Sean Anthony Houlihan

Sean Anthony Houlihan

Compassionate, brave, humorous, protective, tragic

Sean’s young life ended tragically from a pill laced with fentanyl. Sean had experienced many obstacles in his short life. He was diagnosed with ADHD at age four and often reprimanded in school. His parents divorced when he was eleven and he witnessed his father’s substance use. At 16 he was sent to Montana for substance abuse treatment and by 17 saw a friend die. Sean was in and out of the juvenile system and as an adult was incarcerated for stealing marijuana. For many years he believed this would be his path in life, but in July 2020 he expressed to his mom it wasn’t the life for him. He wanted something better, and he wanted help.

Even though Sean had experienced hardships, he remained polite, generous, and compassionate. He could make anyone smile with his quick wit. Sean had a soft spot for little kids, and sensing his lovable ‘teddy bear’ personality, they loved him. He especially adored his nephew, James, who will be two in September 2021.

Sean was close to both his sisters, Alexis, now 26, and Sophia, 19. He took his role as brother seriously, “He truly was our protector and always had our backs,” his sister, Alexis, said. He knew he was loved. All three siblings were bonded in deep appreciation for family. Alexis enjoyed watching Sean and her son interact. “He always made James laugh so hard,” she said.

Mom and the siblings had a memorable two-week vacation in the Outer Banks in September 2020, just two months before Sean passed away. His sister stated, “It was great to spend time together. It felt good to goof off as siblings like we used to when we were little”.

Sean had not yet started a career path although he was studying for an exam to take part in an HVAC apprenticeship. Saturday nights he spent time with his grandparents and went to church with them and to their favorite Greek restaurant, always remembering to bring home a piece of baklava for his mom. Sean was sober and realizing how much he had missed out on. He was required to stay in the area due to parole, dealing with PTSD, depression, and isolation, so it was difficult. Sean found a treatment center and admitted himself for 30 days, coming home on December 2, 2020, and enrolled in an outpatient program. He seemed to be doing well. It encouraged his mom to hear him talk about goals, like buying a house and having a family. “I thought FINALLY he cares about himself and feels he is deserving.” His mom said.

Christina misses their conversations about life, the past, hardships, and how to push their way through his illness. “I miss him telling me goodnight, his hugs, kisses, and saying, I love you. And I miss hearing him talk about the future he wanted to create for himself.” She speaks out when she hears ignorant and stigmatizing comments about those with SUD. She wishes others realized that people with this illness cannot just stop. “It has nothing to do with willpower or desire. They should think before they judge. I want to help families struggling to deal with this disease, I hope to find the internal strength to follow through.”

Sean’s mother, Christina Corrado, and sister, Alexis Houlihan, provided the information for this narrative.

July 19-1999-December 31, 2020

Age 21-Lived with the disease of addiction six years.

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