ANTHONY M - From Gosnold Drug Treatment to Turning Point Extended Care and Sober Living

"Turnbridge Extended Care Sober Living Alumni share their stories about their memories, friendships, experiences, and perspectives of their time at Turnbridge. Enjoy the stories and consider sharing your own. Send your Alumni Experiences to alumni@tpextendedcare.com."   Anthony started smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol when he was 12 years old.  His recreational drug use extended to pills and cocaine throughout high school, blossoming into heroin addiction by the time Anthony was 18.  “Everything turned into a disaster in high school,” Anthony said.  “I went from being a star athlete and having baseball scholarships offered to becoming academically ineligible to play sports my senior year and they pulled the scholarships off the table.” At this point in Anthony’s life, high school friends were moving on to college and progressing with their lives while he was left behind.  “I tried to go to junior college, but it didn’t really work out,” Anthony said, and by that point he was sniffing heroin.  He spent a lot of his life as a young adult in and out of various detox and rehab programs in the Boston area. Anthony’s first detox experience was at age 18 when he was prescribed Methadone for his opiate addiction.  After relapsing, he was in this third detox attempt by 19, when doctors there gave him Suboxone.  Over the next five years, Anthony was visiting his detox center frequently to receive the Suboxone prescription, but kept using heroin in the meantime. “I would go through periods where I would do the right things, a couple of months, a few weeks,” Anthony said, but he made no conscious effort to be completely sober.  “Suboxone was that scapegoat for me.  Each week I knew when I could use heroin, and I would have no consequences.” After Anthony missed several appointments at the detox center, and finally showed up with significantly high opiate levels in his urine test, staff at the center gave him an ultimatum.  Anthony said, “They told me ‘Anthony look, you’ve been doing this for years.  How bad do you really want it?’”  They threatened to take Anthony off of Suboxone completely, something he didn’t want to happen, so he went through detox at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston. Following the heroin detox, Anthony went to Gosnold on Cape Cod, a drug addiction treatment center in Cataumet, Massachusetts.  While spending 40 days there, he had a breakthrough following a conversation with a counselor named Rachel.  “She told me Suboxone was one of my problems,” Anthony said,” and that I knew I could fall back on it as a crutch.  At that rehab, I ended up detoxing off the Suboxone to get off everything together.” Some of Anthony’s friends at Gosnold told him about the Turnbridge program in New Haven, Connecticut for extended care and sober living.  He waited until a spot opened, and became a resident in September, 2011.  “I had been to numerous detoxes and drug rehabs, but I had never been to an extended stay long term drug treatment center like Turnbridge before,” Anthony said.  “I liked the recreational activities.  You come to a place like Turnbridge and you initially get that camaraderie and you grow relationships with the guys who are struggling through the same situations. ” Anthony graduated and left Turnbridge on August 1, 2012, after spending about ten months in the sober living program.  He got a job at a restaurant in New Haven while a resident, and continues to work there after graduation.  He said he is staying sober and happy with life in New Haven; he’s got a good network and great friends. Anthony said the case managers at Turnbridge “help along the way to motivate, provide recommendations, and serve as positive role models. “  In the program residents are held accountable for even simple tasks like making their beds and cleaning, and Anthony said these responsibilities have carried over into life after graduation. “I absolutely would recommend Turnbridge to other young men for sober living.  Without a doubt I’d be dead or still using if it wasn’t for Turnbridge.  It saved my life.”