No Tourists Allowed

Why Failure is Not a Negative Experience but Rather a Positive One

I’ve heard this story a number of times before and I cannot say for certain whether it is true or not, but it has been said that Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at creating the light bulb before he was successful. This means that 1,000 times in a row he attempted and failed, but with each failure he got back on the horse and tried again.  This a significant portion of achieving serenity in sobriety it involves learning to be ok with the failures of life or as they say “progress not perfection”. 

Edison continued to try, even though it wasn’t clear that what he was attempting to do was possible, and he continued even when failure met him every step of the way. Yet Edison never viewed these failures as a negative thing, but rather he took them in stride and put a positive spin on them when he apparently said, he “successfully discovered 1,000 ways not to make a light bulb.”

If we take the leap from Edison and the act of inventing to something more personal and relatable to the everyday, then we can see that in our lives, and in our own failures, we discover ways in which not to do something, which may allow us to learn how to successfully do it. For instance let’s say we face break up after break up, we could look at these failures as there is something wrong with us and our ability to have a relationship, or we could just say we discovered a number of ways to not have successful relationships.

Failures are as equally important as successes in life, because through our failures we learn what we don’t want, what we don’t need, and what doesn’t work. It is through our failures that we learn what we are truly made of and they make success all of the more enjoyable.

If you look at my own life, it is littered with failures. I attempted to get sober and overcome my eating disorder when I was 17 and I failed. I then spent the next 10 years of my life attempting to get sober and fix my life through a number of different means. I tried getting married. I tried having kids. I tried switching substances. I tried just about anything you could possibly think of and it all failed, but with each failure I was eliminating possibilities and through this process of elimination I eventually arrived at my own truth, I am an alcoholic and I needed real help for this problem.

I would venture to say that without my failures I wouldn’t have arrived at the point I am today. If I hadn’t attempt to fix my life through every means possible and failed doing so, I don’t think that I would have been able to have the success I’ve had over the past 2 1/2 years. I would probably be living in some purgatory of existence, getting numb and still thinking that everything was okay, but through my failure, the true nature of the problem was made clear and because of this a solution presented itself.

There is another saying that I love and it is ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ and that is so true of life. If we aren’t willing to risk failure and in the process possibly failing a few times, then we aren’t willing to risk success. Being successful doesn’t mean that everything comes easy and on the first try, but rather it means that we stuck through the hard times, experienced the pain of defeat and continued on anyways. It means we tried, failed, tried again and then maybe succeeded.

I have also found that I have learned more through my failures then I have through my successes. Success doesn’t really cause me to reflect on my life in the same manner that failure does. When I am successful at something I jump for joy and feel good about life, but when I fail I am forced to look inside and see what lead to the failing and in turn try to change whatever it is. I think that at a societal level we have been taught from a young age that failure is not a positive experience and although it is not necessarily pleasant it is vital to success.

The reality is that no one likes to fail and so many times we will do anything that we possibly can in order to not fail. This may mean that we avoid risking something, or we avoid putting ourselves out there, and I have found this to be especially true among people in recovery.

This is not to put anyone down because it is totally understandable, people who have finally gotten sober do not want to put themselves in a position where they could possibly drink or use drugs again, so they go through life with trepidation, but because of this they are also extremely scared of failure. I know this is the case for me and I don’t handle risk or failure very well because I am scared what it will mean long term for my sobriety, but with that said some of the greatest growth in my life has come from taking risks and running the risk of falling flat on my face.

Last year I moved back to my home state after having been away for 18 months. I had heard all of the warnings about what moving home could mean for my sobriety and I took them all into consideration, but yet I still decided to go back so that I could be with my kids and share my new life with them.

Since being home I have experienced a number of failures, from just feeling like a failure to reacting in ways that I didn’t want to towards my ex-husband, but through all of this I learned what didn’t work and therefore learned what could possibly work the next time. With each failure I put my big girl pants on and got back to it and while it hasn’t been easy by a long shot, I feel like I have grown by leaps and bounds over this past year.

It’s funny because we put such a negative connotation on failure, but it is an integral part of life. No person escapes unscathed and no person wins every time. Understanding that we must fail to win and truly accepting this has changed my outlook on life and I am happy to report today that I am not as scared of failing as I was in the past.


Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

 

Healthy Sex In Recovery: What Does It Mean?

by Guest Blogger, Rose Lockinger

Sex is a complicated issue and there is a lot of variability as to what is normal.  Prior to drug addiction or alcohol addiction, people may struggle with sexuality; what constitutes healthy sex, and what their feelings about sex are. There are many reasons that contribute to this confusion around this issue: perhaps sex wasn’t talked about at home, perhaps sexual abuse occurred, or perhaps sexuality was considered immoral or “dirty” due to religious or cultural beliefs.

Sex in Addiction vs. Sex in Recovery

Addiction has a significant impact on our behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs about sexuality-- for many reasons. Sex is often used as a means to support addiction, or a way of getting others to give the addict drugs, and drug use can lead to erratic behaviors, which can lead to sexual violence and abuse.   It is common for addicts to feel guilt and shame around drug use, sexual behaviors, and habits, which can lead to body issues and low self-esteem.  They also lead to a lack of boundaries and fear of intimacy, which adds to the confusion and frustration. By the time a person gets into recovery, sex and sexuality is often seriously distorted.

What Happens When You Get Sober?

When someone gets sober issues around sex and sexuality are not automatically resolved, and for some, may seem more difficult to cope with. Let’s look at some of the reasons why.

Sober Sex Can Feel Scary

It is not uncommon for people to become sexually active around the same time they begin using alcohol and drugs. This is partly because both tend to occur in adolescence, and partly because drug and alcohol use often leads to premature sexual activity. The problem is that the person who becomes an addict may rarely or possibly never experience sex when sober, which is why sober sex can lead to feelings of awkwardness, inadequateness, and intense fear.  

Trauma and PTSD are real issues

A recent study stated that up 70% of people entering treatment for substance use had experienced trauma, and many in early recovery have experienced trauma and PTSD as a result of sexual violence.  If left unaddressed childhood sexual abuse and other issues may lead to continued substance abuse. Sexual violence can range from sexual assault at the hands of strangers and acquaintances, to sexual violence within a relationship. When entering recovery trauma creates challenges to staying sober, but can also contribute problems in new relationships. It is strongly advised that individuals seek support in order to heal from their past experiences. Some treatment centers offer EMDR which helps with PTSD and trauma.

Lack of boundaries creates bad relationships and unhealthy sexual relationships

Boundaries are a common issue for newly recovering people. Active addiction creates unhealthy and unsafe behaviors that don’t just go away when you stop using. Some examples of poor boundaries include:

  • Having unprotected sex
  •  Engaging in sexual activity when you don’t really want to
  • Using sex as a means to gain love, affection and approval
  • Engaging in sexual behaviors you don’t feel comfortable with because you feel     unable to say no
  •  Alternately, it also creates abusive and predatory behaviors, such as: Coercing, intimidating or manipulating people into having sexual relations
  • Not taking no for an answer
  • Ridiculing, spreading rumors, bullying or other forms of sexual harassment Using sex to manipulate or control people

 Using Sex as a Substitute

Addiction isn’t just about drugs or alcohol. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways. It’s not uncommon for the newly recovering person to quit using and then find other ways to feed their addiction. Common replacements include food, shopping, gambling, working, exercise...and sex.

Acting out sexually has consequences. It can create additional guilt and shame, damage self-esteem and create wreckage.

Difficulty with real intimacy

Most people long for a romantic connection, lifelong love and meaningful relationships. The problem is that many of us are ill-equipped to actually create these things. It takes time to undo years of damage, and to learn the skills of communication, respect, honesty and openness necessary to actually have those relationships. Yet, we tend to barrel, head first, into relationships that we have no idea how to manage, searching for our soulmate, only to be disappointed time and time again, or worse, to end up relapsing over heartbreak or unhealthy or abusive relationships.

Real intimacy is a challenge for addicts who have repeatedly been hurt, who have built up sturdy walls to keep themselves safe, or who don’t know how to have a real, honest relationship, because they don’t even really know what that looks like.

So, what does healthy sex In recovery look like?

This isn’t an easy question to answer, because each person is different and has a different story, different needs and different values.

