The Shawn Mellis Story: The Cop Who Cared and Why Not Everyone Makes it Through Recovery

March 10, 2021
Shawn Mellis. Free at last thanks in part to a police officer who cared.

The following is a testimonial about the transformation of Shawn Mellis from a police officer who arrested him multiple times.  Following that is Shawn’s perspective on why some in recovery make it and others don’t. 

For Shawn’s powerful story of how he overcame 26 years of addiction, click here. 

Shawn’s “Jiminy Cricket”: A Testimonial from the Police Officer Who Always Spoke the Truth

“Shawn Mellis is definitely a completely different person from when I last interacted with him. It’s rather infrequent that we get to see the positive changes people make. Over the past 15-some years that I’ve been in Law Enforcement, it has become painfully obvious that we as Law Enforcement Officers get exposed to the worst of society on a regular basis. It quickly becomes the norm to us that a really bad day for someone is just another day for us.

Rarely do people call the police just to tell them everything is going well. Typically, when people call the police, it’s because their world is falling apart. With this, it’s even more rare that we get to see the success that people make. Speaking for myself and many others in law enforcement, when we hear about people like Shawn, it truly brightens our day and renews our resolve to serve the community to the best of our abilities. Shawn went from rock bottom to a life he can, and should be, proud of. Shawn’s story also helps remind us that a moment that does not seem terribly important to you, may mean the world to someone else.

In short, I am proud of Shawn and the steps that he has taken and the life that he has created. I am honored and humbled that Shawn attributes part of his success to our interactions.” – Officer F.

Why Do Some Fail, While Others Succeed at Recovery. Shawn’s Perspective.

During his time in the program, Shawn observed two kinds of people. “I watched people work the program and let the program work for them,” says Shawn. “They’d always be asking, ‘What can I do to change?’ In contrast, the other group, would always be asking themselves, ‘What can I do to manipulate this situation?’” This latter group, whom Shawn would later see dropping out of program and, for the most part, not have a good end, saddens his heart. He continues to pray for them.

“Watching the guys struggle and relapse is a bummer,” says Shawn. “It really grieves me. Case in point: I have a buddy out there who’s full-blown relapsed four times while in the program. Every time he succeeded, he literally got a job, and then would end up blowing it by going back to his addiction. I’d say to him, ‘What happened, man? You got the job. You got the money. You got the success. You’re working 50 hours a week. You’re making $23 an hour. That’s amazing, so what did you just do?’”

Shawn doesn’t just pray for those lost sheep. Shawn’s way of paying it forward is to go at least two or three times a month to talk to the guys currently in recovery. “I come back as their cheerleader—to love, support and encourage them—and to let them know it’s worth the effort,” says Shawn. “Because it is. I mean, my life is certainly proof of that!”

For Shawn’s powerful story of how he overcame 26 years of addiction, click here.