Sharon M: A Family Reconnects After Addiction

how to rebuild your family after addiction

Sharon M. is the mother of Matt M., a resident currently in Phase III, the sober living phase, of Turnbridge’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 Turnbridge’s drug rehab in January 2014, the family has experienced the reconnection, peace and healing of having an active member of the recovery in the family.

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 dependence issues until after his graduation from college.  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 drug 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.  “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 Turnbridge.  He experienced a short relapse while home, but went to detox and was enrolled in Turnbridge 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 Turnbridge 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 with his sober life.”