Patient Stories

Shannon’s Schick Story

By May 7, 2020 September 10th, 2020 No Comments

For the past 35 or more years, I drank excessively! It became daily for the last 20 years.  I desperately wanted to ease the pain from the HATE I had for myself! The last 12 years of my life drastically spiraled out of control as I endured 50-60 injuries and surgeries. My drinking started the moment I woke up and didn’t end until I passed out in the evening. The constant, never-ending pain and pain pills on top of the alcohol didn’t help my mental and physical health either!

Right before I began this journey to Schick Shadel Hospital… My now sober life journey…My liver was failing along with my marriage, family relationships, and friendships.  My self-esteem was shot!  My body was falling apart from all the injuries and surgeries.  My health was deteriorating rapidly.  My doctor gave me two options. Option #1: Continue to be selfish and leave my boys without a mom in less than 2 years. Option #2: Get help….

 I made the choice to drop out of college and become a single teen mom.  So, when most people (that I knew) were out partying, I was at home taking care of a baby.  By the time I turned 25, I was married with 3 kids.  I started my career as a flight attendant when I was 28 and separated.  By the time I turned 30, my first marriage had failed.  I eased the pain and humiliation with more alcohol.

Truly the beginning of the endThat is the best way I could describe my career as a flight attendant.  I was “flying high” in more ways than one. I found more happiness as a flight attendant than I could have ever imagined! I absolutely LOVED my job! I was so proud of myself and the company I worked for!  In my opinion,n it is the greatest airline that has ever existed in the world!  I had my “free, drinking, fun, party” time when I was at work and around-the-clock “mommy” time when I was at home.  The best of both worlds.  Yet, I drank more and more every day.

Two worlds collide… I met my 2nd (current) husband when I was 31 years old.  Another best of both worlds.  He lived in Idaho and I was in Montana.  When I was flying, I was able to be with him and when I was home, I was a full time “mommy”.  My two worlds never really crossed paths unless I wanted them to.  He is younger than me, which means he is always up for an adventure and good times.  We partied hard! Eventually, he transferred to Montana. By age 38, I had two more little boys and was married again.

Even though I was successful with life I HATED MYSELF more and more every day! I guess the physical pain I suffered from due to all the injuries and surgeries had a bigger impact on me than I had realized. I had to accept the fact that my dream job was coming to an end because of the debilitating limitations. My amazing employer stood by me for as long as they could.

I went from “Mommy” to an embarrassing disgrace… I have always tried to destroy my life (self-sabotage) before anyone could do it to me. I got to the point where I was going to all my older boys’ games drunk off my ass. I was missing early games because I was too hungover to get to them. They no longer wanted me at them either because I was constantly creating drama, causing scenes, and embarrassing them.

The tables turned… I finally became an embarrassment to myself.  I was hiding alcohol all over my house and car.  My little boys were finding my stashes of empty and full cans everywhere.  They would find me passed out on the floors or bent over the counter or kitchen sink passed out. They watched me repeatedly fall in public and try to talk to people while slurring my words. Nobody was able to understand me. I was totally wasted when they came home from school. The look on my boys’ faces when they saw me like that was indescribably humiliating!

I loved my job because I enjoy making other people happy. Ironic because the only people I should truly care about making happy are myself and my family! I was no longer engaged in my roles of being a mom and a wife.  I would wake up at 6:00 am and begin drinking. Long before I would wake my boys up for school and fix them breakfast. As my younger boys began feeling the affects of my drinking, my family and friends begged me to quit and get help.

Those two choices I mentioned earlier… I don’t know how I did it, BUT…I DID IT!!!  Before I lost EVERYONE and EVERYTHING AND before they LOST ME…

I walked through the front doors of Schick Shadel Hospital on 9/13/2018 all alone!

I am sharing my story…WITH my family’s support!  I have asked them to crack open the door of their private lives with the hope that our personal struggle may help others.  For that mom, housewife, spouse, child, professional, coach, athlete, etc…The person isolating at home drinking or getting high just to be able to go out in public or deal with life’s curveballs.  To the people who think they need just one (but we all know it’s more like 10) drink, shot, hit, pill, etc, …YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!  Trust me, you may think that you are sneaky and nobody knows, but it’s just the opposite …EVERYONE KNOWS!!! I get that now.

A first for everything… I can tell you that with every day of sobriety, your journey will become clearer.  I am not going to lie, it’s harder than hell!  You must give yourself time to get to know the new “SOBER” you.  People who know you need that time too. You will encounter firsts everyday.  Like the first time you walk down the beer aisle at the store and you don’t open the door, or the first time you go to the gas station and you don’t leave with alcohol. The first game, school or public event SOBER.  With each first you get through, you create a new normal. It is conquering these situations that make the new journey worth it! You will find that with each conquer, your sobriety becomes a little stronger.

NO ONE can make you quit or get help and if they try to, it most likely won’t work. YOU must admit and accept you are ready.  ONLY YOU can make the decision if you genuinely want treatment to work for you!

Here I am, officially 20 months SOBER.  I am on a new journey, an unexplored expedition that I am experiencing with NO blinders.  Life does not change overnight!  My younger boys are so PROUD of me and extremely protective of my sobriety. My older boys are slowly allowing me back in. They had a lot longer exposure to my addiction. I know it will take a lot of work to gain their trust again!

*During this COVID-19 pandemic, I know everyone’s life has been forced to change. Many of us had to had begin looking for a new way to ease the severity of stress. The availability of drugs and alcohol have not gone away. For many of us, they are a necessity.  Isolating and using is a normal way of life for us addicts, so quarantine has made it easier!  But, it’s also made it easier for social users to become addicts too. For many, the only or easiest way to escape the stress of COVID-19 is to use drugs and or alcohol. Soon our restrictions will be lifted, but the addiction won’t be gone!

If you or someone you know have changed their level of dependency during the Coronavirus shut down…



Schick Shadel Hospital was the ONLY place (I am confident about that!) that would and DID work for me!


Start researching Schick Shadel Hospital in Burien, WA. They are the ONLY aversion therapy treatment hospital in the country and there is only one other one in the world. Everything on their site is true! I know their success rate is factual because every person that I have met that has gone to SSH is still sober, and I’m talking 10-20 + years! I live in small-town Montana; my life seems pretty normal as a mom and wife. Although my life may seem normal, I have a huge story to tell behind that image! Everything I have written is MY STORY, my experiences, my knowledge and MY OWN WORDS!!!

I want to end this with the clarification that I am not receiving ANY compensation from Schick Shadel Hospital.  My story and my passion for helping others comes straight from my heart and soul!!!


~ Shannon

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