ST. LOUIS – Living a life of drugs and alcohol, in and out of prison, Toni Jordan was on a road to destruction, but one day that all changed, and now her mission is to get women on the right path.
My thing was, my party was using dope every day that was the way I went to sleep, thinking of how I was going to get high the next day and what I could do to get money and that was my priority,” Jordan said.
For more than 20 years, that’s how she lived day in and day out.
“I had been out on these streets, been harmed, been beat, then raped and everything so I just knew it had to be something different,” she said.
That something different came on April 6, 2004 after Jordan was arrested for shoplifting to support her drug addiction.
Just 10 days into her prison time she received some devastating news.
“My mother had passed away and that was April 16th. So, that was a life-changer for me,” she said. “I knew then that I had to stand up and be that woman that God put me on this Earth to be.”
Jordan has now been sober for 17 years and is giving back as a women’s support coordinator for the Criminal Justice Ministry. She’s helping change the lives of incarcerated women.
“This is what I have to give to the next women who was feeling doubtful, who was feeling discouraged, who was feeling shameful or embarrassed. I want them to know what we have been through, what you have done don’t define you, that there is life, that what we have been through is not a death sentence,” Jordan said.
“God brought me through the journey and all the trials, tribulations, and adversities I had been through that this is my time to give back.”
The joy giving back brings Jordan is obvious by her infectious laughter. Her drive and determination is unmatched when it comes to working to get others on the right track.
Jordan believes in the women she helps. She knows the road isn’t an easy one, but it’s better than the road they’ve traveled.
“Whatever they encounter it don’t last forever. It don’t have to, and that we are some resilient women. A lot of women feel like they have been beaten down, broken and just everything and that was me many years ago,” Jordan said.
Jordan won’t allow herself to forget where she was at one time, but she is also confident that she will never go back.
“My counselor, when I was in prison for treatment, she would always say, you’ll be back. I say I won’t be back here unless I’m coming to talk to somebody,” she said.
Jordan is the mother of 5 daughters and when asked what her own mother would think about her now, she had this reaction.
“Oh my God Margie, I say that and a lot of people like I wish my mom was here they say your mom looking down, watching, smiling on you, you know she’s your angel,” she said. “If it started raining today, it’s probably her crying for joy, that’s my baby.”
Click here to learn more about Criminal Justice Ministry.
Anyone struggling with drug addiction and looking for help can call the National Drug Helpline at (844) 289-0879.