by Jim Davis
If you asked people back in 2015 to name someone who had the potential to make a significant positive difference in the lives of others, Shawn Trapp would probably not have made that list. At the time, Shawn was one of the thousands of victims of Ohio’s Opioid Crisis. It was a disease that put both himself and his family in harm’s way. But Shawn was strong and wise enough to seek help for his addiction. The story of his recovery and what he’s done since is a perfect example of how one person can overcome obstacles and make a positive difference in the world.
In 2011, Shawn was a respected foreman who managed a restoration crew for a Cincinnati construction firm. It seemed like his life was on a good path. But then one of his friends introduced him to opioids and soon he was badly addicted. Over the next few years, he lost almost everything: his job, his house, his car and even his dog.
Fortunately, the one thing he didn’t lose was the love of his family. His mother was adamant that she “should’t have to bury her son.” And so the family held an intervention that gave Shawn the strength to face withdrawal and the resolve to come to Dayton and enroll in the recovery program at Woodhaven Residential Treatment Center. At Woodhaven, he met a counselor who referred him to Good Shepherd Ministries. When he completed the program at Woodhaven, he enrolled at Good Shepherd. That decision put his life on a new, more positive path.
Good Shepherd helps people in recovery to prepare to re-enter society by giving them a safe place to live and access to opportunities that will help them improve their lives. Shawn had been there for eight months when a change in management provided him with an opportunity to step into a leadership role. He became the House and Programs Director, responsible for managing the two recovery houses the Ministry owned in East Dayton and developing programs to help participants build skills and find jobs.
Shawn soon realized that the Ministry wasn’t realizing its full potential. There were only five participants in the program and the success rate wasn’t very high. Shawn saw that the reason that people weren’t completing the program was that they weren’t truly committed to the idea of changing their lives. As he put it, “You can’t help people who aren’t willing to help themselves.” He decided to focus on serving people who had already made a commitment to change their lives by going through a recovery program like Woodhaven. Under that new model, the program has grown to 26 participants and the success rate has improved to 68 percent.
Shawn has also developed microbusinesses to help participants learn skills and earn money. The Ministry has partnered with the Life Enrichment Center to provide lawn care and landscaping services, which gives the Good Shepherd team access to the LEC programs. And the Ministry has opened two more recovery houses.
As a recovered addict, Shawn could’ve chosen to simply move on with his life. Instead, he’s spent the last six years making the most of his second chance by helping other addicts find theirs. His proudest accomplishments are the relationships he’s formed with his clients and other organizations, the improvements he’s made at the Ministry, and his own sobriety. In his own words, “The experience has humbled me and enabled me to overcome my addiction and to now be of service to others.”
It Begins With One. Will That One Be You . . .