Shannon’s Story

Shannon had no idea what was in store for him earlier this year when he headed for Des Moines. “I just jumped on a bus. I never in a million years would’ve known what was going to happen.”

What happened? Simply put: Shannon found hope, healing and freedom from an addiction that had held him captive for decades.

“I started drinking a long time ago when I was a teenager,” he remembers. From there, he moved on to drugs, and addiction consumed his life. He also struggled with depression and anxiety, especially after the death of his parents 15 years ago.

Shannon reached his breaking point early in 2022, but thankfully, two friends convinced him to check himself into the hospital. At that hospital, he was given information about Hope Ministries, which is how he found himself on a bus heading toward Des Moines. “I left everything—it was hard,” he says. “But it was either that or die. I had to get away from the drugs.”

Shannon’s first two weeks at our men’s shelter were difficult both physically and mentally, but then he started attending chapel in the evenings. “I started praying to God. I never really did that before. The more I went to chapel, the more God started working in my heart.”

Today, he says, the man you might see chatting with someone at the front desk of our Bethel Mission shelter or playing pool with other residents at our Door of Faith life recovery center, isn’t the same person you would have met six months ago.

“This is the longest I’ve ever been off drugs and I feel amazing. I think clearly now. I just love life now. I love it here. I love the people I’m around.”

Loving being around other people is something entirely new for Shannon. “I never used to talk to anybody,” he says. “I was all balled up inside. I was isolated.” In contrast, now Shannon helps out at the front desk of our men’s shelter as part of his work skills training. “When I’m off work, I can’t wait to go back. I love helping people.”

Shannon is also basking in restored connections with his three adult children through phone calls and chatting online. “They didn’t even really want to be in my life anymore, but they’re all in my life now. They know I’m focused on trying to get better. I’ve come a long way and this is just the beginning.”

Today when Shannon looks in the mirror, he sees someone who is “loving, happy, grateful.”

“I like to give. I like to be kind to people. I never was like that before. That’s all God.” Knowing God, he says, is what has changed his life the most. “God saved me. He’s been there all along, but I didn’t know it. When I was using, I didn’t care about anything. But when I got clear-headed, I realized He’s been there. I just needed to ask for His help.”

As Shannon continues to dedicate himself to classes, recovery, and church involvement—while fitting in plenty of basketball, ping-pong and pool with new friends—he’s excited about what his future holds. “In the future, I want to do volunteer work besides whatever job I’m doing to support myself. I want to give back and help others.”