Jesse Z. is a client currently in Phase III, the sober living portion, of Turnbridge’s Preparative Care program. Before coming to New Haven, Jesse spent several years struggling to manage his addiction and maintain a normal life while still using drugs and alcohol. When consequences finally pushed him to the brink, he accepted help. With the encouragement and support of those around him, Jesse has embraced recovery and flourished in the process.
Jesse began using alcohol and drugs around age twelve. As with most addicts, drug use began as a social activity among friends, but it quickly became part of his everyday routine. In his sophomore year of high school, Jesse’s addiction progressed to cocaine use. In his junior year, he began using prescription opiates. Jesse was beginning to experience consequences from his drug use, but despite these consequences, his addiction continued to progress. “What really catapulted my drug use was when I got out of high school and started making a lot of money doing masonry,” says Jesse. “I was making a lot for an eighteen-year-old and I didn’t know the value of money so I was just spending it all on drugs.”
Over the next few years, Jesse used prescription opiates every day and was arrested several times due to his drug use. He went to numerous detoxes and 30-day treatment centers, but at no point during that period did he consider trying to maintain sobriety. At age 23, a break-up with a long-time girlfriend sent Jesse deeper into his addiction. “When we broke up I would just come home after work and get high on the couch,” Jesse admits. “Eventually I lost the apartment because I was spending all my money on drug and I got heavily in debt because I wasn’t paying any of my bills.”
In 2014, Jesse was arrested while on probation and was forced to spend 30 days in a correctional facility, where he detoxed from opiates on the floor of a cold jail cell. Jesse’s mother began researching drug rehab options while he was in the facility. After his discharge, Jesse came to New Haven and enrolled in Turnbridge in July 2014. He agreed to go to treatment to satisfy the courts and his parents. Jesse was only biding time until he could go back to using drugs, but somewhere along the way his mindset started to change. “I don’t know what it was but there was a certain point in Turnbridge where the aspects of sobriety started to outweigh the aspects of going home and back to my old life,” Jesse says.
Throughout Phases I and II, Jesse took suggestions from staff and started to get involved in the New Haven 12-step recovery community. According to Jesse, the major breakthrough in his early recovery occurred when he developed a strong relationship with his Phase III Case Manager. “That’s what did it for me,” Jesse explains. “The way he got through to me and pushed me to really connect with people in Alcoholics Anonymous totally changed my outlook on sobriety and life.”
Jesse plans to stay in the New Haven area after he graduates from Turnbridge in July. As he says, “My career is in Boston and I could go back up now and start working again, but I want to stay here and stay connected to the network I’ve built.”