Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What is Recovery?

WHAT IS RECOVERY? Did you used to have a problem with alcohol or drugs? Are you in recovery, or do you know someone who is? We invite you to participate in a National Institute of Health project to understand recovery. By “recovery”, we mean to include anyone who used to have a problem with alcohol or drugs (and doesn’t now), whether or not they use the term ‘recovery’. Take the 20 minute online survey at www.whatisrecovery.org

Monday, August 27, 2012

Vendors Welcome at Recovery Fest

We are looking for vendors for The McShin Foundation's 8th Annual Recovery Fest & 3rd Annual Barbecue Cook-Off on Saturday, September 8th. If you would like to market your business, sell your products, or set up a booth on behalf of your support group, please contact pattyv@mcshin.org.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

30 Year Anniversary 80's Style

I hope to see lots of familiar faces at John Shinholser's 30 year anniversary party celebration tomorrow at The Marquee from 6pm-8pm. It's an 80's theme party! I have been working on decorations all week. Don't forget-dress to impress. There will be a costume contest. Please visit the tribute site below to share your stories and photos about how John has impacted your life. We will be making the tribute site into a book, so the deadline for entries is tomorrow! http://www.surprisetributes.com/Client/johnSthirty/

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cooling down from McShin's 8th Annual Pool Party

Saturday was a great day of sober fun in the sun at McShin's 8th Annual Pool Party. A special thanks to our fabulous host and hostess, John and Kathy Rueger. The band was great, there were tons of gifts raffled off, and everyone splashed around in the pool. Congratulations to Kim M. and Jimmy M. for receiving the Outstanding McShin Alumni Award. We appreciate and love you both.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A few thoughts

I'm preparing for The McShin Foundation Leadership Training Institute's “Authentic Peer Recovery Coaching And Peer Leadership Training,” scheduled this Thursday. I'm teaching the portion about the history of addiction treatment in the United States. The evolution of addiction treatment over the last couple hundred years is so fascinating. I cannot express how grateful I am for those who came before me and the paved the way so I had the opportunity to seek recovery.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This may be the biggest day of our advocacy efforts here in Virginia! Governor Bob McDonnell and members of his Cabinet are meeting for a Bill Signing Ceremony to commemorate the legislative achievements of the 2012 General Assembly Session to combat drug use and addiction in the Commonwealth. Among the legislation to be signed are: • Measures to increase the mandatory minimum sentences for repeat drug dealers • Criminalize bath salts • Strengthen procedures to combat the use of methamphetamine • *Establish a Substance Abuse Recovery Support Services Grant Program* Join us for this important event Monday, July 23rd, 2012 at 2:30 PM at Hanover County Sheriff’s Office located at 7522 County Complex Road, Hanover, VA 23069.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Real Results

Real Results about the effectiveness of peer to peer recovery.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Miss McShin

Hello all, my name is Patty and I am an addict. I have inherited the responsibility and privilege of maintaining the McShin Blog.I will keep everyone up to date with all McShin and ARCVA happenings and post recovery videos including the stories of recovering addicts sharing their stories of experience, strength and hope. I want to take a quick moment to thank Jenny P. for all her efforts in launching and maintaining the McShin Blog. Thank you. I am so proud of you and I admire your recovery.

Monday, February 20, 2012


My name is Alison and I am an alumni of The McShin Foundation. I became a client of McShin in July of 2008 and lived in a women’s recovery house for four months. I have remained clean and sober since leaving the foundation.

Today, I am proud to say that I am still actively involved with The McShin Foundation. I have volunteered my time to assist current clients, in addition to attending and supporting various events this organization sponsors throughout the year. As an alumni, it is important for me to help others the way I was helped when I was new to the process of recovery. Being an alumni gives me a sense of accomplishment and joy because I am able to give back what was given to me. I am and will be forever grateful.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Anonymous Story!

