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JULY 2014
Family Mailbag


"As parents we felt desperate because we feared this program would turn out to be like the rest. After so many unsuccessful attempts to reach our son and help him we still remained hopeful and knew he could do it. This time it proved to be different. Turning Point showed him that he could live a sober life. The staff at Turning Point stood right by Dave providing support, encouragement and forcing him to look deep into himself for Answers. It was a breath of fresh air to see Dave taking control of his own life an actually enjoying it better than he had since he was a young boy."

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In This Issue
Recreation & Lifestyle
This month, close to fifty residents from Phase I and Phase II hit the high seas for a day of deep sea fishing, and most didn't come back empty-handed. Once again, Recreation Coordinator Casey Olayos organized a fun, engaging activity in which everyone had a good time, regardless if they hooked a Bluefish or a Striper. The group departed from Groton and traveled out deep into the Atlantic to test their skills with the rod-and-wheel.

Recreational activities at Turning Point are designed to provide the residents with the opportunity to have fun in a sober setting while enjoying the fellowship and camaraderie that events such as this often create. In addition to simply having a good time, the residents often get to try many activities for the first time. This adds another dimension to "getting out of the house," and it helps to expand horizons in a safe and sober setting.

This was the first time that resident Drew P. had ever been deep sea fishing, and he even managed to snag a Bluefish to commemorate the occasion ."It was fun," Drew said. "We had a good time. A lot of us got motion sick, but it was fun." According to Drew, his favorite part of the day was standing at the top of the boat, looking out at the ocean and spending time with his fellow residents.

Residents also gathered on Thursday, June 26, for a picnic to watch USA battle Germany in a World Cup match. Upcoming rec events include go-karting, a favorite of many residents, a trip to local batting cages, as well as a day on the driving range.


Dylan C.
Zachary K.
Ryan D.
Patrick N.

28 Months
Joseph M.

Kevin S. 

Josh F.
Brian M.
Michael R.
Ethan E.

Scott F.
Brandon T.
Ryan E.

Shane F.
Tyler E.
Mark S.
Alex C.
Joe P.
Patrick N.

Chris H.
Connor L.
Ryan D.
Demetri A.
Jesse S.
Micah P.

Cameron B.
Chris P.
William D.
Sean M.

Nick J.
Peter Z.
Dimitri H.

Andrew A.
Micah P.
Baxter D.
Max V.
Kyle G.


Craig B.
Isaac F.
Ryan R.
Domenic M.
Andrew G.
John K.
Jeff S.
Matthew L.
Coleman F.
Clayton S.

Paul A.
Harrison G.
Amory B.
James B.
Jordan B.
Oren O.
Matthew M.
Allan P.
Thomas R.
Kyle D.
James D.
Will C.

Nick C.
Jack R.
Owen T.
Andrew B.
Clinics Corner Header

The Marriage of Clinical Services and Sober Living 
in Recovery
When a person is admitted into a treatment center for drug and alcohol addictions, there is often a hope or a wish that after one month the issues have gone away. Many times professionals will hear the reasons why the individual has to go home. "I have so much to do", "I have to get back to work", "I have to go back to school" and so on. Going back into life is a challenge for anyone suffering from a chronic illness. The diabetic wants to eat sweets with impunity; the person suffering from lung disease wants to go back to playing sports; etc. Battling addiction can be harder to overcome and the consequences from not "getting it right" are just as, if not more, deadly than the others. So, what to do?

The idea of long term structure following a stay at inpatient treatment is not a new concept, and 12-Step immersion plays a vital role. Abstinence is at the core of the 12-Step philosophy, and it serendipitously follows the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement in relapse prevention. This modality provides positive relationships, external supervision (network), and increased spirituality.

Another important factor to success is life skills education. Staying sober is more than just going to a 12 step meeting. It involves positive changes to your life; learning how to be independent, while limiting the stressors that have been stumbling blocks. The 12 steps believe that one must "practice these principles in all of our affairs". Well, it's hard to stay clean and sober if you can't hold a job, do your laundry, cook a meal, or effectively budget your finances. Learning how to make healthy choices does not come natural for anyone with addictions. Whether they were self-medicating or the life of the party, the symptoms of the disease of addiction make it difficult to follow through with life's "daily" chores. Getting the appropriate education on these details is crucial. This can also be used to have some fun. Learning how to live substance free shouldn't be a punishment. Addicts need to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We can live life, just live it without the use of drugs and alcohol.

Continuing clinical services is another step to sustaining long term sobriety. In order for the individual or the sober living environment to be successful, they must fight the addiction from multiple directions. They must uncover every piece of the puzzle.

The marriage of clinical services and sober living is a relatively new concept. Once we thought that 30 days of treatment was the golden ticket to success (I will point out that over the years we also once thought that addicts needed brain surgery and or to be lock in an insane asylum until they were cured). So the evolution of what works takes many forms and a lot of times is trial and error. History has shown that the most effective way to combat this deadly disease is to hit it from all angles.

