This is Home: Talking about addiction and recovery

WTAP spoke to recovering addict Shawn Bowman about his journey of recovery and healing.
Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 8:21 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Marietta native Shawn Bowman said he’s been surrounded by crime and drugs for his entire life.

“That’s all I ever knew, you know?” Bowman said. “I didn’t understand recovery. There was always this one thing that was missing for me. I could never find out why I was different from everyone else. And then that’s just kind of where I fell in. That’s where I found my comfort at. And I just took the easy way.”

It wasn’t long before he started using drugs and selling them to support his own habit. In 2021, Shawn was arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver.

“I was so afraid, honestly,” Shawn said about his experience being arrested. “I mean, it was my first time going to jail. Being in jail itself wasn’t really where the fear was, it was, like, the not knowing.”

Two years later, Shawn is sober and on probation. He’s working as a behavioral health technician at the Clean and Clear Recovery Advantage Recovery center in Parkersburg to help those who still struggle with addiction. “I get to help people right on the front lines,” Shawn said of his work at Clean and Clear. “I’m right there. As soon as they come out of jail, or as soon as they walk in the door for treatment, I’m right there. And it gives me a chance to really use my experience that I’ve had and turn a lot of pain into purpose.”

Shawn said his journey toward recovery started when he got arrested, and that he wouldn’t be where he is today without the Parkersburg Drug Court. “I realized that there’s a lot of people in this community that want to help people, and that’s really great,” Shawn said. “I’m truly blessed to be part of the Wood County Drug Court. The fact that I got arrested in Parkersburg is a blessing from God. Because if I was arrested in a lot of other places I would’ve went to prison; there would’ve been no alternative sentencing. The fact that we have that here in this community and there are people who support that? It’s amazing.”

Shawn said he eventually wants to pursue work as a therapist. “Mental health really is the precursor to addiction,” he said. Like, let’s get down to it. We live in a community where jobs are scarce, and that can be depressing for people. And I think that if we really get down to where it all starts, I think that’s how we’re going to make the change.”

Shawn said that if there’s one message he’d want to share with people who are currently struggling with addiction, it’s not to lose faith, and that help is out there. “There are people here,” Shawn said. “We’re waiting for you. We want to help you. And all you have to do is reach out. And I know that me and several of my close friends will do everything we can to help people like that.”