Paul A. is a resident currently in Phase III of Turnbridge’s sober living program. Paul’s addiction to drugs and alcohol put him in some trying and difficult situations, but his recent devotion to a life in recovery has led to healing and change.
Paul began smoking marijuana in the 7th grade with the kids in his neighborhood. Drugs and alcohol quickly became a large part of Paul’s identity. “The thing to do in my crowd was to get high or drunk,” says Paul. “It started out as a weekend thing, and before I knew it I was smoking [weed] and drinking every day.” His addiction continued to progress through high school, and he was introduced to cocaine and hallucinogens in 11th grade. Paul started stealing to pay for his habit. In 12th grade, he was arrested and went to a juvenile hall facility, where he received his high school diploma.
Paul was introduced to opiates and heroin after high school. This was when his addiction and illegal activity really progressed. He was arrested on numerous occasions and was on and off of probation for most of his late teens and early twenties. At age 25, he began participating in a Suboxone maintenance program and stopped using cocaine and heroin for several years.
After a long period of living with the sole purpose of getting high, Paul’s father confronted him about his drug use and gave him the opportunity to go to treatment and get help. A family friend had recommended Turnbridge to Paul’s parents. “I was at a bottom and total out of options, so I agreed to go,” explains Paul.
On April 7, 2014, Paul enrolled at Turnbridge. He struggled a little bit at first but followed suggestions until his mindset began to change. “I kind of had the ‘fake it till you make it’ attitude in Phase I,” admits Paul. “At first I didn’t really buy in, but I started getting rides to meetings and I met a lot of really cool people in the New Haven AA community. I saw that they were all doing it, and I was thinking, I guess if they’re doing it, then I’ll do it. So I got a sponsor and I took some commitments. I started liking going to meetings because it was a chance to get out of the house and meet new people.”
Paul continued to grow his sober network through Phase II and began to embrace his new life in recovery. In Phase III, Paul was asked to be a House Manager and started taking advantage of the opportunity to help guys who were newer to the program. “I like trying to help someone who’s younger and doesn’t know how bad it can get,” says Paul. “It’s something that I would really like to do in the future, a job related to recovery.”
Paul has worked extremely hard since coming to New Haven, and has reaped the benefits of meaningful relationships and respect in the community. “Before coming here, I had burnt every bridge,” explains Paul. “I had nothing. Now I have a car, a good job, and strong relationships with my family and son.” Paul plans to stay in the New Haven area and work for Turnbridge when he graduates from the program.