Working in conjunction with 12 step immersion process and life skills education, Clinicians can continue to foster a therapeutic relationship with clients to work on developing and maintaining appropriate use of coping skills and clinical interventions.

Associate Executive Director

With over a decade of professional experience in the field of substance abuse treatment, Bill has held a variety of positions in both management as well as direct-care capacities. He is a Nationally and Internationally Credentialed Drug and Alcohol Counselor, and a BLS & CPR trainer through the American Heart Association. Bill's passion and motivation for helping others stems largely from his personal experience in recovery.

Bill is a certified firefighter, having spent time as an officer at his local Fire Department. He believes in volunteering his time to those less fortunate, and is actively involved with his local food pantry.

Ethan E. is currently a resident in Phase III of the Turning Point program.

He spent years battling his addiction, completing various programs before suffering several relapses. Today, he is doing well in the program and he works hard to maintain his sobriety and a positive outlook.

According to Ethan, he began using drugs around the age of fourteen. He played baseball in high school, and during his sophomore year a "falling out" with the coach led to a notable increase in his drug abuse. "My senior year I was forced off the team," Ethan said. "That's really when I started using every day." Ethan attempted an IOP to treat his addiction during high school, but "literally just showed up and stared blankly."

After graduating high school, Ethan moved away to college at the University of Delaware where his drug use expanded from alcohol and marijuana to include amphetamines and benzodiazepines. He was placed on academic suspension after receiving four student conduct violations, and he moved back to Texas as a result. Once there, Ethan attended another IOP to seriously address his addiction for the first time.

He soon enrolled in a community college and suffered a relapse that included his initial use of cocaine. Over the next two years, Ethan attempted several different treatment programs and suffered two psychotic episodes. In May, 2013, at the end of his junior year, Ethan suffered the second of these attacks, prompting another treatment attempt that led to his current tenure at Turning Point.

"Right now I have thirteen months sober," Ethan said. "The most change has occurred during that time. Up until about maybe five months ago, in a strange way I was still living my life in total denial...just really warped thinking and a lot of justification. It took six to eight months for my thinking to get back to a normal pace and for my head to get straight again. I think the biggest change that's occurred over these last four years is my emotional stability and emotional maturity. In this last year my emotional state has really solidified."

In the fall, Ethan plans to return to college in pursuit of a degree in business management, and eventually he hopes to move back to Texas in order to start his own company. Ethan stresses the importance of the friends that he has made while a resident at Turning Point. "Really without the people that I've met here, the friends and the staff, I wouldn't be the person that I am today. Even though my sobriety has been my doing, I wouldn't have been able to filter out the negative and stick with the positive without the people that I can bounce things off of. My roommate now is going to be my roommate after Turning Point. It couldn't have worked out any better."

"I wouldn't have been able to stay sober without the friends that I made in Turning Point, and the friends that stuck by me through thick and thin before Turning Point. I most definitely wouldn't be able to stay sober without the support of my parents. Thank you to my Phase I Case Manager, Sam Cohen; Phase II Case Manager, Alan Griffin; both of the Case Managers that I've had in Phase III, Matt Walker and Chas Lankford; and to the guys in my house, Cameron B., Matt L., and Andrew G. The support from my parents is the greatest thing to ever happen to me. Finally having trust is huge; it's a very fulfilling feeling."


Grant G

Grant G.
is Turning Point's Unsung Hero for the month of July. Grant currently serves as Turning Point's Volunteer Coordinator, a position he has held for over a year since his transition from the Support Staff.

As Volunteer Coordinator, Grant works to establish and maintain relationships with various non-profit agencies in the community. He assists Phase II residents in locating volunteer positions, and he frequently checks in throughout the day at any of the 21 different agencies which actively participate with the Turning Point program.

The most rewarding part of working at Turning Point is "helping the guys get back up on their feet." "I was in the same position," Grant said. "At one point, I didn't think change was possible. It's about being there for these guys as other staff members were there for me. It really makes the difference, I think."
Mike B. is a successful graduate of the Turning Point program. After suffering a relapse from his first treatment attempt, Mike has worked hard to maintain his sobriety and he is well on his way to living a happy and stable life.

According to Mike, he began experimenting with drugs at the age of 17, during the summer before his senior year of high school. He continued to experiment and use recreationally throughout the rest of high school and into his time away at Florida State University. After a car accident, Mike was prescribed pain medication, and his drug abuse skyrocketed. He used any excuse he could find to take more and over time things worsened severely.

Shortly after the car accident and his subsequent drug abuse, Mike entered his first primary treatment program. "I went voluntarily," Mike said. "I only really did it to get [my parents] off my back. I didn't have the desire to get clean at that point."

