Get Help Now

(207) 679-5005

Reilly Harvey: Worthy – Navigating Recovery and Healing

Issue 33

Reilly Harvey grew up in a lobstering family in Owls Head, Maine. She recalls her youth fondly, spending it with her parents and brother on the mainland and nearby islands. While her household was supportive and nurturing, it was also impacted by a family history of substance use.

At 14, Reilly had her first drink and attended her first recovery meeting, starting a 19-year struggle with mental health and alcohol addiction. She did well in her studies and built a life that prioritized travel and rich experiences.

Despite strong support, the disease of addiction shaped her perception and pushed her to make ego and alcohol-driven decisions. “I put on such a good mask to hide what was going on internally. I felt so alone and cried every day for years.”

Reilly measured the passage of time with unstable and hurtful romantic relationships. Being with others who were deeper in the progression of their substance use allowed her to hide behind their suffering. Through healing, she now recognizes, “What I really wanted was someone to choose me over women and alcohol, like I felt my father had not.”

It was through trying to save a relationship that Reilly went back to 12-step meetings and an attempt at sobriety. She had tried many holistic and natural methods to feel better, but the only thing that worked was removing alcohol.

In sobriety, Reilly met her current partner, fell in love, and had a child. She built a new life focused on motherhood and being a good partner. She became a business owner and today, she runs a Maine-based painting business called We Paint.

Even though Reilly stopped drinking and went to meetings, her mental and spiritual health continued to deteriorate. Ten years later, Reilly hit an emotional rock bottom. “I felt worse inside than I did at the end of my drinking.”

Quitting drinking wasn’t enough. Reilly knew the only option was to fully dedicate herself to her 12-step meetings and recovery community, as well as focusing on the emotions and patterns that pushed her to drink in the first place.

The power of vulnerability with others through commitment to connection and fellowship, grew her gratitude and the self-worth she struggled with for decades. In a women’s recovery meeting, Reilly realized, “If this circle of women are this talented and wonderful, God hasn’t made a mistake in putting me here. I must be worthy, too.”

Today, Reilly enjoys spending time with her family outdoors and making prayer and meditation a part of her daily life. She thrives with fellowship, building a strong spiritual life, and performing service for others. “This is a disease; our brains work differently than other people’s. If you put down a substance and don’t fill that space with something positive, you pick up something else,” she says.

When it comes to the community’s understanding and acceptance of those in long-term recovery, Reilly describes people navigating recovery as authentic, humble, and willing. “People who freely share their experience, strength, and hope help others heal.”

Jamie Lovley
Jamie Lovley
Jamie Lovley, a graduate social work student in the Midcoast and working at a residential treatment facility, is the Substance Use Prevention Specialist at Knox County Community Health Coalition. She’s passionate about writing recovery stories that fight stigma and inspire hope.

Related Articles


Join the movement to make recovery stories, resources and programs visible!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sponsored Content

Quick Links