Turning Point Connections
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?When we found Turning Point for Michael, we were hopeful that the gradual reintegration approach would be exactly what he needed. During his residency, we watched in amazement as Mike took ownership of his disease for the first time and began building a meaningful life for himself. Words cannot express the gratitude we feel for the Turning Point staff. Thank you all for showing Michael the way!?
- Chris

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

March is upon us, and we at Turning Point could not be more excited. The winter was long and strenuous, more often than not bitterly cold (as my fellow New Englander?s can attest!), but sure enough ? there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. There is hope.

David Vieau Headshot

I always considered hope to be a two part concept. Part one is of the whimsical variety ? wishing that something could be different. Part two is more practical, but requires just as much suspension ? the belief, in all its actuality, that hope is real. For those of us who suffer from the winter blues, it?s times like this ? from winter to spring ? that hope becomes tangible.

In many ways, I experience seasonal change as a metaphor for recovery from drugs and alcohol. Winter is dark and cold. I?m trapped inside unless willing to brave the elements. I believe with all my heart, when I?m living in the distress, that it will never end. But I push through, and February rolls around and the daytime gets longer. And then March comes, and temperatures rise and snow melts. I feel rejuvenated, I feel hopeful. I begin to trust my higher power of my choosing that everything will be ok. I regain my mental, physical, and spiritual health, and realize that what I perceived as suffering was simply just another experience to build off of.

When I meet a new resident who walks into Turning Point, I see the void where hope once was but no longer is. When I encounter the same resident six months later ?volunteering at our Phase I home, working at Chipotle in downtown New Haven, or anywhere else ? he?s a new person. He has come to see that hope is real. He?s experienced it, witnessed it, and lived it.


David Vieau's signature

David Vieau

Recreation and Lifestyle

Bromely Mountain VT for skiing

On Thursday, February 19, six of Turning Point?s Phase I residents and two support staff members loaded up the Suburbans and headed off to go snowmobiling at Mount Snow in Vermont. The concept was suggested by Phase I resident Brett L. and planned and set up by Recreation Coordinator Casey Olayos and Phase I Director John Stewart. ?It was an unbelievable time,? says Casey. ?We were going 65 miles an hour at some points and we ended up riding for four straight hours! We had a guide take us through trails and everyone just had a blast.?


Brett L., the Phase I resident (and avid sportsman) who came up with the idea, had a great time. ?My favorite part was when we got to this frozen reservoir and we really got to pick the speed up,? explains Brett. ?It brought us close together because we really had to put our trust in everyone else because we were riding in a single file line at high speeds.?

Phase I resident Dan D. also had an exciting experience at Mount Snow. ?It was the most fun I?ve ever had sober,? says Dan. ?It was a healthy rush. It reinforced that I could have fun sober.?


At Turning Point, recreational activities play a major part of the Preparative Care program. It is imperative that young men in early sobriety realize that it is possible to have fun without the use of drugs or alcohol. Activities such as snowmobiling also give residents the chance to bond with one another, and with staff members, while gaining new life experiences.

Next month, Casey Olayos has organized more go-cart trips, trampoline park visits, and paintballing, as well a visit to Webster Bank Arena for a monster truck show.

Unsung Hero
Unsung Hero Headshot

Tip Dougherty

Tip currently holds the position of Care Coordinator at Turning Point, managing basic operations at the clinical facility. Tip has been involved with Turning Point for over 5 years, initially arriving as a client back in 2009.

unsung hero quote

?It really is an honor receiving this award. This job helps to remind me of where I came from, and the struggles I had to go through to get to where I am today. I often take for granted how great it is to not dread showing up for work each day. I'm truly blessed to be a member of the Turning Point family.?

In addition to his work at Turning Point, Tip is enrolled in the Nursing Program at Southern Connecticut State University.

Events Calendar
From the Famliy

Sharon M. is the mother of Matt M., a resident currently in Phase III of Turning Point?s Preparative Care program.

