Brendan F. is a client currently in Phase III, the sober living portion, of Turnbridge’s Preparative Care program. At the age of 24, Brendan’s addiction has led him to some dark places and caused him to compromise many of his values, but his recent hard work and dedication to a life in sobriety has brought about a new sense of optimism.
Brendan began experimenting with drugs and alcohol at age 12. It started with stealing alcohol out of parent’s liquor cabinets and soon escalated to smoking marijuana. He went off to boarding school for high school to pursue athletics and academics, but his drinking and using continued to progress. Admittedly, Brendan’s fast decline into addiction had derailed many of his aspirations. “Any goals and ambitions that I had I just pushed to the side,” explains Brendan. “And I didn’t really feel any regret at the time. I had things I was good at and could have pursued, but I just decided not to because I didn’t care.” Through high school and into college, Brendan’s partying was manageable and he didn’t see any major consequences, but given the direction he was heading, the academic consequences of addiction were inevitable.
Brendan went down to New Orleans for college and left after a year of little schoolwork and lots of drinking. When he returned home that summer, Brendan was introduced to prescription opiates and developed a new infatuation and addiction. For the next several years, Brendan went to multiple schools, treatment centers, sober houses and wilderness programs all over the country. There were periods of abstinence and academic achievement, but he struggled maintaining happiness and success in sobriety. Around the beginning of 2014, while living in Colorado, things came to momentous boiling point. “I was sleeping on couches, stealing from everyone I knew, pawning all sorts of things and selling drugs to support my habit,” admits Brendan. “I was doing everything I needed to get high at that point. Finally, my girlfriend at the time called my mom and told her what I was doing and my parents brought me back to Connecticut.” His behavior continued when he returned home. The fun had ended, but Brendan could not stop.
In August 2014, Brendan finally gave up and decided to seek treatment. His family helped him get into a rehab center once again, but this time Brendan was convinced he was an addict and was ready to change. “I felt relieved because I realized I didn’t have to be miserable anymore,” Brendan says. “I was pretty willing at that point. I had made the decision for myself to get better because I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted it be over. I wanted to get better.” After primary treatment, Brendan decided to attend an aftercare program and enrolled in Turnbridge in September 2014.
Brendan came to New Haven and decided to take suggestions and follow direction. Things quickly began to improve. The Turnbridge community was a much-needed change from the lifestyle he had become accustomed to in recent years. “I was in good spirits when I got here because it was the first time in a while I was being social,” explains Brendan. “It was a comforting feeling because there was always someone around. It wasn’t just me in my head, which was kind of making me crazy before.” Brendan got a sponsor and started taking sobriety seriously. He was recognized for his hard work and offered a job as a House Manager after advancing to Phase III. “Constantly doing the next right thing has made me happier and for the first time in a while, I have an optimistic viewpoint on life,” Brendan says.