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Overcoming Addiction: Former addict studying to become a counselor

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - A life consumed with finding the next buzz, doing whatever it takes to get her hands on drugs. That is what 28-year-old, Shannon Evans, says her life used to be about. Now, a full time student at Big Sandy Community and Technical College, she has hopes of helping other drug addicts and their families.

A good student and a good kid...with a promising future, Evans says she threw it all away her freshman year of high school.

"Started smoking weed, dropped out of school, then moved on to pills...Xanax, loracets. I then got pregnant at 17," she explains.

A son at 17, a daughter at 19...staying clean through both pregnancies, Evans says her world then began to spiral out of control.

Involved in a terrible car accident, after weeks in the ICU her world was rocked, "They took my kids. When I got out of the hospital, they wouldn't let them come home with me," she remembers.

Evans says, "You know I loved drugs more than anything! I did, I loved it. I felt like I needed it like you need the next breath of air."

However, Evans says there was one thing she loved more than drugs...her kids.

"There are only two ways to go from there, you either go to prison or you die. I didn't want that for myself and you know who are my kids going to have?"

Taking a little more than two years to get clean, Evans got her kids back and enrolled in school. "Just to get out of the house, socialize, be around normal people, and just have something to do with my life," she explains.

Overcoming obstacles and experiencing a relapse after a failed pregnancy, Evans says professors helped her regain focus and set goals.

By committing herself to the many friends she's lost to drugs and those who are struggling, she found purpose for her life.

Evans says, "I can't sit back and watch anymore, these are the people I love, these are my friends, they aren't some worthless drug addicts."

She adds, "I want to help people like I used to be, because they do have hope, they do have help, and they can beat this...we can beat this and we have to beat this."

Using her story and the education that saved her, to pursue a career in substance abuse counseling with dreams of opening her own rehab facility.

"That is what I live for everyday, everyday. When it gets hard, that is my goal, that is what I think of," says Evans.

Evans will receive her associate's degree this May. She then plans to attend Indiana Wesleyan University for her bachelor's degree, and then pursue a masters and possibly even a doctorate degree.

She says most importantly she is now becoming someone her kids... who are now eight and ten-years-old...can be proud of.

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