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Turnbridge’s Reintegration Model featured in Recovery Campus Magazine

Academic Reintegration Process


Recovery Campus

A three-phase program helps young men restore their lives and prepare to pursue their dreams. It’s no secret that academic derailment is one of the most common consequences of addiction, and the stresses of campus life can be one of the biggest challenges to recovery. At Turnbridge in New Haven, CT, young men ages 18 to 24 benefit from a unique, three-phase approach aimed at helping them succeed in recovery and in life. Many new residents arrive at Turnbridge after completing traditional 30- to 60-day inpatient drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs, and many have experienced years of substance abuse before entering rehab—years in which high school and college were completely disrupted, ambitions dissolved, and high hopes quickly fell. “Studies of long-term use show such psychological effects as delayed maturity and development, gradual disconnection from emotions, and loss of ability to make and carry out sustainable plans for the future,” explained David Vieau, president and founder of Turnbridge. “What that means, in real life terms, is that young people who abuse substances lose the ability to cope with everyday life in a healthy way. Not only do they need to recover from their addiction—they need to relearn how to live.” “During their weeks in treatment, our residents have begun learning new coping skills, but the inpatient setting allows them no room to practice or apply these skills in real life,” said Albert Samaras, vice president of Turnbridge. “Consequently, they’re returning to the daily stressors of home, classroom, work, and life, and they’re unprepared for it. Also, it’s common for young men who struggle with addiction to have co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Without attention to these issues, it’s extremely difficult for them to build healthy life skills and repair relationships.” Turnbridge’s New Haven location makes it particularly well suited for a positive transition from treatment to academic life. Neighboring colleges include Yale University, Southern Connecticut State University, Gateway Community College, and Quinnipiac University. The New Haven area is also home to a large and thriving sober community, whose members interact with Turnbridge residents as friends and mentors. Though it combines integrated addiction treatment with graduated levels of residential care, Turnbridge believes those two should happen at different locations—in other words, that young men should not receive treatment where they live, and vice versa. All clinical treatment is handled at Center for Change in downtown New Haven, with treatment plans based on the clinical needs of each resident and tailored to ensure the most effective approaches for sustainable recovery. For the residential component, Turnbridge places a premium on the following:

  • Structure to overcome the physical, mental, and spiritual chaos of addiction.
  • Community to provide a circle of mutual support.
  • Environments carefully chosen to offer peace, access to nature, safety, and comfort.
  • Recreation for self-discipline, endurance, challenge, teamwork, and stress relief.
  • Time for each young resident to make the journey on his own calendar.

The emphasis at Turnbridge is on gradual reintegration, with structure provided like scaffolding from the outside, until residents are ready to stand and move forward on their own. Residents move through each phase of the program at their own pace, with a new case manager there to guide them through each one. Here’s how it works:            

Phase I —Showing Up for Life This is the most highly structured phase of the program, where residents deepen their previous rehab experience or begin an intensive program of recovery. Working very closely with their case manager, they’re focused on understanding their addiction and reacquiring basic skills of self-care and daily living—regulating their sleep, eating healthy meals, maintaining a regular schedule, etc. Though Turnbridge offers extensive family support, during this first phase, residents’ contact with their families is strictly limited to curb their natural impulse to abandon the very difficult journey toward early recovery. Phase I residents live at the serene Stone Manor at Spring Glen in Hamden, CT.           

Phase II—Planning for Life These residents continue living in a community of their peers at The Henry Barnes mansion on the outskirts of New Haven, but now they begin taking on more responsibility for their daily lives. They practice grocery shopping, preparing nutritious meals for themselves, and maintaining their own schedules. And they have more frequent contact with their families. They also begin working with their case manager to formulate a workable plan toward financial independence and find part-time work or volunteer activities. With the help of Turnbridge’s academic advisors, sisters Shannon and Kaitlyn Duffy of College Admissions Consultants, they begin plotting their academic course, whether that means completing the requirements for a high school diploma, earning a GED through an adult education program in New Haven, or taking a college course at a local university.          

Phase III–Living the Life Once they’ve met Turnbridge’s expectations for Phase II, residents move to the least restrictive level of care at Quinnipiac River Village, a safe, structured environment with on-site case managers, support staff, and other resources designed to help reduce the risk of relapse. Residents are enrolled in college classes and are employed or volunteering. Through College Admissions Consultants, they can get assistance in choosing and applying to colleges, applying for financial aid, choosing a college essay topic, and more. They also can take advantage of discharge planning services to prepare them to leave Turnbridge and embrace life on their own. Ultimately, Turnbridge wants to set each of these young men on a promising path, fully grounded in their recovery and enrolled in a quality educational institution that will help them pursue their dreams. Having successfully made this challenging journey, the dream that some Turnbridge graduates most want to pursue . . . is helping others. “I like giving back to people like me,” said Nate, a Turnbridge graduate now studying social work at Southern Connecticut State University and hoping to open a private practice. “School’s going really well. It’s much easier to do well when you’re not getting high. I’m actually interested in the classes I’m taking! It’s hard to explain how much better my life is now. It’s a totally different life.”

For more information call  877.581.1793.