Connor M. successfully completed Turnbridge’s Preparative Care program, graduating in April 2015. Connor’s addiction derailed his ambitions and put him in many dangerous situations, but his devotion to recovery and several motivating factors have helped him to get back on a healthy and positive path.
Connor began experimenting with drugs and alcohol while in high school but, according to Connor, the structure he was afforded at home prevented him from progressing to heavy use. His substance use escalated rapidly when he went off to Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “I got this freedom [when I went to college] and from the very first night I was there my priority was using and drinking,” explains Connor. “In my second semester I joined a fraternity. That had a big impact on my use.” After joining the fraternity, Connor began drinking and using on a daily basis.
In his sophomore year at Temple, Connor was introduced to Xanax. According to Connor, he immediately fell in love and started using the substance every day. Before long, he was physically addicted and started to experience withdrawals from the drug when it was unavailable. “I had no knowledge of Xanax withdrawal at the time,” says Connor. “It was scary. I didn’t eat for a month, I was puking my brains out, I was shaking uncontrollably and it also had a major effect on my psyche.” Connor eventually left Temple University and returned home in attempts to get his addiction under control. He was able to maintain a level of control while living at home and after a year he decided to return to Temple. When he got back to Temple he avoided Xanax, but he continued to abuse other substances. “The drinking was just becoming more and more frequent and then I was introduced to cocaine,” admits Connor. “It was like I was substituting substance after substance after substance.”
After one semester, Connor left Temple again and returned home to attend a community college. This time, Connor’s use continued to progress while at home. He began drinking and using cocaine on a daily basis. In November 2013, he was involved in severe car accident while under the influence. He avoided arrest that night, but two weeks later was pulled over by police and arrested for a DUI. Instead of changing his behavior, Connor used more. Eventually Connor and his parents came to the conclusion that drug treatment was necessary, and in April of 2014, Connor entered a primary treatment center. After two weeks in treatment, Connor made the decision to come to Turnbridge. He enrolled on April 28, 2014.
Connor experienced distressing news on several occasions while in Turnbridge. While in Phase I, a close college friend of Connor’s passed away from a substance abuse related accident. When he got to Phase III, sober living, Connor received news that his mother had a life threatening illness. Despite everything, Connor continued to stay focused on his recovery. “It was one thing after another and it was really tough,” Connor explains. “With everything going on … I just wanted to get away and go back home, but I had to stick it out because I promised my mother that I would. The whole time I was working with my sponsor and doing the steps and calling my sober network and telling them how I felt. I just kept trying to take suggestions.”
On April 15, 2015, Connor celebrated one year of sobriety and on April 16, he graduated from the Turnbridge program. He recently moved into an apartment with two friends from Turnbridge and he plans to stay in New Haven and finish his education. “I am grateful for getting clean and I’m grateful for my parents and friends not giving up on me,” Connor says. “But I’m more grateful for becoming an independent young man.”