Highly regarded for her skill and expertise as an addiction counselor, Ms. McCarter became involved in her profession based on her personal journey with recovery. For 16 years, she struggled with an alcohol addiction and is proud to have remained sober for the past 34 years. Upon earning a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the Lubbock School of Nursing in 1980, she was recruited for a nursing position at Cornerstone to Recovery. While serving in this capacity, she discovered that her true passion resided in counseling, leading her to attain an addiction counselor license in 1992.
Progressing in her career endeavors, Ms. McCarter went on to serve as a lead counselor at Brookhaven Retreat from 2005 to 2007 and as the owner and clinical director of White Spirit Lodge, Inc. from 2007 to 2011. Simultaneously, she was a treatment specialist for the East Tennessee Human Resource Agency from 2010 to 2015 and later a program director at Serenity Centers of Tennessee for three years until 2018. In 2018, Ms. McCarter spearheaded L&M Counseling, where she continues to offer individual counseling, MAT accountability and alcohol and drug assessments for legal purposes through today.
Furthermore, Ms. McCarter excels as a program director at Stepping Stone to Recovery, an alcoholism and drug addiction treatment center featuring residential and intensive outpatient rehab programs. The treatment center is a new organization based on Cornerstone of Recovery and is designed to provide high-quality treatment for those with limited financial means or government-issued health insurance, using time-tested clinical and traditional models that have proven effective for almost three decades. In this role since 2021, Ms. McCarter collaborates with staff to provide care for patients, manages 24 employees, develops programming and group activities for patients, and handles referrals.
To remain abreast of new developments in her industry, Ms. McCarter maintains affiliation with the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors and the East Tennessee Association for Addiction Professionals, where she served as president of the organization from 2013 to 2014. Likewise, the organization awarded her a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 and named her Professional of the Year in 2014. Among her community involvements, Ms. McCarter remains active with her local Alcoholics Anonymous and Fireside Sobriety Circle.
Reflecting on her abundant career, Ms. McCarter believes her career highlight has been successfully training people to become professional addiction counselors. To do such important work, the right training is essential, and she is honored to shepherd in the next generation of counselors. Her advice to budding counselors is to know yourself first and what you are bringing into the field, as well as be kind, professional and ethical.
Ms. McCarter credits Bill Hood for being instrumental in her own training, as he taught her everything she now knows about working in the field and helped teach her how to deal with different kinds of clients. He was also her sponsor while she was in recovery. Alongside her traditional knowledge of recovery and healthy lifestyle, Ms. McCarter believes in the power of spiritual connection and helps guide her clients to find that side of themselves. With this, she frequently prays in sweat lodges.
Although a long-term career in addiction counseling was not her initial plan, Ms. McCarter has a true passion for her work that fuels her each day on the job. Looking toward the future, she is beginning to contemplate retirement, but plans to continue excelling in and expanding the scope of her current role.