In the two years following Matt?s graduation from college with a degree in Engineering, his mother and family experienced the pain and anxiety that comes with having an active drug addict in the family. Since Matt?s enrollment in Turning Point in January 2014, the family has experienced the reconnection, peace and healing of having an active member of recovery as part of the family.

Family photo

According to Sharon, Matt began using alcohol and drugs in high school. Sharon was aware of Matt?s social drinking and partying throughout high school and college, but there were no glaring dependency issues at this time. In the spring of 2012, Matt graduated from college and accepted a well-paying job offer in the engineering field. The family could not have more proud. A few months before his graduation, Matt was involved in an automotive accident and was placed on opiates for the pain. Sharon believes this was Matt?s introduction to the addictive substances that would soon control his life. ?The summer prior to Matt starting his job, I could just tell something was different,? explains Sharon. ?He looked funny, he was puffy, he always had brown spots under his eyes, but I had no idea what was wrong. Without my knowledge, he also started borrowing money from his brother? After I found out about the money, I confronted him and he admitted it was drugs.?

The addiction and subsequent symptoms continued to progress and in the winter of 2013, the family began to seek treatment for Matt. He first tried an outpatient program. Shortly after entering the outpatient program, Matt learned how to manipulate the system. Matt was passing the drug tests, but using the entire time. ?He was buying pills on the street, and then he was borrowing money left and right,? says Sharon. ?He started stealing money from his grandparents and stealing my ATM card. It was that snowball effect and it created a lot of anxiety for me. Every time my garage door opened I was just sick, because most of the time he came here he wanted money to pay drug dealers.?

The year that Matt was in the outpatient program was the height of his addiction. As Sharon describes, ?It was the year from hell.? At some point during that year, Sharon made the critical decision to seek support and education for herself. Sharon began seeing a psychologist who helped her appropriately handle the issue of addiction in the family. ?He was helping me realize I was enabling Matt,? says Sharon. ?At some point in time I had to set up a contract with Matt or kick him out of the house.? Unfortunately, the addiction symptoms persisted, and eventually Sharon came to the conclusion that Matt needed residential treatment. After doing extensive research, Sharon found a program in Colorado, which seemed suitable to address Matt?s issues. In January 2014, Matt boarded a plane to a 30-day treatment center in Colorado.

Matt returned home after four weeks, but because of a snowstorm, was not able to go straight to Turning Point. He experienced a short relapse while home, but went to detox and was enrolled in Turning Point in February 2014. Since his arrival in New Haven, Matt has dedicated himself to a life in recovery and has worked very hard to repair the relationships that were strained during his active addiction. ?I?m just so thankful that my son is alive,? admits Sharon. ?Because I know that there are parents out there that have lost their children. This has all been very very hard on our family, but through everything we have just risen above and become stronger. He?s a changed person and I?m hoping that he finds the peace in his life that was killing him for several years.?

This week, Sharon will be coming down to New Haven to join the Turning Point family in celebrating Matt?s one year of sobriety. As she explains, ?I thank God every day that he is where he is, and I pray that he continues forward and is good with his sober life.?

Resident Profile Resident picture

JJ B. is a resident currently in Phase III of Turning Point?s Preparative Care program.

After failing out of college and almost destroying himself mentally and physically through the use of alcohol and drugs, JJ found the Turning Point program and has worked feverishly to build a foundation in sobriety and find a purpose in his life.

JJ began drinking alcohol at the age of 14. From his very first drink, JJ felt like he had found his solution. He quickly found himself drinking or smoking marijuana on a daily basis and his new life, immersed in the drinking and drugging culture, became his identity. ?I always felt different,? explains JJ. ?But regardless of how good of friends I had, I always felt like I had one foot outside of the circle? It was being the guy always smoking [marijuana] and having it that made me feel a part of.? JJ?s substance abuse continued to escalate through high school and into college. In 2007, he left home for Colorado State in the hopes that the region?s acceptance of marijuana use would provide a welcoming culture for his way of life.

