Reprinted from The Ada News, May 28, 2019
With a little help, 120 days is all it took for Tonya Turner and Henry Reed to reach sobriety.
Reed was undergoing treatment nearby when he came across Mama T’s homeless shelter — he knew what they did there. All it took was the first step of asking for help, and Reed suddenly found himself with all the support he needed to reach his goal: sobriety.
“I had been a user for about 15 years.” Reed said. “It’s difficult for anyone to ask for help. I don’t know if it was the fear of being told no or the fear of not getting any help.”
At Mama T’s Bread & Blessings, a local homeless shelter in its first year of operation, Reed found a staff that was more than happy to help, support and guide him in the right direction.
“All the staff were really nice to me when I went (in),” Reed said.
In the time since, both Turner and Reed have received substantial help from the Ada community to get sober, stay sober and get back on their feet.
“Mama T’s is just one of the organizations that helped (us), but what set Mama T’s apart from other organizations was the support,” Turner said. “Mama T’s helped me get sober, save money and provided me a safe place to sleep.”
True to its motto, “a hand up, not a hand out,” help is exactly what Mama T’s provided — in the form of programs and job search assistance, which offered more than just a bed to sleep in.
Shelter Director Crystal Lamb described Turner and Reed as “scared” when they first arrived.
“They were scared when they came in,” Lamb said. “Scared to let people know they were a couple, and Tonya was scared to let people know she was pregnant.”
Turner didn’t let her fear stop her from completing counseling classes — classes Lamb said she completed by sheer force of will alone, driven by a desire to get clean for her and her baby. Lamb spoke highly of Turner’s motivation to put herself through outpatient programs, two budgeting classes and parenting classes as well.
Reed attends Drug Court every other Friday to help maintain a structured lifestyle and to stay sober. Drug Court has held Reed accountable for both good and bad behavior. Reed also attended programs at the Addiction and Behavioral Center.
“Addiction and Behavioral Center gave me the tools of recovery to deal with my past, present and future problems,” Reed said,
speaking of past addictions.
On June 4, Reed will mark a full year of sobriety. The next day, Turner will celebrate eight months sober.
Four months after their first encounter with Mama T’s, Turner and Reed are renting a house, have a car and are both gainfully employed at Cotton Patch Cafe in Ada.
While at Mama T’s, Turner and Reed were able to save enough money to get a vehicle, but they wouldn’t have been able to do that without the help of Ada Homeless Services, which paid the deposits for their house, one utility and their first month’s rent.
Lamb said she may have served off and on as a voice of reason, but she credits Turner and Reed as the primary participants in their success.
“You can’t make someone do what they don’t want to do, but they wanted it,” Lamb said.
Turner and Reed acknowledged Cotton Patch Cafe for the support they received from fellow staff members and from restaurant management for being willing to give them a second chance at the life they always wanted.
The staff of Cotton Patch Cafe threw a surprise baby shower for Turner and Reed, where tears were shed, laughter was shared and gratefulness overflowed.
Turner and Reed worked their programs to ensure themselves and their children a better life. The couple say they are committed to staying sober and living an addiction-free life, with each other and with their new baby, Henry Wayne Reed.