At its most simplistic, one could say that healthy sex in recovery is consensual sex that doesn’t violate either party’s personal values, that doesn’t manipulate, harm or cause wreckage. In other words, a real, adult relationship based on love and respect, not fear-based self-centeredness. But how does this happen? It takes work, and patience.

Doing the work necessary to allow yourself to get to a place where healthy relationships are possible is not easy, but it’s so worth it!

Consider temporary celibacy

This is something that is strongly advised in early recovery. We are told to “avoid relationships.” Some people take this to mean “avoid relationships, but casual sex is fine.” The idea of being celibate, even for a brief time, is often met with alarm. We want what we want, and we want it now! Fear of missing out tends to drive many recovering addicts to act without regard to consequences. Impulse control also plays a part. But, there are huge rewards to reap when you take a break from sex, and romantic relationships, including:

  •  You get a chance to actually work on yourself.
  •  You are less likely to harm yourself or others.
  • You are more likely to maintain long-term sobriety.
  • You are more likely to attract a quality relationship when you do decide to start dating again
  • You will quickly find that exercising these boundaries increases your overall self-esteem, self-worth and self-trus t.

And, here’s the deal: You aren’t going to miss out on anything. Sex, relationships and love will still be there, so don’t worry.

Work on you!

et help for yourself. Yes, participating in recovery, working steps and the help of a sponsor and support group can work wonders, but there are some issues that do require some outside help in the form of therapy. If you have been sexually abused or assaulted, or have other unaddressed trauma, or behavior patterns that you just can’t quite shake, know that they won’t just fade away with time. Do yourself and any future partners a favor and get some help.

Figure out what you want

If you have never entertained this seriously, it’s time to. What do you want? Often, people get so hung up on trying to be everything to everyone else and trying to please others that they never even bother trying to figure out what they want, what they need and just as important, what they don’t want. Take your time and explore this.

Don’t compare yourself to others

This is a dangerous trap. What seems to work for someone else may not work for you. Take the time to find out what makes you happy. Don’t worry about what others are doing. Some people are more naturally open and free with their bodies, some are more reserved. Some don’t get as emotionally attached, and some do quickly. Some people aren’t interested in monogamy. One person may be excited about the prospect of finally exploring their sexuality, while the next person may benefit from a period of extended celibacy in order to give their attention to other areas of their lives. Some may need more time to heal, and some may bounce back quickly. You are an individual, and it’s important that you respect your journey.

Be kind to yourself

Learn how to be content and comfortable with yourself. Do things that inspire confidence, self-worth and self-trust. Don’t depend on outside validation from others, it will never fulfill you.

Here’s the good news: Healthy sexual relationships when you are in recovery will be a completely new experience and worth waiting for. You are completely present in the moment.  It’s also important to note, that wow, you will be able to feel the whole process both physically and emotionally. You can have the open, honest, satisfying and intimate connection you’ve always been searching for.  First you have to work on you, get the healing you deserve and need, so that your past does not become your future again!


Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram.

 

 

 

 

Shannon Egan Celebrates 5 Years in Recovery

Five years ago I crashed my parent’s car into a ditch and ended up in jail with my 3rd DUI-- and with that I became a convicted felon. Today, I am a public face and voice for recovery in my community and the National Recovery Movement, and I’m so honored to carry the message in order to#SquashStigma and infuse hope. However, after publishing my first addiction memoir, No Tourists Allowed, I was reminded that I am not just a woman in long-term recovery, but much more. 

Prior to my felony, I was writing about sexual and reproductive health issues in emergency settings for the UN Population Fund in NYC, which required an in-depth understanding of how the ‘culture of silence’ surrounding sex further exacerbated life threatening situations for families and communities around the world. I was an avid reader and researcher, and I had dreams of traveling the world, and writing many books that empowered readers and challenged the status quo in creativity, spirituality, sex, addiction, religion, and so forth. 

At five years, the time has come for me to live a more balanced and authentic life. Besides working for USARA and advocating for recovery nationally, I want to take my creativity and sensuality (gasp! 😱) to the next level through #Cosplay, and develop more networks outside of the recovery community. 

This year, I will publish my second memoir, Sex, Drugs & Recovery (which picks up after Africa and takes place in NYC), and in 2017, I’ll publish a third: Girl Gone Global, which will feature a variety of travel stories and humanitarian issues that didn’t make the first two. One day, I hope to go back out into the world and wander for a while (with my cats in tow, won’t that be interesting!) 

