Reflecting on the years she struggled with heroin and alcohol addiction, the Rev. Vaile Leonard recalled the transformative moment in her life when she decided enough was enough.
“I was so disoriented that I couldn’t find my way home,” recalled Rev. Leonard. “At the time, I was only four blocks away from where I lived.”
Today, Rev. Leonard is 31 years clean and counting. She is also an ordained minister, and founder of Light of Truth (LTC), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing safe and supportive housing in an environment conducive to recovery, transition and restoration for women recovering from addictions.
“I am in long-term recovery and the basis of recovery are the principles— surrender, hope, faith, courage, self-integrity, willingness, humility, brotherly love, perseverance and service,” said Rev. Leonard. “Those are the principles in which I live my life and built Light of Truth.”
LTC will hold its 24th Annual Fundraiser on Saturday, September 30, 2023, 7 p.m. at One God One Thought Center located at 3605 Coronado Road. Titled “Recovery, a Divine Gift,” the event will feature Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics.
LTC purposefully chose to hold the event during National Recovery Month. A national observance, this special time of the year is held every September to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices and highlight the dedication of service providers and communities who make recovery possible.
“First, we are celebrating 24 years of serving women seeking recovery and the recovery community,” said Rev. Leonard. “Second, September is Recovery Month and we are celebrating recovery, the Divine Gift.”
LTC has five buildings located in West Baltimore and East Baltimore – four are recovery residences and one is a testing and training site. One of the buildings in West Baltimore is deeply engraved in Rev. Leonard’s life. She grew up in the home. Later, she would be introduced to drugs from attending parties. Her childhood home would become a place where she used drugs purchased from neighborhood dope pushers. That is – until she lost her way to her home, but found her way to recovery.
“I truly thank my ‘higher power’ for directing me to the information I needed to recover,” said Rev. Leonard. “Thank goodness for learning that addiction is not a moral dilemma, it is not a moral failing. Once I learned that addiction or substance use disorder is a neuro-adaptive disorder and I learned how the body and brain work, I was able to maintain my recovery from that day to this day.”
LTC’s sites are often former dilapidated homes in need of major renovations. But like its founder, the residences represent renovation, rebirth and renewal. The homes are beautiful residences, and in some cases are staffed by some of the very women who once came through the organization’s doors for help. Women living at LTC work on a self-improvement plan while living as a family unit to support their own and each other’s recovery process.
LTC has been credited with helping dozens of women overcome drug addiction.
“The program is successful because it is a program built by women in recovery for women in recovery,” said Rev. Leonard. “LTC is different by design and not default. Everyone who serves here serves with a true desire to be of maximum service to the women we serve. The program is individualized per participant. It is not a cookie-cutter program.”
Leonard is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Baltimore Times’ Positive People Awards and is a New Thought Walden Awards Honoree.
“If you want to heal a person, you can’t put them in the same environment they came out of,” said Leonard. “Some feel they would be grateful to live in any condition. That is unacceptable to my soul.”
For more information about LTC or its upcoming fundraiser, visit www.lightoftruthcenter.org