Profiles in Recovery

Honesty Liller

At the tender age of 12, Liller began taking LSD and marijuana to escape a chaotic childhood. By 16, she was using crack cocaine; a year later, she was hooked on heroin.

After surviving a near-fatal overdose – and trying for years to get clean – Liller found healing at The McShin Foundation, a leading nonprofit recovery center in Virginia. Her five-month stay at McShin improved all aspects of Liller’s life. She learned to value herself, to commit to recovery and be more present for the daughter she had during active addiction.

Today, a decade after she first arrived at The McShin Foundation, Liller leads the organization as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). She runs the daily operations, trains people to administer Naloxone – the overdose-reversal drug that saved her – and advocates for recovery in Washington and Virginia, where she’s helped a task force address the opioid crisis.

“Recovery has given me so many gifts of love, forgiveness, and self-worth,” says Liller, the 2015 recipient of the Vernon Johnson Award, one of the highest honors from the national nonprofit, Faces and Voices of Recovery.

Day Job:
CEO of The McShin Foundation, a peer-to-peer Recovery Community Organization (RCO) in Virginia; mother and wife

My rock bottom moment:  
Evicted from my apartment, didn’t have my daughter, practically living out of my car, and mental/emotionally/physically exhausted.

When cravings come:  
I talk to someone in recovery immediately, pray, and do something positive instead/help others.

Rules I live by:  
I am only promised today.
Be open and honest.
Be present in my life and dependable for those I love.
Don’t use no matter what.
Love myself and others.

On my schedule today:
Daily, I read and answer questions from a women’s devotional book, listen to pastors on the radio on the way to work, pray, try to do some form of exercise/run, help people, work at McShin (awesome career), be a mommy and wife.

Best advice for newbies:  
HOLD ON!!!!  It gets so much better!

What I value most in recovery:  
Being on this earth to help others, being a parent & wife, and actually enjoying being alive daily. My friends and family are amazing.

Stigma I faced:  
The negative outlook on addiction is real every day in my world.  We are not bad people.  I don’t regret my addiction past, it has made me who I am today.  I am an advocate for recovery and I will show the community that we can recover and be amazing.

What I learned about myself:  
How to forgive myself and learn from everything the situation brought to me.

I get inspired by:  
Seeing other people recover.  Watching the recovery process in action is epic!  Amazing recovery speakers or movies.

Proudest moment:  
Recovery: beginning that journey.  Anytime my kids follow their dreams and accomplish things.  Being able to grow personally in recovery.

What saves me from myself:  
I have to forgive and love myself all the time.  Through this process of recovery, I have learned so much about who I am, not just the drug use, but my inner deep soul.  I have to continually work on myself and be humble in order to recover.

Thoughts on relapse:  
I have tried all types of treatment throughout my addiction and have had several relapses.  It happens, just start over and move forward.  It is in the past, learn from it so you won’t go back there again.

On my bucket list:  
See my kids go to college and have a happy life.
Visit a tropical island.
Grow old with my husband and enjoy life daily together.

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If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].