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Sean ‘puts the ways of childhood’ behind him as he reenters mission program


Sean was surrounded by alcohol from a young age, growing up with both sides of his family indulging in heavy drinking, particularly his dad. At 10, Sean started drinking himself. Even though his parents divorced, he saw his dad every weekend, where he was also regularly exposed to his drinking.

“I thought to myself, ‘This stuff must be good.’” Sean’s dad died in 2011 due to Cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcohol abuse.

While Sean later tried marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines, it was drinking that caused the most damage. “My issue was with alcohol,” he said. “I didn’t really like the drugs. I just wanted to drink.”

After graduating from high school in 2004, Sean went to work for a utility company for a few years, but lost that job due to his drinking.

Sean met his fiancée when he was 20 years old and she was 35. “She wouldn’t date me at first because I was younger than her so we stayed friends,” he said. “We started spending every weekend with each other and she finally gave us a shot. My grandfather loved her because she kept me on the right track. He knew if I was with her I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

But as Sean’s drinking worsened, he started to see the consequences. “I started to lose my family,” he said. “I knew I needed to change. I was going downhill fast. I have my family members—mostly cousins—that were there for me, but they just wanted to be there to party and drink with me.”

Sean first came to the Mission in 2018, but left after a short time. “I would go on these drinking binges and each time it would get worse and worse,” he said.

Sean tried to get clean on his own, and at one point had been clean for six months. But while on a work trip, he had some beers. Sean then remembered something he needed from Walmart. “I got so intoxicated that I fell asleep at the wheel,” he said. “I hit a curb and a sign and still didn’t wake up. I kept going and eventually hit a tree. I woke up to a cop waking me up.”

When Sean called his fiancée, she was so disappointed, he said. Sean’s company vehicle was destroyed everywhere except for where he was sitting in the driver’s seat. “I didn’t get hurt,” he said. “The airbags came out. I felt like it was God telling me that this was another chance for me to get it together.”

Sean was again unsuccessful at quitting on his own, so he called Program Manager John Schmidt at the Mission.

They had kept in touch over the years. “I was tired of drinking, and I didn’t want to take (this second chance at life) for granted,” he said. “He told me to come back to the program.”

Sean said the Mission staff welcomed him back when he returned last October. “I felt a release when I got to the Mission,” he said. “Pastor John quotes 1 Corinthians 13:11 for me. ‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.’

“I wasn’t ready the first time I came to the program. I am ready now. I don’t feel the weight on my shoulders. I had to surrender to God.”

Sean talks to his fiancée, who he’s been with for six years, every day. “The thought of losing her along with my seven kids made me want to change,” he said. “She’s been through it all with me and I am grateful she is still hanging on, but she has had enough.”

“I love my family and I take a lot of pride in my family,” Sean added, sharing that he hopes he’ll be able to return to them after he graduates. Sean also has plans to become a drug and alcohol counselor for men and young people.

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