Wild and reckless living resulted in Sean losing custody of his toddler son.
The devastating development only further quickened Sean’s descent into the pit of his drug addiction; an addiction which stripped him of any meaningful relationships, employment and a home (he actually found himself sleeping in derelict fish factories).
Heroin – a drug no-one can flirt with – and Sean’s appetite for life had proven to be a particularly lethal combination.
“I was always an all or nothing guy and it was the same with taking substances – very quickly, it was all about drugs, drugs and more drugs.”
Drugs, drugs and more drugs brought Sean to the brink of death. He wasn’t suicidal but says that each time he injected heroin, part of him hoped the heroin inside the syringe would be particularly strong and cause an accidental overdose.
In the mess of addiction, while walking into Fraserburgh town centre to steal to feed his habit, Sean was invited into a local outreach, where he spent three hours with the manager, pouring his heart out over how bad life had become.
Sean filled out an application for addiction recovery centre, Teen Challenge Sunnybrae, there and then and kept in touch with the outreach team, who helped, encouraged and supported him on his journey to break free.
During this time, Sean remembers being perched on the end of a friend’s sofa, going though cold turkey, and praying; “God, I need your help.”
Although making positive steps in the right direction, Sean’s past caught up with him, as he was arrested by police for outstanding warrants, and remanded in prison for three weeks.
While in prison awaiting court, the Manager of Teen Challenge North East Scotland visited Sean to let him know a bed was available for him, if he still wanted a place in Sunnybrae.
On the day of April 28, 2005, Sean woke up in HMP Aberdeen, was transported to court in Peterhead, where he was collected and driven straight to Sunnybrae, near Fyive.
I went from having no hope to actually seeing a future for myself
He arrived at the centre hungry for change. Sean says he got physically clean – but also much more, as he dealt with issues he never even realised he had.
Sean says: “I went from having no hope to actually seeing a future for myself. I went from being a selfish prat to actually putting others first.”
Sean graduated Teen Challenge and headed to Bible College, where he gained a BA (Hons) in Biblical Studies and Theology.
It was at Bible College that he also met his future wife, who he would go on to have two beautiful kids with.
Also, in a major turnaround, Sean – who at one stage in his life literally could not look after himself – is now an ordained Minister at a church in Aberdeenshire.
Most remarkably though is the transformation in Sean’s capacity to be a Dad; a role he describes as “the best job in the world.”
As well as having two kids with his wife, Sean’s relationship with his first son is fully restored with a fantastic bond between father and son.
On top of that, Sean – who had lost custody of his son while living in the chaos of addiction – is now being given responsibility for other children, with him and his wife making the decision to foster kids.
Sean explains the couple’s heart behind fostering: “We want to give as much kids as possible a positive experience of being in care.”
Sean’s story is encouragement for anybody struggling.
Encouragement that not only can an addict’s individual life change but, when that person is transformed from being selfish to selfless, a beautiful collateral impact can happen, with other people’s lives being truly enriched and enhanced.