Mike stayed at the sober living program for four months before suffering a relapse. This led to a brief period of time when Mike lived on the couches of various friends, all while his battle with addiction raged in the background. "Things got bad," Mike said. "I ended up getting arrested, and I asked for help. I felt like I had hit bottom and I wanted help. I got to the point where I said to myself, 'I don't want to do this anymore.'"

Mike's mom bailed him out of jail, and he was soon entered into Mountainside's treatment program. He completed the program and soon after became at resident at Turning Point. "I dedicated myself to becoming clean before I even got to Mountainside," Mike said. "However, I was miserable and not on a good path until I was seven months clean. It took seven months of me grinding my way through."

"The way I see it, I learned a lot about recovery at Mountainside, and about getting clean. At Turning Point, I learned more but the bigger thing is that I learned how to live a structured life that kept me out of trouble. There was a big emphasis on sobriety and on recovery, and what I took from it was to do the right things. It was a great environment for me. I think it was good overall, productive, and helpful."

"I definitely don't feel like the same person," Mike said. "Responsibility is a big part of it. Even though I don't always like going to work, I like the fact that I'm responsible for myself. I'm making a big effort to provide for myself. One thing that was very paramount to me, in my life and recovery, is when I really started to develop relationships with people outside of recovery...when I was actually able to start effectively interacting with people that didn't have to do with my recovery. It was a big point in my life. I felt like I was actually part of the world again."

Since graduating from Turning Point's program, Mike has worked hard to maintain a stable and productive life. He met a wonderful woman named Amanda, and the two are now engaged. Mike is currently majoring in math and computer science, and may pursue a career in computer programming. "My life's amazing now, and it wasn't before."

From the Family Header
Jim and Barbara F. are the parents of Dave, a successful graduate of the Turning Point program.  As Dave progressed through various stages in his drug addiction, Jim and Barbara tried a wide range of interventions in order to help him. For years, these treatment attempts were unsuccessful, but after Dave decided to turn his life around, he accepted the help of those around him and he has worked hard to maintain a stable and sober lifestyle.

According to Jim and Barbara, Dave began having issues with drugs and his behavior changed drastically when he was around the age of 13. Dave was naturally smart in his first years of school. According to Jim, "he never had to do any work, it just came to him." As the years went by, he hit a "wall;" he needed to work harder and wasn't accustomed to it, and he fell out of the group of "braniac" kids that he was with.

At this point in his life, Dave spent several years trying to find his place among his peers. According to his parents, his behaviors shifted then toward that of the "recalcitrant kid" and the "class clown." "He did outrageous stuff," Dave's parents said. "He gained a lot of notoriety. He was trying to find his place, and found it with people that were not helpful to him." The circle of friends that Dave grew accustomed to eventually left the drugs and shenanigans behind, progressing through that phase while Dave never moved out of it.

In Dave's teenage years, his parents tried a range of intervention and treatment options in order to reach through to Dave and to curb his drug abuse. "You name it, we tried it," his parents said. "We tried everything trying to break the cycle." Dave tried boarding schools, wilderness programs, detox clinics, and sessions with both psychologists and sociologists. It wasn't until the latter stages of his drug abuse, when Dave first started using heroin, that his parents knew he was an addict.

By this point, Dave was miserable, and he was ready to commit himself to change. "We didn't have to push David too hard at this stage," his parents said. "He was ready, and was tired of his life." Dave volunteered for, and successfully completed, the program at Gosnold on Cape Cod. While he was there, the staff told Jim and Barbara that Dave needed to change his surroundings, that "if he goes back to the same environment, he's a goner." The counselors at Gosnold recommended options for resident programs, and Dave chose Turning Point.
According to Jim and Barbara, Dave was initially rebellious in the program, but with time and the incremental phase system that Turning Point uses, he has turned his life around and dedicated himself to sobriety and to the Turning Point community. "This time it proved to be different," Jim and Barbara said. "Dave decided that he needed to change his life. Turning Point provided the path to live a sober life. The staff at Turning Point stood right by Dave for providing support, encouragement and forcing him to look deep into himself for answers. They also gave us guidance and taught us more about what it would take for Dave to get through each phase of the program. I truly believe the different phase structure allows each resident to feel they have made incremental success. .towards a goal that together, with each other, they were trying to achieve." 

"We could see our son coming back to us slowly. We also could see that Dave now had a new family...his sober family. Together they formed bonds of friendship which strengthened their commitment to sobriety. It was a breath of fresh air to see Dave taking control of his own life and actually enjoying it better than he had since he was a young boy. Now, after three years, we can see Dave being supportive to others trying to achieve that same goal."

Dave began working for Turning Point soon after graduating and he currently serves as Director of Support Staff. "It's more than just a job for David," his parents said. "He really cares about what he does to help other people. He has chosen to stay at Turning Point and in Connecticut which proves to us his commitment and maturity. We are so proud of our son. We love him dearly and thank all of you at Turning Point for giving us our son and him a chance to live."
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