It’s the crumbling face of crime led by addiction. Addicts say the powerful craving prevents them from noticing the heavy toll their drug use has taken on their bodies and lives. Many continue to give into the cravings at all costs and will do anything for a high. They lie to loved ones. They cheat and steal, continuing to hurt the ones they love most.
Explanations for this type of behavior never add up, says one former addict from Harrison County.
Shannon Keegan McGoey, 33, was just one of many who attended a new faith-based outreach program Tuesday night held at the Hancock County Justice Court House.
The program, “No Judgment Day,” is a coastal support group spearheaded by local city leaders. The program aims to curve various societal epidemics and bring people from all walks of life together. It offers unique resources and teaching tools.
It was in November of 2002 when Shannon’s battle with drugs began.
“My mother was not feeling well,” Shannon said. “She had been having some medical issues for which she was regularly seeing a doctor.”
With a baby to tend to, Shannon told her mother she would be back after feeding time, but she accidentally drifted off to sleep, she said.
The next day, her mother had passed away.
“I had no idea my mother’s precious life would end the way that it did. Nor did I know that this was the day my battle with drugs would begin,” Shannon said.
In an effort to escape the pain, Shannon said, she began abusing prescription medications.
“The feeling I felt after the medication took effect was amazing. It filled the hole in my heart and made me feel alive. I felt as if nothing had happened, sheltered from all of the tragedy and sadness around me.”
But Shannon soon found she could barely function without the help of drugs.
“I was new to using and I was naive,” she said. “I didn’t know what to expect from this lifestyle but sadly, I just didn’t really care.”
Shannon eventually moved in with her “Papa.” By that time, her addiction, she said, had grown stronger and it seemed as if life continued to throw curve balls at her.
Shannon says a series of traumatic life altering events just kept coming.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit, and then she witnessed her friend’s death.
“I watched my friend get shot and die right before my eyes,” she said. “It was a nightmare! Replaying the experience in my mind caused my drug use to get even worse. I was completely blind to the outside.”
Shannon says she became filled with anger and hated God for allowing her to live with so much suffering.
“I was trapped in the darkness of my addiction, and I was not at all prepared to give it up,” she said.
In 2006, another close friend was killed instantly in a car accident, Shannon said. At that point her addiction spiraled out of control. In 2009, she went to stronger drugs.
“I fell instantly in love,” Shannon said. “I had a stronger bond with this drug than I ever had with the last.”
Eventually, Shannon’s drug addiction turned criminal as she began stealing money from her Papa.
Shannon was arrested and charged for check forgery. Upon her release, she swore to stay clean, but her addiction demons eventually resurfaced. She was back and forth behind bars.
Both her ‘Papa’ and her sister died while she was incarcerated. This time when she was released from jail, she realized she was all alone.
“I now had to decide if I wanted to go back to drugs or fight for my life with all the strength that I had,” Shannon said.
With help from her Godmother, Ronda Mullins, and surrogate parents Steven and Ida Hammons, Shannon became clean. She is now dedicated to helping others and to be a part of the No Judgment Day program.