~ From ManyFaces1Voice.org ~
In 2007 Honesty Liller was 26 years old, the mother of a four-year-old girl and penniless when she entered at the McShin Foundation in Richmond, Virginia. She’d been using drugs since she was 12 and overdosed on heroin when she was 17.
“I thought that that’s how I was going to live and how I was going to die. You know, I accepted that I was going to eventually die in some way from using drugs,” she remembers.
Today, nearly seven years later, she’s married, has added a little boy to the family and serves as CEO of McShin, a full-service non-profit Recovery Community Organization (RCO) that utilizes a model program peer-to-peer approach to recovery.
Liller says emotions, not words describe what it’s like to run the organization where she lived for five months. When asked what she likes best about her work at McShin, she describes the women who live there and remind her daily how raw new recovery is.
“Coming to work every day and helping these women and teaching them that they can be a mother and a wife and a daughter is my passion in life,” she explains. “It makes me feel amazing that I actually feel this way. It makes me feel really, really special.
“I didn’t have that love that I was seeking until I came into recovery and giving that love back to women and watching them get their kids back or go to college or do the things that normal people do is utterly amazing.”
While Liller mentors folks at McShin, she receives mentoring from McShin’s co-founders, John Shinholser and Carol McDaid. She says she wants to learn more about recovery advocacy and how to speak publicly about recovery issues like anonymity and stigma.
“I believe in anonymity but I also believe that I am a face and voice for recovery,” Liller says. In recovery, “we can have a family and donate to charities and pay our bills and not go to jail and prison.
“I am a woman in long-term recovery; I’m proud of it. I have no shame in my game, you know?