug paraphernalia in their home, Dominick's parents gave him an ultimatum: accept treatment or face legal consequences. He entered treatment in Florida and thus began an unfortunate series of unsuccessful attempts at sobriety.

Resident quote

The next six and a half years were spent going to treatment centers and programs all over the country, but Dominick always had difficulty maintaining more than a few months of sobriety. “I just never really gave anything a chance,” says Dominick. “I would get healthy and think I was alright. In the back of my mind, I wanted to be happy and sober, but I knew I was going to use. I would wait until the point where everyone was off my back, then I could lie and keep doing what I was doing.” He attended plenty of twelve-step meetings and was aware of a solution, but like many others, Dominick continued to resist changing his way of living. “I would hear what people were saying but I just thought that I was stronger and didn’t need a program,” confesses Dominick. “There was a lot of self-will because I could control a lot of aspects of my life, just not with alcohol and drugs.”

Resident picture

In the months leading up to July 2014, Dominick experienced an awakening of sorts. After witnessing the effects of addiction with some close friends, experiencing a number of legal consequences, and feeling a sufficient amount of pain, he decided to seek out treatment one last time. He had a discussion with his mother and asked her once more for help. She agreed to help and Dominick began honestly researching long-term treatment that would best suit his needs. He enrolled at Turning Point on July 24, 2014.

When he arrived, Dominick was ready to change. “I made a decision to not complain or moan,” says Dominick. “I was just beaten and knew I needed to do everything that was asked of me. Most importantly, I was told I needed to be honest, so I try to do that.” He quickly progressed through Phases I and II and has stayed close to his friends in Turning Point and the friends he has met in twelve-step meetings. He got a sponsor early on, and continues to talk to him on a daily basis. Dominick has a job today and has worked hard to repair relationships with his family and friends.

Clinician's Corner
Clinicians headshot

Jessica Hamliton - LCSW Primary Therapist

The Art of Reframing
Viewing the world from 30,000 feet changes our worldview. As a clinician, my ability to support change with my clients requires first that I fully understand my client’s worldview. For many, their belief about their problem is critical in determining and supporting the change process. A powerful technique which allows me to make positive use in fully understanding my client’s worldview and moving towards long lasting behavioral change in recovery is that of cognitive reframing. Cognitive reframing is a clinical technique which spans across a number of evidence based practices and its effect in reducing distress and distressing behaviors can be immediate and powerful. Just as changing the frame of a painting can greatly alter the appearance and feel of that same painting, helping client’s change their frame can offer them a new lens or perspective from which to view their problems, shortcomings or frustrations, many of which are shared in therapy sessions.

“Addictive” thinking, (also referred to as “stinking thinking”), generally includes rigid and self-centered perceptions which leads to resentments and great potential for relapse.

In contrast, “recovery” thinking is expansive and resilient. “Recovery” thinking leads to mindfulness and gratitude. Positive reframing is “recovery” thinking!

Here is an example;

“Ever since my parents learned I was using, my mother has been trying to rule and control my entire life. She hovers over everything I do or try to do.”

A clinician’s response using reframing would be;

“It sounds like your mother cares very much and is struggling to learn how to best parent you upon learning about your substance use.”

Regardless of the effectiveness of the parent’s response, the therapist shifts client’s interpretation to something his mother is doing “to” him versus something his mother is aiming to do “for” him.

Wearing a pair of glasses which no longer support one’s vision can cause a host of problems through gradual decline of visual clarity. With a fresh new lens comes fresh new action. Offering a fresh new lens or interpretation of a long existing or recent distressing experience can facilitate immediate relief and divert clients from a negative path of behavior to a more productive and health engendering path in recovery. Addiction is often described as a thinking disease rich in conflict and negative, narrow, and rigid perceptions. Reframing techniques can be a powerful anecdote to both resentment and shame, both which prohibit growth and positive change. Recovery thinking is flexible and expands beyond rigid and self-centered fear based perceptions often characterized in addictive thinking. Reframing is not just positive thinking. Reframing is offering a refreshing lens which unfurls a new set of possibilities and supports one’s ability to deal with difficult experiences and to move towards a workable set of skills to promote acceptance, hope, health and healing.

Alumni Life Alumni picture

Andrew G. successfully completed the Turning Point program, and graduated in December 2014.

Andrew’s decline into addiction was hard and fast, and at a young age he found himself in a dark and hopeless place. After a couple attempts to get sober at treatment centers on the West coast, Andrew entered Turning Point in December 2013, and has since developed into a hopeful, independent, and responsible young man.

Andrew’s issues with substance abuse began at age 15, when he was introduced to marijuana at a summer camp. This introduction resulted in an intense fascination, and after only a few months he was using marijuana and alcohol on a daily basis. The progression was rapid. At age 16, Andrew began using prescription opiates and quickly became physically addicted to Oxycodone. Just prior to turning 18, he was arrested twice and was sent to a farm correctional facility. While in the facility, Andrew heard stories about heroin. He sought out the drug when he was released and immediately began using it. “From age 18 to 20, the heroin use was all day every day,” explains Andrew. “… Over that time, I was hurting people and hurting myself. My emotional state of mind was that I hated my life I hated everyone else. Nothing mattered but getting high.”

Alumni quote

In April 2013, Andrew entered his first drug treatment center in Palm Springs, California. He went to sober living after completing treatment and relapsed immediately. He heard a message of recovery but was unwilling to take any action or make any changes. Andrew was then sent to a facility in San Diego, which took a non-twelve-step approach to addressing addiction. “It helped in some areas,” says Andrew. “But I continued to use while in the treatment center, so I was never really open to the idea of recovery.” His using escalated once again after leaving treatment. In December 2013, his family offered him one more chance at treatment. Andrew got on a plane, came back to Connecticut, and enrolled at Turning Point.

Over his first weeks in Turning Point, Andrew was just going through the motions. He knew the right things to say, but didn’t necessarily believe what he was saying. Sometime while he was in Phase II, Andrew started to notice that acting like he was making positive life changes was actually resulting in positive changes in his thinking. He started to buy into this new way of living.

In Phase III, Andrew experienced a lot of ups and downs, but got through the difficult periods by sticking close to the friends he made in Turning Point and the network he built in the New Haven AA community. Andrew graduated Turning Point on December 14, 2014, and subsequently applied and accepted a position as a member of the Phase I Support Staff team. He continues to go to a lot of twelve-step meetings and tries to have as much fun as possible in sobriety. “I think that’s been the biggest thing for me,” says Andrew. “If you realize you can have fun in sobriety, then you are going to fight to keep it, and to do that you have to work a program.”

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