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MICHAEL F – From Hazelden Drug Rehab to Turnbridge Extended Care and Sober Living

Mike is currently a Phase III resident at Turnbridge

From Turnbridge to Hazelden and Back Again

Our Resident Profile highlights a current resident. Here we focus on Mike, who came to Turnbridge after completing primary drug treatment at Hazelden Treatment Center in Center City, MN. Mike is currently a Phase III resident at Turnbridge after spending several years bouncing around drug rehab centers throughout the United States.  Mike has taken a winding path to Turnbridge, and he has seen more than his fair share of ups-and-downs, but he is currently on the right track in recovery and will celebrate a full year of sobriety later this month. Mike’s story in regards to drugs and alcohol began in his early teenage years.  “I started drinking and smoking weed when I was about 14 years old, right when high school started,” Mike said.  “I got into cocaine later in high school, and when I went away to college at 18 I was more into cocaine and was introduced to Oxycontin.”  Unlike many people, Mike did not undergo any major social change in these first few years of habitual drug usage.  “I hung out with the same friends,” Mike said.  “We were all into the same things together, and a bunch of them have also gone into rehab.  I think I was the most extreme, though, and I veered into that path during college.” In 2007, at the age of 20, Mike was entered into his first addiction treatment program at a hospital in Connecticut.  “While there I was kind of enlightened to all the different drugs out there, especially heroin,” Mike said.  After leaving, he tried heroin for the first time with a girl that he met during treatment, marking his descent to eventual intravenous drug use. After the initial experience with heroin, Mike went into drug rehab again that same year, this time at a drug treatment center in Connecticut.  “After getting out, I was OK for a little while,” Mike said.  “But things got bad in 2008.  I started using Oxycontin again, and I first started shooting heroin toward the end of 2008.  Around June 2009 I went to [a treatment center] in New York.  I was definitely reluctant to go, but I was getting evicted and my parents were threatening to press charges.  My back was against the wall.” After completing detox in New York, Mike was sent by his parents to a drug rehab program in Florida.  He relapsed after a month there and the counselors followed policy by putting him out on the street for seven days.  “I was miserable,” Mike said.  “I got a job through the program working at a grocery store, and started getting high again.” Mike was caught during his relapse at the center’s transitional sober living program and was kicked out, ending up on the street and actually having to fend for himself for the first time ever.  “Back in Connecticut I was able to steal from my parents, but I couldn’t in Florida.  That led to a lot of criminal behavior.  I was down there for two years, stealing to get high and sharing needles.” In June 2011, Mike’s mother came to visit and was frightened by the condition in which her son was living.  “I looked like death,” Mike said.  “She brought me back up north, and I went into detox.”  After detox, Mike entered Turnbridge for the first time, marking another critical moment in his life up to that point.  “I was pretty beat up from my last run.  At this point I definitely knew that I was powerless over my addiction.  I knew that my life was in jeopardy, but as far as being willing to do the work, I wasn’t quite there yet.  I didn’t go to AA meetings, and didn’t believe in recovery.  I was pretty miserable, and just wanted to get high.” Mike’s initial residency at Turnbridge was cut short when he was kicked out after an altercation with another resident.  The next four months were a critical time in Mike’s life.  He started using heavily again, sliding into severe debt with his landlord and stealing his parents’ car.  “The day after Christmas I got high in my dealer’s house, and crashed the car on I-95,” Mike said.  “That was the last huge occurrence that made things click in my head.  I was lucky that no police came and I didn’t overdose. “ Following this incident, Mike went to Hazelden in Minnesota for drug treatment where he successfully completed the program and contacted Turnbridge in the hopes of returning for a second time for long term drug rehab and sober living.  Mike officially became a resident again at Turnbridge in New Haven on January 26, 2012, and since then he has improved his condition dramatically. Despite the mistakes and wrong turns along the way, Mike is now on the right path to recovery and is taking the necessary steps to turn his life around.  He is a good example to fellow residents that life can get better, if you put in the hard work and make the right choices.  Mike is currently in Phase III of the program, and works as a member of Turnbridge’s support staff at the Phase II facility.  He plans to stay in the New Haven area and continue his education, and he hopes to eventually enter one of the state’s nursing programs. “I’ve never been this good,” Mike said.  “I have my priorities straight this time around, and I realized what I had to do.  I think Turnbridge is a great program.  It was hard to deal with the fact that it’s a whole year, but that amount of time in a structured environment is necessary to get the program and let it click.  I’m glad that I was able to come back to Turnbridge, and I’m grateful that they gave me the support.”