I came to McShin in 2010. I had lost everything I had. I had been stealing from my parents, and could not continue living life the way I was living. I heard about McShin from my mom, and decided to give this new way of life a try. McShin helped me get back on my feet. I got a job, and live a socially acceptable life; free from active addiction. I started going to twelve step meetings on a nightly basis. I owe McShin my life, and my serenity.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Mother's Story!!!!

This is an article that I found on


This story here is about a very sweet woman who comes to McShin On a regular basis, and does groups with us. She was the one that told me about this article. She is a very strong woman who has a very big heart. This is her story...

Remembering Luke Cockey

October 18, 2011 By Kate Hall

Editor’s note: I recently saw a benefit for the Luke Cockey Memorial Fund on a friend’s Facebook page, and wanted to learn more about his story of struggling with addiction. I’ve found it’s something parents are often embarrassed about, and perhaps if it’s shared more openly, it can help parents cope and possibly prevent tragedies like Luke’s.

I asked Luke’s Mom, JoAnn, “What was Luke like?” The passage below is what followed.

Luke was a real easy going baby. He was my third child, my baby boy. He was very affectionate and loving. He loved to have his back rubbed or his legs rubbed or his arms tickled, he just loved to be touched. One day I was on the phone talking, he was less than two years old, he came over and without saying a word he picked up my hand and put it on his head and just stood there waiting for me to rub him. He loved snuggling. Even as an adult he would come and sit down next to me on the sofa and pull up his shirt for me to scratch his back. All of my children were like that. . .wanting a back scratch.

Luke would watch you do something and then attempt to do it him self. He caught on quickly just by observing. He had great eye-hand coordination and at the age of eighteen months he removed all the screws from the hinges of my lower kitchen cabinets. So, when I opened the cabinet; the door fell off completely.

I called for Luke and asked if he had done this and he nodded and I said, okay Luke, where are the screws? He got them quickly. I said Luke if you can take them out, you can put them back in….. I put the door back in place and he put all the screws back in. He loved every minute of it. He was always like that. He just knew how things worked.

Luke rode a bike when he was two and a half years old. This is without training wheels. I’m serious. I wanted to call the newspaper when I looked out the window and saw him traveling on the bicycle (yes, two wheels). He had mastered riding the bike all by himself. . .somehow though he hadn’t figured out how to use the brakes and would just run into the bottom porch step to stop him self.

When I tell you about Luke his face is right in the front of my minds eye so clearly. He was a happy little boy.

Luke had a few quirks, like we all do. He had “issues” with his socks. They had to feel just right. The socks had to be fitted (no tube socks) and no bumps or seams could be felt when putting on his shoes. We put shoes on and we took them off until it felt just right. I can remember getting so frustrated at times that I would say that’s it we are wearing sandals, in a huff.

This sock thing became fun as he got older. There was never a child as happy as Luke to get new socks for a present. He would save his new socks until the others just wore out. He always had a package of unopened new socks. When my husband cleaned out his apartment he found a package of new socks. Luke was an organ donor and I have often thought that if there was such a thing as cellular memory, the organ recipients would surely be bothered at times by their socks. Today, whenever I feel my socks or a wrinkle, well I am sure that Luke is playing with me and laughing.

One of my favorite memories was when a dear friend was coming to visit and have a cup of coffee and I realized that I was out of sugar and said out loud, shoot! I don’t have any sugar for Gail’s coffee. When she arrived, Luke ran out on the step and said we don’t have any sugar and she leaned over and kissed him in the nape of his neck and said yes you do, I just stole some of your sugar and to that he said can you put it in your coffee?

When Luke started school, he didn’t want to leave me. He would cry and beg me to let him stay and his stomach would hurt. It was heart-breaking, but I would push him to go. I did not realize that what he was feeling was anxiety and probably a little more than the norm. It was hard for him to be still at school.

One teacher said she had five wild little boys and of course one of those was my Luke. This went on a few years, first the teacher wanting to have him tested then suggesting that I talk with my pediatrician, all because he was fidgety and couldn’t sit still. I finally gave in and he began to take Ritalin. He only took it on school days, never on the weekends or after school. At least, that was a way for me to not feel so guilty about it. I never wanted him to take this medication, I never felt like he was out of control. I will say that the reports from the teacher began to improve as soon as the teacher was made aware that he had begun to take the medication. What the teacher did not know was that he had been on the medication two weeks before I informed the school. During those two weeks we still received reports of Luke being disruptive, information for thought.

