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Someone You Should Know: Sean Fleming

Sean Fleming (WHAM photo)

He went from a full ride to college...to a jail sentence. A Livingston County man is among those sharing his story of heroin addiction with 13WHAM News.

Sean Fleming is someone who can help us understand the power of an addiction that has become an epidemic. And that makes him Someone You Should Know.

“I grew up in a completely alcohol and drug-free home,” Fleming told 13WHAM News. “Both my parents never drank, never did drugs, ran a very tight ship. So when I got out of high school, I drank maybe twice at the time of graduation.”

Just a few years ago, Sean was on a full-ride vocal music scholarship at Niagara University. By the second semester, he was back in his hometown – Mt. Morris – out of school and addicted. His life was spiraling out of control.

“It ruined my life in a six-month period,” he said. “It took hold of me very quickly and led me down a path that I definitely am not going back to.”

Sean’s story is, in many ways, typical. Addiction led to his becoming a thief, then an inmate. As part of his rehab, he started on Vivatrol, a drug prescribed to prevent relapses. It is part of the answer for Sean, but he still worries about the day when he’s free again and faced with choices.

“To me, I literally fight a battle day-to-day in my own head over using drugs and, for that matter, any drug – not just heroin, but any drug,” said Sean. “It’s to a point where I have to consciously remind myself not to use. It’s the good angel, the bad devil. It’s a battle between almost two separate people. Sometimes, people say that sounds a little crazy. That’s the best way I can describe it: A mental argument with myself."

We wish the best for Sean – who we’ve just learned is out of jail – and facing those inevitable choices. He is one of four inmates who bravely agreed to share their stories with us inside the Livingston County Jail. They are cautionary tales that may give us insight into what can be done. Our special Town Hall report – A Jailhouse Conversation – can be seen Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on 13WHAM.

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