Recovering Out Loud | Vanessa Keeton’s Story

During the late 1990s’ coal boomed in Appalachia. Life was simple, miners made good money, and friends, along with neighbors, were like family. But, an unforeseen epidemic descended on the quite small towns of Eastern Kentucky. It’s a battle they still face today, addiction.

“It robbed 13 years of my life.”

Many know Vanessa Keeton as Addiction Recovery Care’s first-ever client. She has transformed into a thought leader at ARC and Vice-President of Marketing. Some might ask. How did she end up in addiction? What was her “aha” moment to entering treatment? 

During those early years of the addiction crisis, she wrestled with the need to fit in. Partying became her way to fill the void. 

“I was completely obsessed with the thought of being cool. I thought those people were cool in my eyes,” said Vanessa as she looked back to those early years of addiction. “I had no idea I was going to be one of those people that couldn’t stop.”

As time progressed, partying along with her addiction worsened. Her mother, Congetta, struggled for answers. 

“I was the mother that said you don’t quit because you don’t want to quit,” said her mother. “I understand now that was the wrong answer.”

Many nights her mom woke up during the early morning hours. She hadn’t heard from Vanessa in days. She woke up to pray. God answered those prayers.

“I will not have your death on my conscience.”

During a court hearing in 2010, Vanessa’s life started to change. Facing one year in prison on drug charges, a prosecutor and family friend told her she had a choice; go to treatment or spend one year in jail. 

He told Vanessa, “I will not have your death on my conscience.” 

The normal pattern ensued. Vanessa left home. Her mom went several days without hearing from her daughter. But then, the phone finally rang. 

“They’ve got a bed for me,” she told her mom. “I will go to treatment if you’ll help me.”

“God allowed her to live through all that mess.”

As Vanessa puts it, since then, she has chosen to “recover out loud.” Living and breathing ARC’s mission, rescuing as many people from addiction, and helping lead them to a path of discovering their God-given destiny. 

Today, Vanessa is a homeowner with her husband, James, who is also in long-term recovery. They have a ten-year-old son.

“The life I could have dreamed of then isn’t as good as the life I have today,” said Vanessa.

“When I see her, I see hope. When I see her, I can see what God can do in people’s lives,” said former Martin County Sheriff Garmon Preece, who is a close friend to this day.

When asked what she would tell someone with a family member or friend struggling with substance use. Vanessa has one clear answer. Be a Congetta.

“Be that person that goes the extra mile, to see that they actually make it there (to treatment),” said Vanessa. “Help them navigate the hard things.”

If you know someone who would benefit from any Addiction Recovery Care program, do not hesitate to call us to begin an assessment at 877-959-2321 or visit to use our confidential chat function. 

We are available 24/7/365.