Written by Nina Herndon, Director of Communications

Whether you follow along on Facebook or Instagram, receive our emails, read blog posts, or visit the website every so often, you’ve come across something that I have the honor of helping with, here in my role at Maggie’s. I created this Staff Spotlight series as a way to introduce you to all the incredible women, usually behind (and sometimes in front of) the scenes, making sure that The Magdalen House is available to the next alcoholic woman who has a desire to get sober and experience recovery.

While I’ll be interviewing my coworkers, as I did with Mary, it feels odd to pretend to question myself. So here I am, sharing a little bit about myself in honor of celebrating five years. I appreciate you following along wherever you are, because whether or not you realize it, you are helping Maggie’s to reach more alcoholic women in need.

Nothing Like I Expected

My thoughts on the biggest gift in recovery:

It’s so cliché, I know, but there are so many gifts that come from being in recovery and continuing to work the program that makes sobriety possible in my life. When I met the woman that would become my first sponsor, I couldn’t believe that she had gone almost an entire decade completely sober and yet seemed genuinely happy. I think that’s the most significant gift – I get to live a life that is far beyond anything I could have ever imagined for myself, and being sober is nothing like I expected.

My advice for the woman who is newly sober, or still trying to get sober:

Do the things you don’t “feel like” doing. Early on, my sponsor had a way of helping me realize that doing the things I “felt like” wasn’t exactly going well for me, and she was spot on. Up to that point I had done everything that I felt like doing, and yet I was miserable. I couldn’t stop drinking. I felt like life was pointless. And I felt like I didn’t want to live anymore.

I didn’t “feel like” doing several of the steps. I didn’t “feel like” following my sponsor around to meetings or commitments. I didn’t “feel like” getting up in front of strangers to tell my story. Today I don’t always “feel like” showing up for my commitments, calling my sponsor, picking up my phone when a protégé calls, getting on my knees, etc. but I’ve realized that my recovery is not a byproduct of doing what I “feel like” doing. It’s a byproduct of showing up when the feeling of “YES!!!!” is gone because I decided to turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understood him. And because of this, I now have hundreds of experiences of doing all these things I never felt like doing where nine times out of ten I think to myself, “I’m happy I showed up for this.”

My life today:

Today my life is far more than anything I could have ever imagined for myself. I’m more than just alive; I’m actually living. I get to be present for get-togethers with loved ones and nights at home with my fiancée. I get to be the designated driver on NYE and take my friends home from a fun night out. I get to be an aunt to my five and six-year-old nieces, and two-and-a-half-year-old nephew. I get to sleep. I don’t worry so much. I experience peace. I have tools that allow me to experience God in a way that I never knew existed, and I get to pass those on to other alcoholic women. I feel like I have a purpose and live a life that I love – two things that I was always searching for before I got sober.

About Nina Herndon, Director of Communications

Nina is a Dallas, TX native who graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Entrepreneurship and a dream of building an organization that would help women. Today, she is very grateful to have the opportunity to live that dream through her work with The Magdalen House.

In early 2015 Nina reluctantly visited The Magdalen House to attend a meeting and talk to the women in the house, only to find herself feeling completely at home. Visits to Maggie’s became more and more frequent and in 2016 she began volunteering with The Magdalen House, serving as the Communications Chair of the Magnolia Women’s Group (now Maggie’s Women’s Group) for two years. Through staying close to Maggie’s, she has witnessed countless women find freedom from alcohol and new meaning in their lives – including her own.