Turning Point Connections
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“Jesse is doing so well there. All the involved staff have gone out of their way to comment on his great strides, and the fact that he's quite a role model for some of the younger residents. �This makes me so happy for him. It’s so nice to finally see him in a place that he is comfortable, away from the strife he was experiencing here with his employment/family/drug issues. This is a needed restorative time for him and I see great things in his future. �He loves it there, loves the friendships, the attention he gets, the leadership role models... everything!”
- Donna

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

Here is to wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New Year. As with many, for me each New Year is a time for reflection where I find myself looking inward for an outward resolution. On the surface, in 2014 David Vieau HeadshotTurning Point accomplished a number of remarkable feats � including the grand opening of our new Phase II home and breaking ground for a new fitness facility at our Phase I home. In years past, these were accomplishments I could only dream of. But I believe that Turning Point is more than bricks and mortar.

Turning Point represents Hope. Hope for each resident who walks through the door that his life can be better. Hope for each family that regardless of their loved ones choices, their lives can be good again.

Turning Point represents Strength. We strive to teach that many are better than one, that together we can achieve something far greater than any one person can achieve alone.

Turning Point represents Community. It’s a community of residents and staff alike who work together to achieve new possibilities and opportunities. A community committed to rebuilding where the end result isn’t just the people we were but the people we’ve always hoped to be.

And finally Turning Point represents Change. We believe that through tireless work and honest self-reflection, each individual who walks through our doors can become a better son, a better friend, a better sibling, a better partner.

With the dawning of this New Year, my resolution is that Turning Point will continue to provide exceptional service to the residents and families we serve. We will continue to be the hope, the strength, the community, and the change as we push forward into 2015.


David Vieau's signature

David Vieau

Recreation and Lifestyle

Hogan's Alley Paintball!

This month, Turning Point residents and Support Staff members loaded up the Suburbans and headed off to Hogan‘s Alley Paintball in Wallingford, Connecticut. Paintball has been a favorite activity among the residents of Turning Point since its inception and Recreation Coordinator Casey Olayos likes to schedule a trip at least once per month when the weather permits.

Wooded paintball scene

“The guys love the competition of paintball,” Casey said. “They split up into teams and have a chance to form bonds among their teammates and cover Support Staff in paintballs. I remember when I went paintballing in Phase I and some of those guys are still my best friends.”

Nate B, a resident now in Phase II, had a great time at Hogan’s Alley. “Paintball was a lot of fun,” said Nate. “It was a cool bonding experience with my team. I think it brought us closer together as peers and as friends.”

enjoying paintball

At Turning Point, recreational activities play a critical role in the program. 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. Activities such as paintball provide residents with a perfect opportunity to form close relationships with one another, and with staff members, while having fun and trying new things.

Next month, Casey Olayos has organized a ski trip to Killington, Vermont, which is always an exciting adventure.

Unsung Hero
Matt Barba

Matt Barba

is Turning Point’s Unsung Hero for the month of January. “I feel honored to be singled out this month for this accolade. With that being said, this is not why I do what I do here at Turning Point. My combined life experience as an active addict and my subsequent years in sobriety are my greatest tools in being able to effectively reach the young men that I work with. I guess you could say I’ve been training most of my life for this role; this feels so natural to me.

It's and absolute honor and a privilege to be an part of something so life changing.

Whenever I have a young man in my office sitting in the big comfy chair, I see a younger version of myself. As a professional helping people there is no greater joy (outside of spending time with my 7 year old son, of course) than watching a family come together, out of the crisis and despair, with hopeful vision for their future together. It’s an absolute honor and a privilege to be a part of something so life changing. Turning Point is not just a job, it is a way of life.”

- Matt Barba, Phase I Case Manager

January 2015 Events Calendar
From the Famliy

Cindy D. is the mother of Kyle D., a resident currently in Phase III of Turning Point.

After struggling to gain independence and maintain recovery while living at home, Kyle entered Turning Point and has greatly matured while building a solid foundation in recovery.

Cindy and Kyle D.

According to Cindy, Kyle has suffered from several mental health and impulse-control disorders, which became a real issue when his substance abuse and gambling addiction became clearly evident. In his mid-twenties, Kyle began selling his possessions and stealing things from his family to support his addiction. “I felt very threatened in my own home,” says Cindy. “… He would look me straight in the eye and lie, and it became a real problem in the family dynamic.” Through his late twenties, Kyle struggled maintaining a job and consistently encountered issues relating to his gambling. The family sought help through therapists and psychiatrists, but the addiction symptoms persisted. The family also insisted that Kyle seek support groups, but he had trouble relating to other recovering addicts and failed to find a supportive network.

The addiction finally reached a debilitating point for Kyle, and after receiving a recommendation from a close family friend, Kyle enrolled in Turning Point in March of 2014. “He found it difficult at first to identify with the young men [at Turning Point] due to his issues with gambling,” Cindy explains. “Then he sought out on his own Gamblers Anonymous in addition to the other meetings he was going to… He sought that out and has really absorbed it.”

