Face of Recovery: Coach helps others with addiction


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Every milestone in recovery is a miracle, says Shannon Jackson, a coach at the Jackson Recovery Resource Center (JRRC), a facility of the Ann-Arbor based nonprofit Home of New Vision. The center helps people affected by the disease of addiction by providing resource groups, card and game nights, computer labs, case management, peer support, and a variety of other activities, including the opportunity for community service.
As a recovery coach, Jackson assists participants with goal setting, relapse prevention, organizing responsibilities, transportation, linking to the recovery community, re-acclimating with the world as a sober individual, and encouragement.

“Smiling again, being honest, repairing relationships, and being reliable are just a few miracles I’ve witnessed since becoming a recovery coach,” she says. “Every milestone is also a cause for celebration – my goal is to celebrate a lot!”

And Jackson has plenty to celebrate in her own life.

“I’m a person in long term recovery and what that means for me is that I haven’t used drugs or alcohol since November 13, 2007,” she explains.

“Much of my time is spent investing in my own recovery – attending 12-step meetings and spending time with others involved in the recovery community. That has given me the ability to be a good mom and a wife, be a better sister and a daughter, and help others with substance use disorders. My work gives me the opportunity to be the face of recovery for those still suffering in their addiction.”

Primarily a coach for female clients, Jackson was drawn to her work in her hometown by a passion for helping others achieve quality of life.

“The reward is my own quality of life – the ability to have appreciation and remain humble,” she says.

She also works with the Jackson County Recovery Court that last year added a Veterans Treatment Track. Presided over by Judge Susan Beebe, the programs for those struggling with substance abuse provide an alternative to incarceration and/or probation.

The team includes a court coordinator and a Recovery Court specialist; a VA service officer from the Justice Outreach Program; assistant county prosecutor; Veteran probation officer; substance abuse counselors from Allegiance Hospital, Allegiance Addiction Recovery Center, and Born Free; a defense attorney; a detective from the County Sheriff’s Department; and a coordinator of the Veteran Mentor Program.

“Recovery Court is a lifeline to participants because it gives them the tools that are needed to change their lives as well as the support and motivation,” says Jackson, who has worked with the court since last August.

“It treats the underlying issue as opposed to locking people up for crimes they may not have committed without the addiction.

“Substance use disorder is not a choice – it’s a disease caused by bio-psychosocial effects,” she adds. “And joblessness or marriage breakdown may be a result or symptom of the disease.”

A graduate of Western High School in 1997, Jackson earned an associate’s in arts from Jackson Community College and received her bachelor’s in social work from Spring Arbor University in May.

Newly wed for almost 3 years to her best friend, Jackson has two sons, ages 15 and 17, and an 11-year-old daughter.

“I love to travel with family,” she says. “Also, I’m my kids’ biggest fan in the bleachers at football and basketball games, and another of my favorite things to do is go swimming at the Y with my daughter.”