Like with many young addicts, the newfound freedom of college provided the opportunity for JJ?s addiction to rapidly progress. In his sophomore year, JJ moved off-campus and began drinking more than he ever had. The alcoholic symptoms of manipulation and dishonesty manifested. He was asked to leave the university in 2009. By this time, JJ had developed a progressed physical addiction to alcohol. ?I would wake up in the morning shaking,? confesses JJ. ?I justified it in my head, but I couldn?t even write my own name because my hands were shaking so bad. I had to drink at the beginning of each day just to function.?

Resident quote

He continued on that path and worked odd jobs and part-time jobs for the next several years, manipulating his parents and brother into thinking that everything was okay. By the end of 2013, JJ had reached rock bottom. ?I had no job and spent all day in my basement drinking to the point where I was basically agoraphobic,? says JJ. ?The only time I left my basement was to get more booze or cigarettes ... I was drinking to accept the fact that I was an alcoholic.? JJ had dwindled down to 120 pounds and had difficulty holding down food. ?I was a shell of my former self,? he admits.

Resident picture

In February of 2014, JJ?s mother came out to visit him in Colorado, and instead of going through the usual routine of cleaning himself up before her visit, JJ decided to show her what he had become. ?She immediately knew something was wrong,? says JJ. ?I was dying in front of her eyes.? Around the same time, JJ?s brother confessed to his mother that he believed JJ?s drinking had become debilitating. JJ?s mother confronted him about his drinking and gave him the option of going to treatment. ?As soon as she gave me the chance to do something, I had to take it because I knew I was going to die, and I didn?t want to die,? JJ insists.

JJ entered detox and then a 30-day treatment center near his home in Maryland. He had his doubts about a life of sobriety, but he listened to counselors and slowly began to accept the fact that he was an addict. Towards the end of his stay in primary treatment, he began looking into aftercare, and a brochure for Turning Point stuck out to him. ?I felt that a sober house was not enough for me,? says JJ. ?I was pretty thoroughly beaten to the point where I was willing to sacrifice a year of my life to have a chance to get it right the first time.? On March 19, 2014, JJ came to New Haven and enrolled in Phase I of Turning Point. Since his arrival, JJ has done an enormous amount of work building a foundation in recovery for his future. ?I wouldn?t have had the opportunities to work on myself without Turning Point,? says JJ. ?I think AA saved my life, and Turning Point gave me a solid introduction to AA.?

In July, JJ began working as a member of Turning Point?s Support Staff. ?This is the best job I?ve had by leaps and bounds,? declares JJ. ?Every day I get to come in and do my best to try and help people.?

JJ is currently scheduled to graduate from Turning Point in April. He plans to stay in New Haven and move into an apartment with a few sober friends.

Clinician's Corner
Clinicians headshot

Clinician's Title

The Changing Seasons
Winter in New England has been pretty rough this year. It has either been too much snow or too much of freezing cold temperatures. Some clients have been coming into session for the last few weeks and discussing their recent feelings of being overly tired, unmotivated, or just plain irritable. Winter time can really be a struggle for a lot of people. It can be especially troubling for those in early recovery and especially for those who experience the condition of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression which is related to the changes in the seasons, particularly from December to March, until daytime sunlight increases in the spring. Common symptoms include an increase in mood irritability, fatigue, sleepiness, withdrawal from social activities, and an increased appetite just to name a few. As clinicians, it becomes important to relay the importance for clients to keep putting �one foot in front of the other? and to not give in to opportunities to be lazy or break routine. It is beneficial to implement some action into our daily routine to minimize these wintertime blues. Exercise and proper nutrition are good ideas to keep us energized and healthy. Good sleeping habits and having time for relaxation is helpful as well, such as yoga or meditation. We cannot forget about the outdoor activities available despite the cold temperatures such as ice skating, sledding, hiking, or even walking the dog. A group of Phase I residents were able to experience a trip to Vermont for snowboarding, and despite the frigid temperatures they had all reported they were able to have a great experience! Having a solid support network is also helpful in that individuals can encourage their peers to participate in different activities and minimize the time indoors. Even having a gym partner or weekly coffee spot can be helpful in motivating one another.