In addition to finding support and learning how to maintain sobriety, Kyle has begun to live an organized, independent life. He has recently found a job and his family sees a great deal of progression in every aspect of Kyle’s life.

Jeff S. Resident Profile Jeff S. picture

Jeff S. is a resident currently in Phase III of Turning Point’s Preparative Care program.

As is true with most addicts and alcoholics, Jeff’s addiction has put him in some trying situations, but his path in recovery has led to healing and change.

Jeff began smoking marijuana and drinking at age 12, which almost immediately became part of his daily routine. He experimented with other substances through high school, but was able to keep up appearances until being introduced to opiates in college. Once out of his parent’s house, the drug use escalated quickly while attending the University of Albany. Jeff was introduced to prescription opiates after a kidney infection, most likely a result of his drinking and drug use, allowing Jeff to legally obtain the drug Oxycodone. Not long after, he became physically addicted to the drug and began doing anything he could to get it. It did not take his parents long to realize that Jeff was struggling with a drug addiction. When confronted, Jeff confessed everything to his parents and a therapist and was given the opportunity to attend a treatment center in Florida.

I tried it out, and too many good things started happening to me that totally reinforced that this was the right path for me.

He spent thirty days at the treatment center and left unconvinced that he was an addict. “I didn‘t believe that addiction was a disease,” says Jeff. “I just thought I got addicted to opiates because they’re a physically addictive substance and I only stayed thirty days in treatment because I was convinced I was cured.” Jeff got drunk in the airport on the way home.

For the next few months, Jeff began a cycle of part-time jobs and failed outpatient programs, until a car accident and subsequent arrest brought things to a head once again. He was court mandated to an outpatient program and this time the situation was dire. Jeff’s parents were on their last leg and there were heavy consequences hanging over his head. He had every intention of staying sober. Despite his best intention, Jeff was unable to stay sober for more than a few days and was kicked out of the outpatient program. He was given one final ultimatum: lose all financial support or long-term treatment.

Jeff S. and friends

He entered a treatment center in Statesboro, Georgia, and in March of 2014, Jeff came to Turning Point. “I struggled with some things when I got here,” Jeff confesses. “I didn’t really buy into [12-step recovery] at first, but that has completely been lifted. I tried it out, and too many good things started happening to me that totally reinforced that this was the right path for me.” Jeff has had a steady job since getting to Phase III and has a close group of friends who have helped each other out through the difficulties of early sobriety.

Jeff plans to move in with a few of those guys when he graduates the Turning Point program in March. He has also enrolled in an Addiction Recovery Counseling program and plans to use his experience to help others in the future. “I have seen how a good counselor can save someone,” Jeff explains. “I have been saved by some, and I think I can be helpful to young guys who are struggling.”

Clinician's Corner
Meaghan Gorman headshot

Meaghan Gorman - LMFT Primary Therapist

Acceptance: A Recovering Path of Least Resistance.
Prescribed often times as a routine meditation, the Serenity Prayer (familiar to recovery culture) asks a Higher Power to “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” The concept of acceptance, which is highlighted by this prayer, is often times met with confusion and misinterpretation by the clients I serve clinically.

As a therapist, I am routinely challenged with questions from clients about the utility and application of this sometimes elusive concept. Recently, I sought gently to encourage a client to accept, not avoid, a situation that was causing him anxiety. He responded that “to accept means that I need to just give up and not change a thing.” This client illustrates a common misconception associated with acceptance: that to accept one’s circumstance is to passively resign to it.

To the contrary, authentic acceptance is a powerful tool that facilitates a non-judgmental psychological stance that makes room for the full spectrum of internal and external experiences; to re-direct one’s energy towards embracing one’s whole, “unedited” story and the unpredictable nature of life itself. In my years working with these young men, I have witnessed how the resistance of emotional pain often translates into --and can be expressed-- as debilitating depression. It is the paradox of avoidance. In a well-intentioned effort to subjugate pain, feelings of worthlessness, isolation or hopelessness, a client’s essential vitality or life-force may be subjugated as well.

What acceptance is not is often a more useful way of describing the principle to clients. Acceptance is not resignation. It does not mean you have failed. It does not mean you must tolerate suffering. Acceptance is an orientation. I communicate to clients that it is about learning how to differentiate that which is a fact from that which is mutable. For instance, the harms that were perpetrated in active addiction are frozen in time, but how these young men work to amend those harms are in their charge today. Acceptance is--at its very core--empowering and can provide an action-oriented “map” that guides value-based responses to current life stressors.

As clinical sessions progress with time, ideas of acceptance naturally begin to infuse the dialogue in different forms. I might pose the idea of choosing acceptance. One client once surprised me with an apt question, “Where do I start?” I responded, “Today.” “How?” he questioned almost inaudibly. And thus began a journey of transformation as this client’s humbling gesture of willingness gave way to open-heartedness, the very center-piece of acceptance.