I hope you’ll join me in the quest to live more authentically--despite the judgements of others. I believe it’s an opportunity for individuals to practice tolerance —if they’re awake—and gain a deeper understanding of the concept of multiple pathways in all things. 

As Steve Jobs put it, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” 

💫 As for me, I choose to live my life boldly and with great passion. 💫

Thank you for sharing the journey with me, Shan. 

 

Changing the Face of Addiction by Creating Positive Memes on social media

On October 1st, 2015 I posted a picture of myself on Facebook holding a sign that read:

I'm a convicted felon in recovery. Forgive me my past. Allow me my future.

This photo was accompanied with a public statement about why I was going to the UNITE to Face Addiction Rally, a history-making day, which took place on October 4th, 2015, in the effort to face addiction in the public arena. At the rally, tens of thousands of people showed up and 700 partners joined together for the first-ever rally and concert on the National Mall in Washington DC.

We called it: the day to end the silence. In a united front, with many faces and one voice, we shouted: NO MORE SHAME. NO MORE STIGMA.

My post read, “I’m going to UNITE To Face Addiction in order to spread the message that recovery is possible. I’m a convicted felon, but I deserve a second chance. We all do. Today, I have nearly five years in long-term recovery, and I’m not just sober, but I’m happy, healthy, and thriving both professionally and personally. My life has been transformed from an experience of shame and darkness to one filled with love, forgiveness, and acceptance. I speak publicly about my experiences and write about them in my book No Tourists Allowed in order to drive the National Recovery Movement forward and to create a positive conversation around addiction and recovery throughout the world. No more shame. No more stigma.” –Shannon Egan, Salt Lake City, UT. 

Today, I have 5 years in long-term recovery and I work at USARA as the Development and Communications Director. USARA is a Recovery Community Organization (RCO) located in Utah, and we advocate, celebrate, support and educate on behalf of addiction recovery and Utah’s recovering community. For my job I run our social media campaigns and I’ve seen firsthand the power of social media and how it can connect individuals in long-term recovery--and those currently seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addiction-- to their local recovery community. It’s also a powerful way to spread the message of recovery, eradicate shame, and stigma, advocate for change, and promote and strengthen the National Recovery Movement.

For example, in one day my ‘felon’ post went viral with over 1,000 Likes, 800 shares, and hundreds of supportive comments. The meme was spreading like wild fire and this is a good thing because it had a positive and powerful message: we make mistakes, but we recovery, end of story! Here's some tips on how you can help be apart of the change! 

Social Media: a Tool for Advocacy, Celebrating Recovery Community, and Promoting the National Recovery Movement:

  1. Share your successes: Always remember to choose content and photos that inspire and encourage as opposed to content that spreads fear and panic—no more posts about scary overdose epidemics! Yes, this is happening, but we don’t want to paralyze with our messaging. We want to empower, and the most effective way to do this is to spread hope. We must start eradicating the stigma by highlighting our personal successes—no matter how big or small. Tell your story!  My felon post is a great example of this.  #NotAnonymous #OurStoriesHavePower
  2.  Recovery focused hashtags: Hashtags are integral to the way we communicate online. Plus, they can be a fun! The same hashtags can and should be used for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link.  As individuals in recovery, we need a way to connect our messaging to one another so we can create a stronger and more unified network.  In order to turn our content into a searchable and powerful link, we must use one hashtag for all our posts, and that is: #NationalRecoveryMovement. Some other key hashtags America’s recovery community is currently using are: #FacesAndVoicesOfRecovery, #NotAnonymous, #WeCanRecover, #RecoveryAdvocates, and #OurVoicesHavePower
  3.  Create a powerful and positive meme. Then, watch it go viral!: My felon post went viral for two reasons: 1) the message was short, sweet and struck a chord with our target audience: people in recovery; 2) The message itself was visual (instead of just text). While at the UNITE to Face Addiction rally I put the same message on a poster, and many people stopped to take their picture with it. Why? Because they had a similar story and the message meant something to them. They wanted to pass the message or meme along. Don’t know what a meme is? It's an important word in the world of social media and according to the Urban Dictionary, a meme is a: pervasive thought or thought pattern that replicates itself via cultural means. Here are a few pictures of people borrowing my sign at the UNITE rally: 

