Tonette Lancaster

I Live My Life

I live my life to the fullest
Even when I sometimes feel the road is too hard
I know God never puts too much on me
Though I might come out with scars
I love myself first of all
Always remembering there is no other greater than the almighty Creator
He is my guidance, my light
Through him I have learned to live and enjoy the abundance of life
So when the journey of life doesn’t feel it can be redeemed
I stand strong, hold on tight and follow my dreams

“You can’t stop using drugs and then be functional, you have to deal with the addiction”

For 18 months Tonette was in treatment for her addiction to marijuana. “The first time I used marijuana was when I was 13.” Tonette’s addiction to marijuana, and later to alcohol, caused Tonette to drop out of high school. Tonette, at the age of 22, finally got help for her addiction at an 18 month outpatient family treatment program when she entered into a shelter with her baby.

“The shelter did a drug test on me and it came back positive for marijuana. The shelter told me that if I wanted to stay there I had to go into a treatment program.” Tonette entered the treatment program with her baby where they both received services. “Being in treatment for 18 months gave me time to deal with all the issues I had to deal with. I went into treatment when I was 22 and I had been using since 13. I had to deal with all those issues for all those years of using, and then for all the years before I picked up drugs.”

The first phase of Tonette’s treatment addressed her addiction and why she started to use. The second phase of her treatment encouraged Tonette to identify and begin to heal the emotional issues and wounds that precipitated her addiction. “You can’t stop using drugs and then be functional, you have to deal with the addiction.” The final two phases of Tonette’s treatment prepared her for economic recovery, helping Tonette with job preparation and training so that she could successfully transition from welfare to work, without jeopardizing her recovery. “Treatment was like a job I had to do all day, 5 days a week.”

While Tonette was finding her strength through treatment and recovery, her baby son also received help. “He had to go through treatment like I had to go through treatment. My son received case management and counselors. He was a year old, but he had needs too; he was going through problems just as much me.”

In August 2002, Tonette completed the family treatment program, celebrating two years of recovery. She has also transitioned off of welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid. Tonette works full time and she is getting married. “Now I can show my family that you don’t have to be high or drunk to function. I can show my son better ways of how to deal with his problems.”