JP H. Alumni Life JP H. picture

JP H. successfully completed the Turning Point program, and graduated at the end of September 2014.

JP came straight to Turning Point after finding himself in a Williamsport, Pennsylvania jail cell with several drug-related charges hanging over his head. At 25 years old, JP’s road to recovery has already been long and trying for himself and his family. However, since coming to New Haven, JP has dedicated himself to living a life without drugs and alcohol, and has accomplishing things he never thought were possible.

JP’s issues with substance abuse began at age 14, when he began experimenting with alcohol and marijuana. In high school, JP began using harder substances, such as cocaine, while at parties on the weekends. Then, like many others, JP was introduced to prescription opiates after an injury forced him to undergo surgery. “I was prescribed a lot of narcotic pain medication and pretty quickly became addicted,” JP explains. “After a few years, doctors stopped prescribing narcotics for the pain, and I turned to heroin to fill that void.” JP’s heroin addiction, along with heavy alcohol use, led to a string of arrests that kept him in constant trouble with the law and put enormous strain on his relationship with his parents.

At age 21, after an arrest for Driving While Intoxicated, JP entered his first treatment center. “It was a 30 day treatment center,” says JP. “When I got out, I stayed clean for maybe two or three days and went back to my old ways. I wasn’t done. I started hanging out with the wrong crowd and picked up right where I left off.” Although he heard a message of recovery, JP wasn’t willing to admit that he was an addict and thought that he could manage and control his drug use. He was living at home and working various jobs to give the appearance of productivity, but was typically fired for missing work.

JP H. and friends

“That was definitely rock bottom,” JP confesses. “I had absolutely nothing left. I had no desire to continue the way I had been. Something happened in that jail cell and I knew at that point I was done.” After fifteen days in jail, he received a call from his parents, who explained that they were willing to help one last time. He was taken straight from jail to Connecticut, and was enrolled at Turning Point.

“I was happy to be at Turning Point,” JP says. “I was ready to change and willing to do everything that was asked of me.” He didn’t immediately buy in to the program and he encountered his struggles in Turning Point, but JP took the suggestions given to him and persistently worked a daily program of recovery. Slowly, everything began to sink in and his outlook for a sober future became more positive. “I did not like looking for work and sticking to the routines,” JP admits. “But I kept doing what I needed to do and finally got a job. From there, everything started to go well. I found a good group of guys that I am still close with and a sponsor that I talk to almost every day. All in all, it was a great experience.”

While in Phase III, JP began taking real estate courses at Gateway Community College and in January he hopes to become a licensed real estate agent. After graduating from Turning Point, JP decided to stay in the New Haven area and moved into a house with a few sober friends. “Some things have happened recently that I thought would never be possible,” says JP. “I have a house today. I have an honest job. I have strong relationships with my family. Fifteen months ago I had no idea any of that was possible.”

JP H. and friends in front of his house

Recent Anniversaries


  • Craig B.
  • Andrew G.


  • Mike R.

16 Months

  • Chris H.

14 Months

  • TJ K.

13 Months

  • Andrew S.
  • Demitri A.
  • Micah P.
  • Ryan R.

One Year

  • Andrew A.
  • Alex C.
  • Isaac F.


  • Jeff S.
  • John K.
  • Jeff S.
  • Matt L.
  • Clayton S.
  • Coleman F.


  • James D.
  • Kyle D.
  • AJ P.
  • Matt M.
  • Oren O.
  • JJ B.
  • Paul A.


  • John C.
  • Carter E.
  • Jonathan H.
  • Kody M.
  • Gabe T.
  • Matthew M.
  • Quin F.
  • Connor M.
  • Evan R.


  • Jack A.
  • Nathan B.


  • Ben G.
  • Jason P.
  • Chad G.
  • Cooper S.
  • Lucas S.
  • Andrew B.
  • Ben M.
  • Henry T.


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  • Dan P.
  • Eric D.
  • Wyatt C.
  • Wesley F.
  • Ryan H.
  • Jesse Z.
  • Tanner C.
  • Adam B.
  • Chris M.

5 Months

  • Nicholas L.
  • Drew P.
  • David P.
  • Robert H.
  • Ben M.
  • Dominick M.
  • Adam C.
  • Eli L.
  • Ricky P.

4 Months

  • Tibor K.
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  • Ethan C.
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  • Patrick M.
  • Brian G.
  • Henry G.
  • Ryan H.
  • Ryan H.
  • Michael M.
  • Boris S.
  • Sam W.
  • Tyler W.
  • Peter S.
  • Ryan T.

3 Months

  • Chris B.
  • Thomas B.
  • Michael H.
  • Rory O.
  • Brett L.
  • Peter R.
  • Matthew P.