SOBER EXPERIENCES: From Addict to Author, Shannon Egan

Sobriety Date: January 28, 2011

Sober Experiences is happy to have Shannon Egan’s journey from addiction to published author; she’s made quite the turn around since becoming sober. She does not shy away from being a convicted felon, in fact, she uses her experiences to fuel her current success.

WHAT IT WAS LIKE

“Hi, my name is Shannon, and I was an alcoholic and addict for nearly fifteen years of my life. Today, I have five years in long-term recovery, and I’m not just sober, but I’m happy, healthy, and thriving both professionally and personally.

I’ve been able to transform my life from an experience of shame and darkness to one filled with light, love, forgiveness, and acceptance. I’ve come a long way considering that in 2011 I woke up in a jail cell (for the fourth time in my life) with a horrific hangover, still slightly intoxicated, and refusing to believe that I had an addiction problem.

But for me, the process of eliminating shame from my life wasn’t easy.  Even after two years in recovery, only a handful of close family members really knew the extent of my addiction, that it was once so debilitating I couldn’t go a few minutes without a drink in my system or I’d be in extreme mental, physical, and emotional pain.  Very few people knew that when I got drunk and high for the first time at age of seventeen, I was immediately hooked. They didn’t know that by the age of 21, I was a hardcore alcoholic and opiate addict with one DUI under my belt. They didn’t know I’d done jail time or been court-ordered to 60 days of house arrest and three years of probation, or that I was a felon and couldn’t operate a vehicle without an interlock.

I was ashamed and embarrassed. I feared isolation, rejection, and judgement by my peers and community members.”

THE JOURNEY

After a couple years in recovery Shannon took a leap of faith. She decided that sharing her story would be the catalyst to positive change in her life as well as others.

“I was ashamed and embarrassed. I feared isolation, rejection, and judgement by my peers and community members.

In 2012, after two years in recovery, I realized that even though I was sober and had come very far in my recovery process, I was stuck emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. One night before bed I realized why: I was hiding a huge part of my life journey, and through this one seemingly small act I was, in a sense, isolating, rejecting, and judging myself.

That night I decided to take a risk and spill my guts in a 500-word status update on Facebook. In my update I shared my addiction story, including many of the things I was most ashamed of. My ugly past was finally out there for everyone to like or dislike and even comment on. It was terrifying, but at the same time I felt so incredibly free.  The next day I woke up to find that the post had been shared around the world, and in less than eight hours, it had garnered over 400 likes, 140 comments, and spurred a ton of messages in my inbox from people I knew and didn’t know. Their feedback pretty much all said the same thing:

Thank you for sharing your story. You’ve given me hope that recovery is possible.

I couldn’t believe it. Many of the people I thought would judge me were accepting and supportive. They had family members and friends struggling with addiction too, and some were trying to find recovery themselves.

This experience helped me to recognize something truly life changing: all human beings suffer.”

TO BE CONTINUED...

Check back in next week for part two of Shannon’s story, as she talks about her life now and discusses her book, No Tourists Allowed.

Subscribe to our emails below and we’ll let you know when her follow up is published. Also, follow us on social media to find out more!

Pro tip: check out Shannon’s instagram, it’s amazing.

Shannon Egan

Shannon Egan is an author, international journalist, and advocate for addiction recovery. Despite training as a writer on humanitarian issues for the United Nations, Shannon prefers sharing her personal stories of addiction and recovery to infuse hope in those still struggling and spread the message that recovery is possible.