My name is Shawn Maynard. I’m 36 years old and live in Booneville.

I grew up in a very dysfunctional environment – partying and fighting were the norm around me. I started drinking when I was 9 years old. My brother was four years older than me, so I always hung around with older kids. I felt like I never fit in with my age group.

Because I was always trying to fit in, I stayed in trouble at school. I started smoking weed when I was 11. That carried on until I was about 14, then I was introduced to pain pills and Xanax. By the time I was 20, I was caught with my first felony. I was on OxyContin and Xanax, then broke into someone’s house. I was sentenced to 16 months in jail on a second-degree burglary charge as well as a breaking and entering felony. The judge sent me to Drug Court.

That was the first time I was introduced to recovery. But I fought with Drug Court on and off. I was sanctioned multiple times, then finally got it together and did everything I needed to graduate from the program.

But, less than a month later, I started back by taking Suboxone, which led to meth, cocaine, and pretty much anything I could use to get high.

Now that I look back, I worked the 12-Step program but didn’t have God in my life. For me, it takes a combination of both.

I was in and out of jails, rehab, and psychiatric institutions. When I was 27 years old, I was introduced to the needle. It went downhill from there. I lost everything and everyone around me.

When I was 33, I was charged with another felony for selling dope, and I was sent to ARC (Appalachian Recovery Care) in Tennessee. I was so broken and hated everyone and everything around me. I remember going to church one night, and the preacher came up to me and said: “You have a demon latched on your back.”

He prayed with me, and something special happened that night. It felt like a ton of bricks lifted off me. I cried for at least an hour. I had been saved. I let go of all the shame, remorse, and guilt. Jesus took my burden.

I have been clean every day since July 17, 2018. I have gained back relationships that I thought would never be restored. I have a place to live, a car to drive, and I am able to carry the message to the still sick and suffering addict.

I am truly blessed. One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”