But until 2007, life for Toye wasn’t so bright. That’s when she arrived at Gaudenzia’s Spring Garden Street facility in Philadelphia as a court mandated patient.
Toye describes her old self as a “chronic relapser.” Initially, she was not very willing or excited to be part of the Therapeutic Community (TC). It took four months in residential treatment and a year afterwards in outpatient care for her life to change completely for the better. “Working as part of a team in the TC provided the discipline that I needed,” Toye recalled. “I’m dependable and consistent now. The TC also helped me develop my parenting skills.”
Staying in treatment not only helped Toye become drug-free, it also saved her life. Part of Gaudeniza’s treatment policy is having patients do routine physical examinations and visit doctors regularly for specific needs. Toye was surprised to learn that she had stage three breast cancer. She begged her doctor to allow her to complete the semester of college studies before undergoing cancer treatments. In 2013, Toye was unable to participate in the Gaudenzia Graduation ceremony due to her medical regimen. But she was able to don her cap and gown and do so the following year.
Toye began working as a therapist at Gaudenzia in the same facility where she underwent treatment for her substance use disorder. “So long as Gaudenzia keeps doing what they’re doing and producing people like me, then I plan on being here for a long time. There’s no other place I want to be. I’m grateful for this agency for giving me my life back. Today, I’m a better mother to my children and I’ve become a productive member of the community once again.”