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Billings meth project painting offers hope and inspiration

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Posted at 11:11 PM, Jun 14, 2023

BILLINGS - Motivating through art, the Montana Meth Project's Paint The Statecontest has returned.

The first one was in 2010 and a digital contest was held in 2016.

Tara Williamson and her fellow artists unveiled their painting at First Congregational Church on Wednesday.

It's on a movable canvas, so it can be shown at other places.

The painting shows what substance abuse looks like, how the courts help, and then the recovery process.

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Williamson worked with a group of people who have been through drug court and are also recovering.

They got together on a painting and put together a message of hope and inspiration.

"This one like really spoke to me personally and professionally because I've been in recovery," Williamson said. "It'll be 24 years in September."

Williamson has been recovering from alcohol addiction.

She works for Support and Techniques for Empowering People (STEP), an organization with five recovery homes that help people overcome addictions.

The group working with her on the painting has to been going through the SOAR court, which helps with substance abuse.

The teamwork and the painting help in everyone's recovery.

"We don't do this in isolation," Williamson said. "We do it together. And this mural is representative of that because we did it together. So we're building this together as a group."

"This group is amazing because they see the potential that you can push through and that you are worth something even though you don't see it," said Seneca White, who worked on the mural.

White has been free of meth for almost a year.

She battled addiction for 13 years and is now starting to get her four children back in her life.

"In recovery, I have noticed that you have to let go of the lies and be completely honest," White said. "You have to let go of the shame you have, to let go of the guilt in order to even forgive yourself and move on."

"That's the message that you can recover from meth addiction," said Shelley Thomson, SOAR felony court coordinator.

Thompson helped bring the people together with Williamson on the project.

"These are folks that are just starting their journey," Williamson said. "It's pretty amazing why they're doing the art. Tara's telling her story to them and it's moving and inspirational."

Best of all, each and every one of them are living examples of the message on their painting.

"People can resume amazing lives and do amazing things in their community as a result of being in recovery," Williamson said.

"Tara is a big inspiration for me because of the fact that she's given us her backstory and if she can overcome that, I feel like I can overcome a lot of the stuff that was holding me back," White said.

The deadline for submitting art is June 23 and the art will be available for viewing on June 30.