Shannon describes himself as the “kid who just wants to grow up.”
“Christ is my model of adulthood,” he explained. “Since I made a decision to start following Him 17 years ago, that’s what I’ve wanted most – to grow up.”
On the surface, Shannon had a happy childhood in a solid, middle-class family. But just below the surface, a storm was brewing in young Shannon.
“Outwardly, life was good,” he said. “But I struggled socially, I struggled at school and I struggled at home. I just really had trouble connecting with people.”
After his parents divorced, Shannon began getting in fights and smoking cigarettes, then marijuana. He was over the high school experience and dropped out at age 16. He spent the remainder of his teens pretending to be an adult: he got his own apartment, was working full-time and made some friends. Unfortunately, those friends were smoking and dealing meth — and Shannon soon followed suit.
“I was 18 or 19, getting high and selling meth,” he said. “I had friends, but I didn’t know how to really connect with people, so I started replacing those relationships— those connections — with substances.”
Soon, Shannon was arrested on drug charges and sentenced to 90 days in jail along with six years of felony probation. At the time, it was the best thing that could have happened: incentive to get sober and stay clean; a reason to stay out of trouble. Shannon spent his early twenties focused on building a family and a career. He met a girl, had two kids and found success in the construction business. But the storm was still swirling within him — it was just a matter of time.
Within months, Shannon lost his job and the house. Soon after that, he was back in jail for another 90 days for possession. This time, it was a blessing in disguise.
“I was tired of destroying my life and everything in it,” he said. “I found a Bible in jail and started flipping through it, and that’s where my relationship with God really started.”
In February 2004, a chaplain from Springs Rescue Mission visited Shannon in jail and invited him to join the New Life Program. He made the decision to commit a year of his life to recovery — the first step in what has become a life of obedience to God.
“I was getting involved in church, rebuilding relationships with my kids and was chasing after God,” he said “The pieces of my puzzle began to come together.”
A year later, in February 2005, Shannon graduated the program, and his new life began. Just six months later, he was granted full custody of his kids. Soon after, he enrolled in Bible college and met Noel, the woman that would become his wife.
“These were major milestones along my walk with Christ,” he said. “It felt like He was letting me know that I was headed in the right direction.”
In the years following, Shannon went on to graduate from UCCS with a master’s in counseling, had a child with Noel, became an active member of Holy Theophany Orthodox Church and began working full-time as a case manager in the New Life Program.
“It was pretty cool to come full circle and be the one helping people like me this time around,” he said. “This work is challenging; it’s hard and sometimes it hurts. But I care about people, and I wish to live in obedience to God.”
In July, after nine years working for Springs Rescue Mission, Shannon became Manager of Addiction Recovery.
“It’s been a good challenge for me,” he said. “I’m stretching and learning how to do it well.”
Shannon has faced many challenges in his life. They’ve caused him to grow and to trust God with his recovery, his marriage, his career and his life. But despite his victories, he’s still just that “kid who wants to grow up” — a runner in the race of life, with his eyes set upon God.
“At the end of Paul’s tenure, he said ‘I have kept the faith,’” Shannon said. “That was his accomplishment. In the face of everything he went through, he kept the faith. At the end of the day, I think that’s what matters.”
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