Voices of Recovery captivates Honeywell audience

By Josh Sigler

Of all the stories and anecdotes told at the Monday, Oct. 1 Voices of Recovery event at the Honeywell Center, none were as captivating as the story of Shane Beal.

Beal, a former lawyer, lost it all to drugs and alcohol, hitting rock bottom with a four-year prison sentence. 

Beal and emcee Doug Hartle shared a story not for the faint of heart. Hartle, a former police officer, once sold a gun to Beal while Beal was drunk sitting in Hartle’s squad car in a gas station parking lot.

The statute of limitations has passed on the incident, so both felt comfortable sharing it with the audience.
“That’s what addiction does to you; you don’t make clear decisions,” Hartle said.

Beal started his presentation by explaining that speaking at events such as Monday’s is “about God moving” in him.

“I’ve had a lot of God moments, and I think recovery needs that,” Beal said.

Beal says he hit rock bottom on Dec. 18, 2015, and it lasted for a couple weeks.

On that day, he walked into the Grant County Superior Court II court room not as an attorney, but as a defendant.

“And, not as someone who was respected in the community, but someone who wasn’t,” Beal said. “That was hard. I had practiced law in Grant County since 1996, helping a million people with divorces, trials and doing what I was supposed to do as an attorney.”

On that day though, he was a defendant, the memories of success as an attorney long gone.

The charges levied against him that day included forgery, writing bad checks to pay for crack and meth he could no longer pay for.

“That’s hard to admit that you’re someone who was formerly looked up to,” Beal said. “Or respected. My life had dwindled down to pretty much nothing. Along the way you would have thought there’d have been rock bottom after rock bottom.

That day in the courtroom, Beal’s rock bottom, he was sentenced to four years in prison.

(The judge) told me he was going to save my life,” Beal said. “And I thought ‘you’re crazy.’ Lawyer’s don’t go to jail. Aren’t we on the same team? Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for me.”

Looking back, Beal is dumbfounded at just how bad his addictions got before rock bottom came.

It didn’t come when he lost his law license. It didn’t come when he lost his kids. It wasn’t divorce, or horrible relationships. It wasn’t buying guns from a sheriff’s deputy while drunk.

“It wasn’t anything until that day sitting in the courtroom headed off to prison, because that’s where God found me,” Beal said. “I was so mad the first couple weeks.”

Beal was sent to Blackford County Jail because Marion wouldn’t keep him for reasons he didn’t discuss.

He was a trustee waiting to go to the department of corrections.

The judge showed up and wanted his car washed.

“Who washes cars in jail?” Beal asked “Trustees wash cars. So, not only did this guy send me to prison, but I also have to wash his car.”

Beal gets to prison, and finds that the only time he could get out of his cell was to go to church.

He continued to go to church, study the bible and attempt to get closer to God.

“At that point in my life, that’s the only thing that I had,” Beal said. “That’s the only thing that got me through one of the most horrible times in my life. … I got myself to a place where the only thing I had was Him.”

Beal said the hardest thing to do when he was in the throes of addiction was to ask for help.

“Asking for help is not a sign of weakness,” Beal said. “It takes courage to ask for help when you’ve been kicked, or let yourself down so much that you don’t know if you can get back up.”

Asking for help is really hard, Beal said.

But, he continued to ask for help.

“When I surrendered the addiction and the shame, all the bad decisions and heart breaks, all the clients I shammed, all the respect I lost for myself -- all those things went away,” Beal said. “And, so today I don’t have to worry about that because I asked for help. If you’re struggling with something or know someone who is struggling, love them where they’re at until they can ask for the help they need.”

Beal now works as a peer recovery specialist and case manager at Grant-Blackford Mental Health.

He’s been sober now for nearly three years.

Beal has a blog which diaries his journey to recovery at

Posted on 2018 Oct 09