4.  Highlight your family and friends who are in recovery: use your social media platform to celebrate the recovery milestones and contributions of your recovering friends and family. Keep the content brief (2-4 sentences max!) and always have a positive, fun picture to go with it. Include the hashtag: #NationalRecoveryMovement. Here’s a few examples of how we celebrate Utah's recovery community. Click on the picture to blow up the text:  

Post a Fun, Recovery-Focused Selfie or Photo: The power of the selfie cannot be denied, especially since Facebook and its fans adore it. So, let’s jump on board and have some fun with it, shall we? Selfies and people-focused photos are essential ways to promote important concepts online, such as:

  • recovery community
  • fun in recovery
  • volunteering for recovery, service
  •  recovery community centers
  •  all pathways to recovery
  •  recovery-focused services and people
selfie2.png

Hopefully it's clear that as people in recovery, our social media platforms have the power to heal or harm, and paralyze or empower our communities-- and in a big way! With strategic social media messaging and visuals, we can play a critical role in offsetting the sensational and demeaning portrayals in the mass media of people caught in addiction’s downward spiral. Just remember, social media is about SOCIAL networks. Therefore, there must be an element of fun in your posts in order to promote social engagement. Without the ‘fun’, you will not be successful.

So let’s get our hashtag and selfie on, shall we?  

***

Shannon Egan is the author of No tourists allowed: Seeking Inner Peace and Sobriety in War-Torn Sudan. She’s also an international freelance journalist and advocate for the National Recovery Movement. 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.   

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No Tourists Allowed: Review by Blogger Margy Ullmann Layton

Shove Me in the Shallow Water

by Blogger Margy Ullmann Layton

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Book #41: No Tourists Allowed

Ah, I scratched three itches with this book!

First, I'm always looking for ways to better understand people in my community who deal with addiction, especially when their addictions land them in jail. Shannon Egan grew up Mormon in Utah. She couldn't figure out how to make herself fit inside it all, and as she grappled with that for years, she numbed her pain with alcohol, and she ended up with a felony DUI.

Second, I'm always up for a vicarious adventure. Hopping on a plane to take a tenuous teaching position in the heat and civil unrest of Sudan? Check. Jumping into a career in international journalism without any actual experience? Check. Heading into Darfur while the war there was raging? Check.

Third, I'm deeply curious about how people in various parts of the world struggle to live in community with one another, especially when they have vastly different world views and corrupt political leaders who have their own agendas. Egan delivered an accessible an emotionally wrenching front-row account of the divisions in Sudan that eventually led to South Sudan's independence. She learned her trade well!

Early in the book she writes about a couple of epiphanies she had growing up: 

"I don't want to walk in a straight line for the rest of my life." And, "I never liked the idea of having everything figured out and decided upon. I wanted the experience of seeking and finding and knowing for myself. I wanted to get to the heart of matters without being shamed for it."

Her epiphanies totally resonate with me.

Those and the scandalous crush she has on Steven Tyler that she reveals toward the end. I don't know what it is about that guy . . .

Posted by Margy at 8:55 PM No comments: 

About Me

Margy

A few years ago my husband Roger and I closed our happy little independent bookstore called The Read Leaf in Springville, Utah, and we are embarking on new adventures. We are parents to Jack (16), who is smart and funny and determined to live life on his own terms. I'm originally from Massachusetts and headed west to attend college. I stayed because I married a Utah boy who hates humidity.

No Tourists Allowed Goodreads Giveaway: Win one of twenty-five paperback copies!

I'm  excited to be apart of the Goodreads community. My travel narrative and  addiction memoir, No Tourists Allowed: Seeking Inner Peace and Sobriety in War-Torn Sudan has already received a handful of 5 star reviews on the site and been added to the 'must read' section of hundreds of Goodreads readers. 

To show my appreciation for this warm welcoming, I'll be running  a series of giveaways on Goodreads over the next couple of months. This will allow readers from around the world the chance to win one of twenty-five free paperback copies of No Tourists Allowed.

