Remarkable Women: East Bay woman inspires others on the road to recovery

Bay Area

OAKLEY, Calif. (KRON) — The road to recovery from addiction can often be lonely travels.

But an East Bay woman and recovering addict herself has been inspiring people to get back on their feet for decades.

Walk through the door to Shirley LaMarr’s home in Oakley and you’ve taken the right step. 

“Surrender. If you really in your heart and your head want to be a different person and want go back to your loved ones, want to take care of your children — surrender,” she tells KRON4. 

Surrender to structure, discipline, and the strength required to kick an addiction. 

“Heroin. I was a 25 year heroin addict,” she explains. 

Now 71 years old, LaMarr has been clean and sober for more than 30 years. 

Turning her life around during her last stint in San Mateo County Jail at 39 years old and starting a program to help women recover from lives of crime. 

She spent time recovering at the Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco. 

In 2009, she founded the nonprofit organization, Mz Shirliz Transitional Incorporated

She turned her house Oakley and two other houses in Antioch into up to six months of housing and crisis resource services to previously jailed or homeless addicts working through recovery. 

“I want to make sure that I leave my children, they won’t have no money, trust me when I tell you that, there ain’t no money. But I want to make sure that I leave them a legacy that they’ll be proud of til they day they go,” she said. 

Her four grown children are proud of her and so is everyone who knows her story. 

A survivor of abuse, former inmate, and now motivator who lives by the montra “each one, teach one.” 

Our Remarkable Women finalists will be revealed every Tuesday. Each of the finalists profiled on KRON4 were nominated by friends, family or the people impacted by their work. The winner of our local Remarkable Women Contest will receive a free trip to New York City and attend the Mel Robbins show.

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