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Honesty's Bright Story: Forgive, Love, and Live A Life Of Your Dreams

I am a woman in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder and what that means to me is I have been drug and alcohol free since May 27, 2007.

I started using drugs at age 12, found heroin at age 17, and my life started to go downhill. Nothing was important to me but using drugs. During this whirlwind I became pregnant and that didn’t stop me from using either. I had been in and out of treatment for years until I finally threw my hands up and gave myself to recovery. The McShin Foundation took me in with no money and showed me how to live. McShin is Virginia’s leading authentic peer to peer Recovery Community Organization.

After leaving the program I started working at McShin giving hope to the participants like it was given to me. I have been the CEO of McShin for over 8 years now and have been employed there for over 13 years. Being surrounded by individuals with addiction just like me is amazing. Helping the women that live in our recovery residences because of my lived experience in addiction and recovery is powerful.

I am now a mommy, wife, sister, daughter, friend, female entrepreneur, and homeowner that can look in the mirror and be happy at what she sees. To have inner peace and acceptance of who I am is satisfying to me. It is truly a calling for me, and I am very passionate about this career. I am able to not only be in recovery, but advocate for those that don’t understand addiction. It is my personal mission to be a face, voice, and light of hope for recovery every day I am on this earth.

Currently, I am on Hanover County’s Opiate Task Force and was on our Governor’s Opiate Task Force Enforcement Work-group years ago. I was fortunate enough to be on “Face The Nation” to share about McShin and addiction solutions. Sharing my story in news articles, speaker panels, magazines, TV shows, and even in the grocery store line is my purpose in this life. Life is too short to not be a voice in our community and since Covid-19 the overdose deaths have raised tremendously. Discovering a trust in my God, love others & myself, and be present in the moment is what I had to work on hard throughout these fourteen years.

There are many ways I support my personal recovery now. Exercise, journaling, praying, and maintaining an amazing support group are the main ones I use today. My favorite is running! There is nothing like putting on some running shoes and just running it out. It is perfect for my mental health, and it helps me solve so many issues. Another way I take care of my recovery is eating well and drinking a ton of water. I do like a couple cups of coffee a day too! Time with my husband, kids, and my doggie is so important. Being able to be present with them and enjoy what we are doing together is what true love is. That is what recovery has taught me.

Throughout this journey it hasn’t been pretty, graceful, or perfect, but it has been amazing! It is my purpose to help those just like me and try to make this world a better place for the future of our children.

Learn more about the work that Honesty does with the McShin Foundation here.

The McShin Foundation was founded in 2004 by husband and wife duo John Shinholser and Carol McDaid to fill a void they saw in the care of Richmonders seeking recovery. John left a lucrative painting business to start the foundation and Carol is a veteran lobbyist for mental health and drug policy at the federal level. Hatcher Memorial Baptist Church opened their doors to McShin, offering office space when no one else was receptive to the idea of a recovery organization. From two offices in the basement of a church, McShin has grown into the organization it is today, including a 15,000 square foot recovery center and over 100 recovery residence beds in Richmond and the surrounding areas. Both in long-term recovery themselves, John and Carol continue working daily to combat Substance Use Disorders and help people start their recovery journey.

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