Keeping Vigil: Former addict aims to help others get clean - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Keeping Vigil: Former addict aims to help others get clean

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Shawn Kingsbury Shawn Kingsbury
SPOKANE, Wash. -

"I've gone from the depths of hell to living a full and amazing life." Words of a former addict who makes it his mission to walk alongside others trying to escape the life he lived. One Spokane man opens his doors and heart to those trying to escape the stronghold of addiction.

"Alcohol and drugs destroyed everything I ever cared about. Every relationship, every job I ever cared about," says Shawn Kingsbury. Kingsbury had it all. He was a star athlete growing up in a good Christian family. He accepted a scholarship to play football at the University of Idaho. But that would change after he took his first sip.

"Late in my senior year, I started drinking and it quickly became my number one priority, surpassing sports" Kingsbury says. "I found myself blacking out numerous nights of the week."

Within months, his life took a drastic turn.

"It ultimately ended my football career that I could have. Because I went to a party in college and got in a fight and blew out my ACL and MCL."

Life continued to spiral downward for Kingsbury.

"It just completely fell apart," he recalls, "I had multiple DUI charges, an assault charge. I would just find myself in such chaotic situations. It was like I was a magnet for chaos."

It was so bad, Shawn got discharged from the Marines.

"There wasn't anyone that didn't think I would die from this," Kingsbury says. "People in my corner were hoping and praying, but it was ugly at the end."

It started with alcohol, but eventually turned to cocaine, ecstasy, meth and even heroin. The agonizing pain was too much to numb.

"Football meant a lot to me -- gone. Marine Corps. meant a lot to me -- gone." Kingsbury says. "So now I'm like 'Who am I? Why am I destroying everything?"

Negative self-talk consumed him. Like most addicts who find themselves in recovery, Shawn hit rock bottom.

"Rock bottom was a moral feeling inside of me. I was spiritually and emotionally bankrupt. I had so much pain, anger and sadness and really just this inability to participate in life."

So the healing began.

"I started hiking with men in recovery and there was something about getting up a mountain and the conversations that we had and our ability to interact and the ability to leave the past behind us, leave the future where it's at, and focus on the now."

Yoga and meditation have also centered his soul, and so has Pura Vida Recovery, an active sober community for adults in recovery that Shawn founded two years ago.

"We believe by participating in fun and engaging activities such as paddle boarding, hiking and strength training, yoga that we will strengthen our emotional and physical sobriety."

Hands-on projects give a sense of pride and accomplishment for those in recovery.

"For the right person Pura Vida becomes home."

Through physical activity, education and volunteerism Shawn believes the process of recovery in his community gives those in recovery a sense of pride.

Today, Shawn is the man he's meant to be. He's living an authentic life where he can clearly see the people who love him.

"I have so many friends.  People that count on me and I count on them. That is such a value. I'm creative today.  I get to do wood working.  I'm an athlete. I get to be a mentor."

He's a loyal friend willing to take that first step with anyone who walks through the doors at Pura Vida.

"You can turn your life around and I'm willing to make that walk with you. I'm willing to go there with you."

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