I am a family man and I am more than my addiction.
My name is Shawn and I am enrolled in the Electromechanical Engineering program at Western Technical College and will graduate from my program this spring.
While in recovery, I have faced many barriers. The financial burdens were the most difficult along with transportation issues getting me to and from work. It’s very difficult to be dependent upon someone. Another barrier I faced was getting my family back and gaining that trusting relationship with my wife and daughter once I became sober.
Recovery comes with many difficulties in life, mine being the loss of a fiancé and child in 2004, which has been the greatest challenge I have had to come to terms with along the way. Since being in recovery, I have begun to put myself in a positive mindset, I knew I had to, and could do better. Going back to school has been a success. I have made the President’s List each semester and have a job interview lined up with Kohler Supply Company in Kohler, Wisconsin. Kohler chose my application out of many other candidates for an interview. They have a great reputation in the industry along with a higher starting wage. This only proves my personal goals can be attained. I am no longer look at getting a job; I am focused on getting a career to have a better life for my family.
Having many smaller goals such as staying in school and not giving up has helped me to stay focused and feel good about myself. I consider my wife, daughter, my mom and dad my main support system. Without them, I would not be where I am today. I can admit that I have had to eliminate many people in my life, as they were not good influences and none of them stuck by me during those difficult times. I soon realized, early into my recovery, it was my wife and family who were there for me. I began to recognize that certain people and places were my triggers, and cutting those ties were what stopped feeding my addiction. What helped me to get through every day during my recovery was staying focused on my goals and thinking about my family.
If I could give advice to my younger self, it would be to deal with grief differently by having better coping skills for the loss of my loved ones. Much of my success comes from a cognitive behavioral program that was offered to me in the Black River Falls Correctional Institute. The program touches on emotional imbalances and pulls out aspects of your life that are affecting you most. It teaches you how to apply your coping skills. I was fortunate as there are very few prisons that offer addiction based help, even though most of the people are in there suffer with substance abuse.