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Lance's Story

“I’m striving to change my life every day to get that third-grader with a dream back.”

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Lance has plenty of dreams and determination, and everything he does drives him towards his goals. “Life is about getting busy and having enough on my plate to keep me nourished,” he explained. His goal is to become a psychologist. “I want to prevent what happened to me from happening to somebody else,” Lance said. “I’m going to do some healing instead of hurting.”

A Challenging History

When you have a conversation with Lance, you come away inspired by not only his conviction, but by his story. Like most people with a substance use disorder, his life hasn’t been easy. Lance was born and raised in Rochester, and he started using drugs with friends in gangs at a young age. It’s been a long and hard road with his substance use disorder over the years, and he’s frank about what he’s gone through. “I shouldn’t have this story,” he explained. “That’s why I’m striving to change my life every day to get that third-grader with a dream back.”

He’s experienced a number of different treatment stays throughout his life, though he’s spent quite a few years free of drugs and alcohol, too. Lance’s ex-wife encouraged him to get help recently because his drinking became “out of control.” He checked into a treatment program at FLACRA, and then made his way to Sundram Manor in Niagara Falls.

Achieving His Dreams

In the five months he’s been with Caz Recovery, he’s really focused on his dreams. Perhaps most importantly, Lance has made some significant strides towards obtaining his GED. “After all these years, I stopped reading and attending classes,” he explained. In three months, though, he went from a third grade level in math to being able to do pre-calculus. “I’m catching on fast,” Lance said. “Math is like a puzzle; you just have to put it together.” Thanks to all of his studying, he recently earned his GED. “It was great,” he said. “Sundram has given me the ability to achieve some things that wouldn’t have been possible.”

He’s starting college at NCCC in the fall for Human Services, which will be a huge step towards his goal of becoming a psychologist. That’s not to say that he’s being unrealistic about any of recent accomplishments. “It’s nerve-wracking but exciting,” he said about starting college. “I have no idea what to expect since I never achieved anything like this before.” At the same time, though, he knows that he’s capable of some incredible things: “I know when I open up my mind, I can do anything.” Speaking of incredible things, he also hopes to one day own his dream car – a 2019 Dodge Challenger – so that he can drive around the country attending 50 Narcotics Anonymous meetings in 50 states. “It’s going to be awesome,” Lance said.

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