Zachary is a recent graduate of Turnbridge’s sober living program. Zachary came to Turnbridge after completing primary treatment in California, and since he made the personal decision to seek help he has worked hard to maintain a stable and sober lifestyle. According to Zachary, his issues with substance abuse began around the age of 15, kicking off a period of ten years in which he continuously used “with varying degrees of intensity.” After going to school in Ohio, he moved to Oakland where he began to have a serious battle with painkillers. When Zachary moved to Oakland he was struggling financially to fund his addiction. At the time, his mother was sending money to pay for his therapy sessions, and he was using that money to buy drugs. According to Zachary, his therapist knew some details about his substance abuse issues, but he wasn’t being completely honest with him. “It basically got to the point where I couldn’t pay my therapist,” Zachary said. “I had no choice but to tell him. He suggested that I go into a program, but I was hesitant at first.” At this point Zachary was selling unwanted clothes and different odds-and-ends, and when it got to the point where he considered selling his beloved guitar, he broke down and decided to tell his parents about his problem. “I was tired of running, and I knew that I needed to get help,” Zachary said. “I didn’t know what it was going to be like. All I knew was that the way that I felt, I couldn’t go on feeling that way. People say they couldn’t live with it, and couldn’t live without it; that’s basically where I was at.” He convinced his therapist to break the news to his parents, and soon entered a detox and 28-day program in Oakland. Zachary’s attempt at primary drug treatment was successful, and his parents later discovered Turnbridge when researching long term drug rehab facilities. Zachary was hesitant at first, but he decided to enter the program and has since made steady progress. As a resident, he worked hard to follow the program and to build his sober network. He made a great group of friends as a resident, and considers his time in the East Rock house to be his favorite part of the Turnbridge experience. “Since coming to Turnbridge, I understand now,” Zachary said. “There’s always going to be things that I need to work on about myself. I’m willing to look at myself and see things that aren’t good: my patterns of behavior and the way that I think. In the past I wasn’t willing to look at myself. I’ve changed. I’m more comfortable forming relationships with people, something that’s always been difficult for me. Building a sober network wasn’t easy for me. It became an important part of my recovery.” Zachary plans to remain in the New Haven area for the foreseeable future. In Phase III of the Turnbridge program he took on a part-time job, and he plans to attend either Gateway or SCSU to resume his college education in order to eventually start a career as an elementary school teacher or a counselor.