My Recovery Road
I am proud to say that today I am a person in long-term recovery from drug addiction. I am also mother, a spouse, a coworker, a daughter, a mentor, and a friend. I am happy, healthy, and wake up every day counting the many blessings in my life. My recovery journey has truly defined the woman that I have become.
For years I struggled with substance abuse addiction. I lived a destructive and unhealthy lifestyle. I hurt my family, friends, and loved ones; I hurt myself. My addiction was the driver and led me through life on an extremely bumpy road. My addiction caused me to crash, run people over, and go through life too fast. I didn’t take care of my body or my mind, and they both ultimately broke down.
Eventually I found myself sitting in a jail cell, recognizing that my life needed to change. Upon my release, I received treatment and found recovery support in my community. I was referred by a friend to Recover Wyoming, our local Recovery Community Organization. I started at Recover Wyoming as a volunteer, where I was surrounded by my peers. The Recovery Center was a safe, sober place to be. I was able to talk with others, share my story, and learn from other’s experiences of addiction and recovery. I felt a sense of belonging. I was valued as a person, and my life—my story, mattered. I am very grateful that I found Recover Wyoming at such a vulnerable and significant time in my life.
My experiences at Recover Wyoming enhanced my recovery and led me to become a recovery coach. As a recovery coach I am able to support others in their recovery journey. I can help to make a difference in the lives of others, while engaging in experiences that support my own recovery and which embody the recovery lifestyle. I am proud to say that today I have nearly four years of recovery from drug addiction. I attribute a great deal of my recovery success to the support of my family and the friendships and support I receive from Recover Wyoming.
Today, life’s road is relatively constant, it is smooth. Sure, there is an occasional bump here and there, but I am able to navigate around those bumps. I travel the road of recovery knowing that I may reach some dead ends, I may take a wrong turn, but I have the tools and support necessary to get back on track. This road is long, and exciting, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!
Shannon Egan is an author, international journalist, and advocate for addiction recovery. Previously, she worked in Sudan as a freelance journalist for the United Nations, and as a writer for the United Nations Population Fund in New York City. This year, Shannon published her first addiction memoir, No Tourists Allowed: Seeking Inner Peace and Sobriety in War-Torn Sudan.
Despite her success, Egan struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for nearly fifteen years. In 2011, she was incarcerated for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, which resulted in a car crash, and-- since this was her third DUI within a ten year time frame --a Felony DUI. She was sentenced to mandatory jail time, three years of court-ordered probation, and ankle monitor supervision. At the time, Shannon didn’t know if she’d be able to overcome these barriers. She was worried that she wouldn’t be able to find a job since she had a serious criminal charge.
“For me, the process of rebuilding my life, repairing my relationships, and eliminating shame wasn't easy. Even after two years in recovery, only a handful of close family members really knew the extent of my addiction. I was good at hiding it because I was so ashamed. I feared isolation, rejection, and judgement by my peers and community members.”
Today, Shannon is celebrating nearly five years in recovery, and she’s not just sober, but she is happy, healthy, and thriving both professionally and personally. Currently, she works as the Development and Communications Director for USARA, Utah’s award-winning Recovery Community Organization (RCO), and as a Recovery Advocate for the National Recovery Movement in order to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction as well as barriers to sustaining long-term recovery. She’s passionate about sharing her addiction journey openly and as often as possible in order to help others find hope, eliminate shame, and know for themselves that recovery is possible.
“By sharing my story I’m asking the public to embrace me as I am: a human being who’s done some really shady things and has some really embarrassing flaws. Today I know that this doesn't make me any less worthy of love, compassion, and support, and I hope that by sharing my flaws, I will inspire others to accept and share their own. Our stories have the power to transform lives, and it’s time to stand up and share them out loud.”
In June 2015, Egan was selected to act as the Utah State Captain for UNITE to Face Addiction, a transformative event, which will be held in Washington D.C. on October 4th, to ignite and build the National Recovery Movement, a vibrant grassroots recovery advocacy movement where courageous individuals in long-term recovery are uniting for the first time in decades to offer hope.