The first day of spring, March 20th, is around the corner and it is important to also reflect on another changing year. Recovery reflects learning from the past and then beginning a new journey. There are so many similarities between springtime and recovery. Clients go through some of the darkest times in their lives before they see the light and reach out for support. Springtime could be that light. This will be a perfect time to reflect on where you are today, compared to where you came from, and acknowledge what has been working and what needs to be improved upon. If you have reached all your expectations then it is a great time to set new goals to continue growing in recovery. As the snow and ice melt away in the coming weeks, take the seasons change as a time to �reset? and begin to find that purpose and direction for a healthy and happy journey.

Alumni Life Alumni picture

John K. successfully completed the Turning Point program, and graduated on Thursday, February 19.

In his last few years before coming to New Haven, John?s life was a tangled web of jails, institutions, and near death experiences, but he has since made a decision to embrace recovery and commit himself to a life in sobriety.

John began drinking alcohol in 7th grade. A devoted and talented athlete, John did not initially allow drugs or alcohol to get in the way of sports. In 10th grade, a sports injury gave him a significant amount of free time and his drug use quickly escalated. He started experimenting with different substances and surrounding himself with people who were doing the same. Athletics soon became less important. He continued to excel on the field, but off the field his addiction was festering and his drug use was becoming more and more frequent. In 12th grade, John was introduced to opiates. ?It started with a couple of the guys on the team doing it,? explains John. ?Before I knew, by the end of the season I was addicted. I was doing it in the bathrooms and I was going through withdrawals.?

John began lying and stealing from his parents to pay for drugs. He was developing a severe addiction to opiates, but was able to keep up appearances. ?As long as I had good grades, my parents were oblivious to everything else,? John says. ?On the outside everything was good, but inside I was really crying for help.? Despite his substance abuse, John was still able to perform athletically and after high school he committed to play baseball at Towson University. By the time he arrived at Towson, drugs and alcohol had become much more important than sports, and John decided to quit the baseball team after only a few weeks. The opiate use continued to progress and he began selling drugs to support his habit.

Alumni quote

In March of 2010, after withdrawal symptoms became unbearable, John confronted his parents about his addiction. He was sent to treatment in Albany, New York, but left after only nine days. John relapsed the day after he got home, and picked up right where he left off. He went back to Towson and manipulated his way through an outpatient program that his parents insisted he attend. Toward the end of 2011, John began using heroin.

In 2012, John?s legal troubles began. He was assigned to drug court because of selling prescription painkillers and the next few years John repeatedly violated the conditions of the drug court program. He was given multiple chances, but he continued to use. ?They would send me to jail, then they would send me to rehab, jail, then rehab, jail, then rehab? admits John. ?I just kept violating.?

On January 9, 2014, while on a last chance contract with court, John used heroin once again after a period of sobriety. ?The next thing I knew I woke up with the paramedics over me,? says John. ?My parents and sisters were standing over me as the paramedics brought me back to life.? On an instinct, his mother and father had broken down the door to his room and found John having an overdose. ?Seeing the look on my parents faces that night broke my heart into a million pieces,? confesses John.

Alumni pic

John went to straight from the hospital to jail the next day. After spending two months in jail, John was given the opportunity to go to treatment and on March 1, 2014 he enrolled at Turning Point. He spent his first few weeks in the program ?faking it to make it?, but eventually things began to sink in. He developed close relationships with a few other residents and began finding comfort in his own skin. ?I started feeling like a normal human being,? says John. ?Going out to community service and helping others made me feel better about myself. It slowly built my confidence and made me realize that I can be sober and have fun.?

In Phase III, John was recognized for his hard work and given a job as a Turning Point House Manager. He spent his time in Phase III strengthening his sober network and creating a solid foundation for a life in recovery. He is currently taking a few courses at Southern Connecticut State University and this week will begin working at Turning Point as a member of the Support Staff. ?I want to stay connected with Turning Point because I believe in what they do,? says John.

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