The Turning Point: Road to Recovery
If You Only Have 60 Seconds…
- The Turning Point is an addiction recovery program that aims to change men’s lives.
- Many of the men who finish the program find fulfillment by working for The Turning Point.
- The Turning Point aims to destigmatize addiction by imbuing it with humanity and compassion.
The first thing I noticed on my first meeting with Jordan Wright of The Turning Point is his unwavering passion for the cause and the individuals The Turning Point is helping. Upon our second meeting, my colleagues and I were almost brought to tears hearing Jordan speak about those who are dealing with addiction, as well as his own connection to the powerful and life-changing work being done at The Turning Point. I recall feeling energized after these meetings; I was ready to tell the amazing story of The Turning Point and its sister program, The Harmony House.
The day I visited The Turning Point was overcast, and to put it bluntly, dreary. It matched the anxiety I was feeling. I wanted to do justice to this important story. I wanted to convey the gravity of addiction while showing respect to the people I was sure to meet. My anxieties were soon put to rest after meeting the friendly men at the front desk.
More Than Meets The Eye
I will admit, The Turning Point was not what I expected. Once my GPS navigated me to their street (aptly named The Road to Recovery), I turned to find what appeared to be a vintage motel. My suspicions were later confirmed that The Turning Point does reside in what was once an old motel. So, when I am speaking about the friendly men at the front desk, they are in the lobby of an old motel.
Soon Jordan arrives and leads me and my coworkers to the facility’s meeting building. This 60,000-square foot building is the only one not original to the property. Built approximately three years ago, this space is used for The Turning Points addiction recovery meetings as well as CCAR classes (I’ll talk more about that later). This building would also be where I had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people who would tell me their stories and their roles at The Turning Point.
A History Of Recovery
It is important to position The Turning Point in the history of the Upstate. Luckily, the co-founder of The Turning Point, Dr. Rick McCain, was on site. I was able to speak to him about the beginnings of The Turning Point as well as the future. Started in 1995, McCain’s father was between jobs and decided to visit all of his children. As fate would have it, an existing halfway house was in need of a driver. McCain was drawn to this work. It wasn’t long before he had taken over and turned the facility around. Instead of moving on, McCain decided to stay and run the place. This facility was in Taylors, SC and remained there until 2002 when the apartment complex that housed it became condominiums. It was time for The Turning Point to find a new location. This is when they came across the condemned motel. With the help of the county, The Turning Point was able to begin renovations on their new home.
Dr. McCain now runs The Turning Point in his father’s stead, and it is apparent that he has not lost any of the dedication for those he is trying to help. “My time is split in thirds between fundraising, administrative duties, and actually creating the program.” It is jokingly said that he is the top of The Turning Point pyramid, but he is quick to point out the opposite. “I actually see myself as the foundation at the bottom; I want to be the one supporting everyone else on their way to the top.” It is clear to any outside observer that Dr. McCain is there to serve. “I feel that what we are doing is providing an opportunity for the people in recovery to not just stay sober, but to have accountability.” He impresses upon me that without his staff, The Turning Point would not be half as successful as it is.
Restoring Hope To The Hopeless
Chris Ayotte is the Program Director at The Turning Point, and his list of responsibilities, while daunting, are always met with compassion and a smile. Chris manages the facility, heads up the life skills and CCAR programs, oversees a staff of about 30, and makes sure that everyone is getting what they need.
Getting sober in 2007, Chris went through the program himself. He states that during his first 90 days, he was just like everyone else. Starting out as a van driver, Chris has held pretty much every job at The Turning Point. All of the men he’s managing, he has been in their spot.
Chris takes pride in the CCAR program that The Turning Point has recently initiated. Standing for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery, CCAR trains all of the staff members and residents at The Turning Point to be certified coaches. They will learn to not only help themselves, but to also help their fellow man.
Part of what makes The Turning Point so effective is that they are creating a support system for the men who are going through their program. At the head of this support system is Rigan MacDonald. Rigan is the facility’s Recovery Coach. He is the one who oversees all of the twelve- step meetings. There are three a day, and each member of the program is required to go to at least one meeting per day. Rigan is here to help the men stay on track to recovery. As a former addict himself, he is familiar with their situation.
“Most addicts have a ton of garbage inside they are hiding from. Some have been abused, some have children they can’t see, some have been put out, and they have essentially lost all hope.” Rigan and the rest of the staff are here to help get rid of the hopelessness. “I want to try to let them know there is hope. Addiction is an illness that takes your hope away; you’re in bondage to it.” Rigan wants to help those in the program feel good about life. “Sometimes it is as simple as showing these men that you care.”
Only Part Of The Story
What The Turning Point boils down to is just that, caring. This is a group of men and women who are dedicated to caring. They are out to change lives for those in the Upstate, and even beyond. After my time in the meeting building, Jordan gave me a quick tour of The Turning Point. From the food bank that is stocked with food (generously donated by Loaves and Fishes among others), to the closets where these men can get clothes if they need them, The Turning Point is providing these men with an opportunity. One of the tenants of the program is that these men must be able to maintain a steady job.
The Turning Point isn’t the only part of the story. Jordan has put his heart and soul into The Harmony House as well. This will be an all women’s facility located in West Greenville. The Harmony House was born out of a need, one that covers the entire state. Keep your eye out for a companion piece that focuses solely on The Harmony House. I spoke with Jordan about this important project, as well as some incredible women who have insight on the struggle of women’s addiction as well as the program that will be put in place at The Harmony House.