Some people say we’re lazy…we lack will power…we need to be punished to stop using…
Some people say addiction is about drugs and alcohol…that we’re selfish…. that if we really wanted to stop we just would…
I took my first drink at the age of 12 and I did not stop drinking and drugging until I was 25. I drank to feel like somebody…I drugged to run from feelings…I protected myself from vulnerability…I feared failure…I feared success….I feared looking at myself. At the end of my using, it was heroin that brought me to my knees after overdosing multiple times. I like to look at it as God’s way of shaking me up, telling me to stop.
Today, I have over 10 years in recovery. I remember in the beginning of my recovery, I just wanted to run, my daughter Laneigh at the time was 5 years old and someone said to me “Shannon would you die for your daughter?” I said, “of course I would.” Then they replied “why don’t you live for her.” That statement struck me so hard and carried me through.
There is a song by Martina McBride- In My Daughters Eyes. There is a part that says “The truth is plain to see, she was sent to rescue me” and I wholeheartedly believe that to be true about my daughter Laneigh. Another verse says “this miracle God gave to me, gives me strength when I am weak.” I look at this to be about my daughter Oliviah who I was pregnant with at almost 4 years sober, while my mom was dying of lung cancer. I was bringing one of the most important people in my life into the world and losing one of the most important people in my life at the same time. I could have never gotten through that without her, without the tools I was given, without my fellow recovery members and without the willingness and desire to not pick up no matter what.
Since 05/15/2004 all things in my life have been made new, I have been transformed – with the help of God, my family, my recovery program, and my fellow peers.
Now…I embrace vulnerability…I feel like somebody without drugs and alcohol…I feel happiness…I feel pain…I feel frustration…I FEEL…I am present in my relationships with family and friends…I have purpose…I have been through unimaginable hard times without depending on drugs and alcohol to get me through.
In recovery I have witnessed a miracle in myself.
Recovery has given me the opportunity to give hope and healing to others in the same position I once was. I want to give a voice to the voiceless…to shine light for people in their most desperate dark places…I want to show them the beauty in themselves that they cannot see…I want to inspire those that feel hopeless…I know because I have been there…I see them for who they really are.
I want to show people that we do recover. We didn’t want to be this way…We are not bad people trying to get good, but sick people trying to get well.
I finally found peace, love and acceptance…which is what I was searching for, for years in all the wrong ways.
Sometimes I sit in front of the Charlestown Court as an Outreach and Treatment Coordinator for Massachusetts General Hospital/Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition and wonder how I got here…across the courtroom is the same probation officer who used to pull me into custody and mandated me to residential treatment…he looks at me with respect and calls me a colleague.
I am proud. I am blessed and honored to work in the same community I grew up in, used in, and recovered in. To give back and be a part of something bigger than myself is what drives me.
I make it a priority to continuously have intimate time with God…I truly give Him all the credit. He did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. I make sure to consistently be active in my recovery, attend meetings and help others while doing my best to always remain grateful. I am grateful for my relationship with God, I am grateful for my two beautiful daughters Laneigh and Oliviah, I am grateful for many opportunities through my work to get paid to do what I love, but most importantly I am grateful to be grateful. I know that without God I am nothing, but with Him I am a champion because He brings out the best in me.
I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I was…that during my struggles throughout my active addiction or during my recovery is where my true character was shaped and strengthened, that I am the person that God intended me to be without drugs and alcohol. I have learned that as long as I actively participate in my recovery that anything is possible. My best days are out in front of me, I am more than a conqueror. I WAS MADE FOR MORE…