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Matt L: Building a Foundation in Recovery

Matt L. successfully completed Turnbridge’s drug rehab program, and graduated in March 2015.  Before coming to New Haven, Matt had been to multiple 30-day addiction treatment centers.  For several years, he was stuck in a pattern of going to treatment and getting back on his feet long enough to get another job and mend broken relationships, but he would inevitably relapse and lose everything again.   Since coming to Turnbridge, Matt has taken the time and opportunities provided to build a solid foundation for a sustainable life in recovery.

Matt began smoking marijuana and drinking with friends around age 13.  In high school, he started experimenting with other substances like Adderall and cocaine.  He recognizes now that he had an addictive personality and was drinking and using excessively, but he was still able to perform in the classroom and on the athletic field at this time.  He graduated high school and attended Temple University in Philadelphia.  “Looking back now I see that I was drinking and using much more than the normal college student,” admits Matt.  “Most of my friends were just drinking on the weekend, but I was drinking every night.”  Despite his substance abuse, Matt graduated from Temple University and started working in the mental and behavioral health field.

Matt returned to his hometown in Pennsylvania after graduation, where prescription drug use had become rampant.  Matt began using prescription opiates and quickly became hooked.  The progression of Matt’s disease took off after his introduction to opiates and it wasn’t long before he was using heroin.  Thus began a long cycle of treatment centers, periodic sobriety, job changes and arrests.  He would go to treatment, get out, and look for external things to fix his internal problem.  “I was always looking for something else as an excuse as to why I won’t need to use,” says Matt.  “Usually for me it was a better job.  A better job was going to make me happier and solve my problems.  But it never did.”  

using a long term approach to addiction treatmentIn 2012, Matt was working for the state of Pennsylvania in Domestic Relations, and in the midst of his addiction, he was transferred to Probation.  “I know its crazy, but I was working as a probation officer with a full blown drug addiction.  I was living these two polar opposite lives,” says Matt.  He sought treatment again, but relapsed soon after getting out.  He tried methods like Suboxone maintenance but eventually went back to heroin.  By the end of 2014, Matt had lost everything and had reached a new bottom.  “When I was admitted to the emergency room in the end,” explains Matt, “I was three months behind in rent.  I was unable to speak.  I was in trouble with work because I was stealing money to support my habit.  I was just in such a horrible lonely emotional place.  It was the worst it had ever been.”

On January 23, 2014, Matt went to rehab once again, but this time he knew he needed long-term treatment.  After 28 days at a primary care center, Matt came to New Haven and was enrolled at Turnbridge.  When he got here, he was ready.  He had nothing left to lose and nothing to go back to.  He started taking suggestions and doing everything that was asked of him.  He got a sponsor and built a sober network and slowly the work started to pay off.  In Phase III, Matt was recognized for his responsibility and commitment to recovery and was awarded a job as a Phase III House Manager.  

“Turnbridge provided me with the recovery atmosphere, structure, accountability and support that I needed,” says Matt.  “Obviously, you need to do the work yourself, but the program offered me the opportunity to make that decision for myself and put in the footwork.”  Matt graduated from the program on March 2, 2015, and is now living in the area with friends that he met while in the program.  He is grateful for the opportunities he has gotten and the relationships he now has with his family.  “Now my relationships with my family are better than they’ve ever been,” Matt says.  “I know my mom and dad are sleeping at night.  I’ll never forget my mom crying on the phone the last time I was in treatment, talking about how they are going to pay for treatment or they’re going to be paying for my funeral.  At least now she doesn’t think that way anymore.”