Carol R. is the mother of Jack, a successful Turnbridge graduate. Jack came to Turnbridge after completing primary treatment at Mountainside Treatment Center, and since committing to treatment he has worked hard to stay sober and rebuild his family relationships. Addiction can strike in any family, and Carol is using her experience with Jack to spread awareness and educate her community. According to Carol, Jack began smoking marijuana on a regular basis around the age of 16. In his teenage years, Jack was angry and rebellious, and during high school he was diagnosed with depression. Carol unsuccessfully tried to convince Jack to stop smoking marijuana, and his drug use intensified in college where he drank alcohol and experimented with other substances.
“It got to the point when he came back from college we told him he couldn’t go back,” Carol said. “He was just very angry and confrontational. He would steal from us. It was hard to live with him at that point. We suggested that he get help from a counselor, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with that. At one point, we had to ask him to leave our house. We have younger children, and we felt the atmosphere was not good.” Jack moved out, and went to live in his former college town for a few months. According to Carol, he called her often during this period of time, asking for money. With the help of a local intervention consultant, Carol realized that Jack was suffering from addiction, and she once again pleaded for him to seek help. Jack initially tried to “make deals” in exchange for entering treatment, but Carol was firm and he eventually decided to enter Mountainside’s primary treatment program. Jack quickly became acclimated to treatment, and ceased balking at the idea of recovery. The staff at Mountainside recommended he enter an extended care program, and Jack chose Turnbridge because of their music studio. Jack graduated from Turnbridge in April 2013, and has continued to work hard in his recovery. According to Carol, Jack did well in the program, becoming a House Manager at Turnbridge in addition to his responsibilities as supervisor in a local coffee shop. “His behavior has improved, and we have a much better relationship,” Carol said. “I can talk to him now, and I have a lot more trust and faith in him than I did before. He has a better outlook, and is a lot more positive than he was. He was always negative before and defensive, and he was always blaming us. Now, he takes responsibility for himself. He has matured a lot. I’m very thankful for everything that has happened to him in the last year.” While Jack was working his program at Mountainside and Turnbridge, Carol and the rest of the family were also fighting their own battle: learning how to cope. Addiction never affects just the user, and the burden it places on the families involved can sometimes seem unbearable. Love and support are often the only ways in which this burden can be eased. According to Carol, the family workshops and support groups offered by Diana Clark and Lauren Springer were invaluable during Jack’s residency at Turnbridge, and the support that the two groups offer continues after his graduation. With the experience and knowledge gained during this ordeal, Carol has joined a local group, The Coalition for a Better Wallingford, and is helping to educate her community and spread awareness of addiction and substance abuse.