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'Emmaus saved my life' - former homeless alcohol abuser Sean goes from a life of crime to feeling 'powerful,' thanks to charity's intervention

Written by Editorial Team, Donr

Published on Friday, 9th February 2018

'Emmaus saved my life' - former homeless alcohol abuser Sean goes from a life of crime to feeling 'powerful,' thanks to charity's intervention

Written by ##author:callumpatterson## for DonateToday

PUBLISHED: ##published## | UPDATED: ##updated##

Sean now lives and works in the Emmaus Cambridge community. Stock image of model

After a period of homelessness, sleeping rough and sofa-surfing, Sean turned to nationwide charity Emmaus for help with his alcohol addiction and living situation.

Two years homeless

‘I became homeless following a relationship breakdown,’ Sean recalls. ‘It was a turbulent relationship which lasted for eight years before ending in alcohol-fuelled abuse. In the end, I had to leave and chose to be on the streets.' 

Sean spent two years homeless in southern England. He either slept rough on the streets or on friends’ sofas, and struggled with an alcohol addiction. 'The alcohol was ruining everything I did,' he admits.

Turning to crime to feed himself and his alcoholism, Sean found himself in trouble with the police. An officer recommended Sean to a charity called Addaction whom he thought may be able to help the homeless man reduce his alcohol intake.

Addaction suggested that Sean attempt to get a space in an Emmaus community – a charity-run safe space which offers homeless people a place to live and work, for as long as they need it.

I can work anywhere

Following a two-week detox in hospital, Sean was interviewed by staff at Emmaus Cambridge and moved into the community there two days later – he stayed for four years before moving to the Emmaus Village Carlton. Since arriving, he has really flourished in an environment that provides security and the chance to work.

Among other jobs, Sean serves customers in Emmaus Cambridge's community coffee shop

‘I move around on a daily basis so there’s a lot of variety in the work that I do,' Sean explains. 'I can work anywhere within the community: driving vehicles; working in the warehouse; serving customers in the coffee shop; or at the shop counter.’

"Emmaus saved my life."



As well as working within the Emmaus Carlton community, Sean's work with the charity has also seen him travel abroad – visiting communities in Romania on five separate occasions.

‘Of all the things I have done in my 56 years, I don’t think I have felt as powerful as I do when I get out of bed and go to work in the morning,’ he enthuses. ‘I am making a positive change to someone’s life somewhere and that’s an amazing thing to be able to do.’

Speaking about the charity who run the community which has made such a difference in his life, Sean has nothing but positive things to say. ‘If I hadn’t done my detox and come to Emmaus, I would probably have ended up dying on the street,’ he admits. ‘Emmaus has given me purpose and structure.

‘My family and friends think that Emmaus is wonderful,’ he continues, ‘And can see the effect it’s had on me in turning my life around and making me happy. 

'I feel safe and I love the work we do because I know it's very important,' Sean finishes. 'Emmaus saved my life.’