“Hope is Always There”

Richard Toney grew up in Malvern, Arkansas and enlisted in the Army in 1976 right out of High School. He served from 1976 until 1987. During his years of service, he was an air defense artillery gunner, a field artillery forward observer, Sargent in charge of twenty-one-gun salutes on burial detail and even an NBCNCO, a Non-Commissioned Officer Responsible for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Operations.

After leaving the military he returned to Arkansas and worked in the construction industry. He has one daughter who is twenty-five years old. But this seemingly stable life hid a drinking problem. “I ‘ve had alcohol problems since I was seventeen. I drank all through the military. It was socially accepted, even encouraged. It seemed like every celebration involved drinking…lots of drinking.”

Mr. Toney continued. “My mom confronted me on it in 1996 and I went to Foot Roots for treatment. I went back and forth with my sobriety and after a relapse on 2020, I came here to St. Francis House. I completed the program and got my own place. 

Recently, Mr. Toney returned to St. Francis House, but through no fault of his own. The apartment he was living in was deemed unlivable because of contamination. “The Day Treatment Center placed me here while I look for new housing. I want to stay in the North Little Rock area because I love going to church at the chapel at Foot Roots. It’s my church family. I continue to work on me and my sobriety. I try to look at every day as a new starting point, a time to move ahead. I would tell anyone who needs help don’t give up on yourself, don’t give up on life. There are second chances, and anything is possible. Hope is always there.”