Meet another of my Twitter addiction and recovery community friends, Shawn A.
I first met Shawn through either a CADAChat (Coalition against Drug Abuse) or an AddictionChat, and again what struck me about him was his openness and honesty in talking about his recovery. What also drew me in were his supportive, encouraging nature and his humor; he is very funny!
Shawn is a man of faith and while that is not always talked about openly by some in the recovery community, he is not afraid to attribute his successful recovery to his faith and I admire him so much for that. You can hear the joy Shawn has in his life now just from reading his words, and you can’t help but smile; he truly is inspiring and he has made it his mission in life to help others achieve the recovery that literally saved his life. Meet my friend Shawn; he is amazing!
How long have you been on your recovery journey?
God separated me from alcohol on 8/23/12
What is the biggest positive change in your life since then?
In treatment, you hear the term “people, places and things”. Well I did all of that and some more. But I have made many changes in my life, most positive and some negative. The Most positive one is giving my life to Christ along the way. In addition, a positive influence I have made is bringing awareness to high school students. The most important thing in my life and most positive change is helping people. I bring people who are completely lost in the darkness of their disease and show them a way out.
What led to your need for recovery (from substance abuse or some other issue)?
I was actually pushed into treatment because I “thought” it wouldn’t work for me. I was on probation for a DUI and my P.O. told me that the county would pay for my treatment. So I said what the heck, life can’t get much worse. I also had help from family members who saw me literally killing myself with my drinking. They pushed me day after day. I owe so much to them.
What was the turning point for you?
It was being able to forgive myself. I would say by the 3rd or 4th day in treatment I was able to surrender. I didn’t go into treatment for myself; however, I was willing to listen. And by the 3rd day, I surrendered. The people who pushed me into treatment were divine intervention. I was literally dying of untreated alcoholism. I had two choices, (this is the turning point), 1. Die an alcoholic death, or 2. Accept spiritual help.
What is one important truth you’ve learned through the process?
That the diseases itself will NEVER GO AWAY. I don’t say that to scare people off, but it’s the truth. I am a recovered alcoholic, and my disease is in remission. But I have to constantly feed the spirit and do my due diligence as a recovered member to stay on the straight path. The thing with addiction, if we are not using, but are not getting well at the same time (white knuckling-it) our disease will manifest in many different forms (sex sprees, anger sprees, food sprees, work sprees, thinking sprees, etc). One other thing is there is a beautiful life outside of addiction; I just needed to be shown the direction.
What are you most proud of about your life today?
I am sober. Things that my addiction promised me, recovery now promises me. I’m so proud I’m able to be a vessel for God and help others who share the same problem I do. It is all about sharing my experience, strength and hope to others in hopes that I can reach them. I need to help others because I can never forget how lost and scared I was early in recovery.
What is one of your biggest struggles in ongoing recovery? How do you overcome that?
I struggle with fear once in a while. I am someone who lost EVERYTHING at the age of 26, and had to completely restart my life at 26. So sometimes when “things” aren’t going my way, I tend to get a bit fearful. But that is part of the growing process. I can never be perfect. I have to live in the present and not the past/future.
What part of your life do you find most satisfying since you have been in recovery?
Oh jeez… where do I start?? I mean, I no longer suffer from guilty, shame or remorse. I am not disgusted with my life. I no longer suffer from anxiety or depression from my addiction. I no longer suffer from detox symptoms. I am happy, and hopeful. And most of all, I can help others now.
Is there a truth or piece of advice someone shared with you that has helped you on this road?
Someone once told me when I was in treatment that still sticks with me. I have had so much good advice given to me in the years that I have been sober. I asked this gentleman “how do you know when you hit rock bottom”, and he responded “when you put the shovel down”.
What would you tell someone who is at the beginning of his/her recovery journey and is afraid he/she can’t do it?
I would tell them just ask, ask, ask, ask for help. We can NEVER do this alone. I like to ask people how many times have you tried this your own way, and the answer I will get often if “most times”. And then I ask again, how has that worked out for you? And all of the answers will be “not so well”. This is all about taking suggestions from people who this has worked for. Remain open and honest from the start and I GUARANTEE your life will change drastically. Please be a part of the miracle ….