Luke took Ritalin until the eighth grade. I do believe it helped him to focus his attention. Luke was small for his age, so the pediatrician decided that we should take Luke off the medication and just monitor how he was doing in school. There are two things I’d like to point out . . .the label that goes with taking medication and the label that follows the child for being disruptive. The behavior began to be expected and I believe we all live up or down to expectations as children.

Luke began to smoke pot by the end of eighth grade. Was he self medicating as a way to deal with anxiety? Was he just trying to be like other kids or trying to fit in? Was he trying to be cool? As Luke’s mother, I saw a change in him, was it because he wasn’t taking Ritalin anymore? Is he going through puberty? His grades were slipping a bit. His sweet demeanor was no longer always sweet. There was moodiness, couldn’t get him up in the mornings, we struggled.

I could not believe in my heart that my child could be using drugs. I mean, this young man still kissed his Daddy on the lips. A year later, my husband and I took Luke for counseling and that is when we found out about the pot and alcohol.

He began an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) of treatment for drug abuse. That program included the parents. We had so much to learn about substance abuse and addiction. This was a very difficult time in our lives. The problems with Luke escalated, he began to get into trouble, he had a DUI, and under age drinking charges. I had to face things I didn’t want to. . .I felt as though I had failed as a parent. I felt ashamed and embarrassed about my son’s behavior. I was afraid of being judged by other people.

What I learned in this process is that I have no control over what other people think. That keeping secrets, or thinking no one will find out, is unhealthy.

I learned that it is okay to be open and honest that none of us is perfect. I found that by sharing my situations with others, people were more supportive and understanding. What I learned about addiction was that it is a horrible disease, a family disease. We all played some part in the disease, whether we were enabling, keeping secrets, lying to avoid the truth, or being in denial hoping that it would all just go away.

Our children learn by our example, we model how to live by our actions and words. So, when you are on the phone telling a friend that you can’t come to the Pampered Chef Party because Suzie is sick and Suzie is really just fine, Suzie just got the message that it is okay to tell a lie.

Our Luke really was a wonderful young man that suffered from the disease of addiction. He had many friends. He was a loyal and devoted friend. He was really funny! Most people tell me how much they laughed when they were with Luke. He loved Eric Clapton and Dave Mathews; he loved all kinds of music. He even liked the music that his Daddy and I listened to.

Luke experienced some sobriety in his young adult life and was happier than I had seen him in quite along time. He relapsed after seventeen months and then again after three months and never found his way back before he died.

Luke died in a horrible one punch accident that left him brain dead. He was intoxicated. His Daddy and I had talked with him that night before the accident and said our “I love you’s” to each other…… like we always did. Luke saved the lives of four people and enhanced the lives of many through organ donation. He had a generous spirit and a loving heart. We miss him terribly.

When Luke was about five years old, he said he never wanted to move out of our house and if he had to he would live next door. He wanted to grow up and work with his Daddy. He was a very talented carpenter. He loved working with his hands. He had taken a night class or two toying with the idea of going back to college. He and his father worked together as he had wished. He loved being and uncle and he couldn’t wait to be a father someday.

If ever you think something is just not right with your child, trust that your instincts are right. And, don’t give up until you get to the bottom of it. Do all that you can to help your child, including setting limits and boundaries. Make sure that you know who you are, take a look within and understand why you do and say some of the things you do. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Make sure that your children know that you love them no matter what.

It is easy to give the message that we love you only when you do good things and not be aware that is what you are doing. Our children are our emotional investments, a place where we put OUR dreams and hopes. Try to support your children in THEIR dreams and hopes. That awareness makes for happier families.

The event that honors his memory is

November 5, 2011, Lukefest.

For more information visit

McShin Foundation/Lukefest

on Facebook as well.