From the streets to God’s Grace

The photo on the left is what Shawn Boyd looked like while on drugs. The photo on the right is what he looks like today.

Boyd with his daughter Ali.

Divine intervention is how one man may describe his ability to recover after decades of being an addict. With regret on his mind for the many years of addiction, he recently celebrated his second year of being clean and sober with a celebration that included a former elementary teacher attending a service to honor his new life.

Shawn Boyd was raised in Scioto County attending school and church as a child in Otway, and Northwest. He will be the first to tell his former classmates that he tried his best to hide his addiction to drugs as a student. He left school long before his graduation and headed down the path less taken.

Boyd spent many years scraping by working constructing jobs to support his habit. He willingly admits that for many years he helped to run the streets of Portsmouth, doing whatever he needed to feed a $1,200.00 a day habit. His desire to continue to live the life he was living started to change when he would have a near death experience. He was hospitalized for stage one liver failure his Hepatitis C count was too high. With his body turning yellow the Physicians treating him said they were astonished he was alive. He prayed for the Lord to end his suffering and pain, but the Lord didn’t take him that day. Boyd then suffered the death of a close friend to an overdose at the same time. “Losing her took me to a very dark place, a place no one ever wants to see.”

After a couple of attempts to end his own life he believed the Lord spoke to him telling him ‘It’s not time for you to go yet’. He knew it was time to get clean, if for no other reason than to “not let her death be in vain.” He made a few calls, with the help of some friends he chose to go to Ironton for recovery for the first time in his life after more than 23 years of dependency.

Boyd talks about the first 30 days saying they were the toughest days of his life. Staring at the door of the house he was in nightly, contemplating leaving. His fellow addicts hid his clothes, socks and shoes so that he wouldn’t walk out on a cold February night in 2017. He stuck with the program, by choice and knew that in order to change himself he would need to “get right with himself and most importantly with the Lord.”

Turning his life over to the Lord helped to give him inner strength and some piece of mind but the struggle to want to use would still creep up in the back of the mind, leaving him with thoughts of using placing his mind, body and soul in turmoil. “Programs help, and you have to work the program” says Boyd. “I am now a one hundred percent total abstinent believer, no suboxone, no drugs or alcohol of any kind that is my belief.”

Boyd talks about his daughter, who was 18 years old when he went into recovery, and he would give anything to change the ten years he lost with her due to his addiction. She wrote him a letter explaining that she loved him and wanted him to succeed. This was encouragement he needed to help strengthen him and get him through the program, “I wasn’t participating in the program until I heard from my daughter, and she said I love you and I am proud of you. She was the push I needed to really get clean.”

Boyd began working with programs such as Real Life Ministries and Pastor Rick Sturgill. Boyd now spends his days reaching out to those who want to change their lives. Willing to drive anywhere to help people in need when they ask for help, he finds his days full as he works for Spectrum Outreach Service. He is working on his GED and then his CDCA to be a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. Boyd said, “I couldn’t be more grateful for the people I’ve met along this journey. I’m proud of myself for standing up and making a positive change in my life so that others, just like me, can see that if you love yourself, and the ones around you…just maybe you can achieve what I have.”

Boyd’s story has been published in a book called, Get Clean Stay There. Christi Perdue, a Facebook friend, was the publisher and author of this book. Then later he told his story in a meeting with the Teachers of America Union. He will be making a public speech to a Lawrence county school in the future, hoping to enlighten the students of the path in life he took and maybe saving one from repeating his mistakes. He is available to people who want help and is willing to tell his story, “If it helps just one person by writing this article it is worth it to me”, that is how strongly Boyd feels. Finding the resurrection of himself through the Lord and knowing that he was loved by his daughter, that has given him his inner strength to win this battle he fights daily for himself and for others. Offering his shoulder, “because his shoulders are strong” for anyone who needs help to lean on, that controls his life today. He said, “that anyone in need can hit him up on Facebook if they need to talk, I will help anyone who needs saved, as long as, it’s in my power to help them to answer the Lord’s calling and receive God’s Grace.”