Shawn Fisher said he had his “a-ha moment and wow moment” at once – while lying in a nursing home bed, looking down at the tubes protruding from his torso, which were doing for him what his ravaged body couldn’t do. Keep him alive.
Decades of unbridled alcohol abuse caught up with Shawn one day in March 2016, when his advanced pancreatitis triggered a stroke. Over the next days, while his family prayed fervently, his bodily systems would begin to shut down, one by one, and doctors told everyone to prepare for the worst.
But God had other plans for Shawn, and Shawn says he began to hear God’s whispers the very day he went into the hospital. “I drank in order to escape reality,” Shawn said. “I thought I had control, but it got away from me at some point. That day, though, I woke up and I wasn’t feeling normal. That’s when I heard a voice say, ‘you’ve got to go to the hospital.’ I called 911.”
He was coherent when the paramedics arrived, but that’s the last he remembers before he suffered the stroke and was put into a medically induced coma. When he woke up in the hospital many days later – a miracle, considering the severity of his condition – he decided it was time to get his life under control.
Shawn remembered the voice he heard and knew it was God.
“I always believed in God, but I thought I was the one in control,” he said. “I may have elevated my own opinions over God. But in that moment, in the nursing home, looking at those feeding tubes, I was like, wow. I invited Christ back in my life.
“God met me right where I was,” Shawn continued. “He never left me; it was me that strayed. But God will never leave you.”
Since that day, and his eventual admission into Good Samaritan Mission’s Discipleship House (Jericho’s transitional housing and programming for men working to overcome addictions), Shawn has been pursuing God diligently, even getting baptized this past July. He attributes his spiritual growth to his mentors at Discipleship House, Pastor Meredith Payton and Rev. Wanda Payton.
“When Pastor put me down into the water, I could feel his energy, his love,” Shawn said. “And when I came up out of the water, the first thing I saw was Reverend, just smiling at me like a proud mama.”
Another blessing that has come from his sobriety: he’s re-established the fractured relationship with his 19-year-old daughter, Summer. “I heard that she was willing to give me another chance,” he said. “We first met again on my birthday, May 28. Now, we talk or text every day.”
Recently, Shawn celebrated 100 days of sobriety and says he is doing everything it takes to stay sober for the long haul. He is attending church services, praying daily, and seeking a deepening relationship with the Lord.
At Discipleship House, Shawn in a Resident-in-Training, which means he’s given the responsibility of supervising the residential floor one overnight a week, as well as on a Saturday night. He also is a Senior Resident Mentor, which means he often coaches the new residents of Discipleship House, showing them the ropes. Most of them even bunk in his room in their early days in the program.
“God’s given me a gift. I’m here by God’s grace, and it’s a gift I don’t think is meant to be kept to myself,” Shawn says. “So I would tell anyone (who walked where he’s walked) to just trust God. He’s right there where you left Him.”