Each giveaway will run for 7-14 days and there will be six giveaways in all. This promotion will end December 2015 so be sure to sign up to win your free copy.  Entering a giveaway only takes one click! 

In order to find out when a giveaway is running simply log onto Goodreads and search by title or click on the link below: 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

No Tourists Allowed by Shannon Egan

No Tourists Allowed

by Shannon Egan

Giveaway ends October 10, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

About No Tourists Allowed:  

For Shannon Egan, what began as a desperate bid to break from her strict religious upbringing and recover her sobriety—via a one-way ticket to Sudan, a country in the midst of genocide and civil war, and, due to Islamic law, seemingly alcohol-free—would evolve into a headlong plunge into the surreal politics of faith: the world of freelance journalism and nonprofit aid in a war zone, where big hearts and big talent compete to tell all the gory details, where children bring guns for class show-and-tell, AIDS-affected proudly proclaim their status, and a black market for hooch is hidden in plain sight.

No Tourists Allowed is a story of self-discovery leading outward. From her fight with alcoholism to the global media system that often puts in jeopardy the lives it wants to protect, Shannon sings of despair and celebration, relapse and recovery, and learning, finally, to love the unlovely.

 

EX-MORMON SPEAKS OUT ABOUT UTAH'S ADDICTION AND RELIGIOUS CHALLENGES IN NEW BOOK

International journalist, author, and addiction recovery advocate, Shannon Egan of Salt Lake City, debuts her first memoir: NO TOURISTS ALLOWED: Seeking Inner Peace and Sobriety in War-Torn Sudan. Her story is set in Khartoum, Sudan where Egan worked as a freelance journalist for IRIN News of the United Nations from 2004-2006. Following this, Egan wrote for the United Nations Population Fund in New York City and reported on issues that affect women and young people during humanitarian crises, such as sexual and reproductive health, and gender-based violence. 

Despite her success, Egan struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for nearly fifteen years. Her book is dedicated to the person still struggling with addiction. She hopes that by sharing her story readers will find purpose and meaning in their own struggles and know for themselves that recovery is possible. 

"Today, I have nearly five years in recovery, and I'm not just sober, but I'm happy, healthy, and thriving both professionally and personally.  I've come a long way considering that in 2011 I woke up in a jail cell for the third time in my life with a horrific hangover, still slightly intoxicated, and refusing to believe that I had an addiction problem," Egan says. 

Egan currently works as the Development and Communications Director for USARA, Utah’s statewide Recovery Community Organization, 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 says she left for Africa at the age of twenty-five in order to escape Utah's unique religious culture where oppression and persecution against non-Mormons is still very prevalent; Utah is the only state with a Mormon majority and a majority population belonging to a single church. In Salt Lake County alone there are over 500,000 members, four temples, six missions, 174 stakes, the Tabernacle Choir, the Mormon Prophet, and most of his twelve apostles--all packed into 740 square miles. 

Egan grew up in a Mormon household and says as a young person her desire to  seek God differently than the predominant religion caused great heartache. "At times, fear-based messaging, manipulation, and control were used to promote religious dogma in attempt to get me to conform. After years of being bullied and ostracized 'in the name of God' I turned to drugs and alcohol in order to cope. 

"This is not just my story but the story of many. Through my work for Utah’s recovery community I come across many individuals who are suffering from similar wounds. Our addiction recovery rooms are  filled with Mormons and ex-Mormons hiding in shame and secrecy because they've been broken by religious persecution and are afraid to speak out."

As of 2014, Utah ranks fifth out of all fifty states in the number of opiate-related overdose deaths. This number is higher here than the national average and increasing exponentially: in Utah, more people are dying from drug-related deaths than car accidents and firearms.

"By sharing my story, I hope to facilitate a positive conversation around addiction and religion throughout the world, and specifically in Utah, where a substance use epidemic is wiping out my family, friends, and community members at an alarming rate. It’s time for our community to address these issues lovingly, compassionately, and in support of our spiritual differences." 

No Tourists Allowed is a story of self-discovery leading outward. From her fight with alcoholism to the global media system that often puts in jeopardy the lives it wants to protect, Shannon sings of despair and celebration, relapse and recovery, and learning, finally, to love the unlovely. 

Egan is available for interviews and appearances. For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, and/or book-signings contact author@shannonegan.com