AN electrical engineer who lost everything when his drinking spiralled out of control has found salvation in Greenock.

Shaun Murphy says the local Salvation Army saved his life and without its help he wouldn’t be here today.

The 59-year-old worked and travelled all over the world in places such as South Africa and Saudi but he couldn’t beat his alcohol addiction.

He said: “I was very young, just 16, when I started drinking. I was an electrician by trade and working away from home.

“There was a lot of encouragement for me to drink when I was working overseas. There was no permanence for me.

“I was in relationships but they broke down, because of the nature of my work and because of my drinking.

“It was a vicious circle.”

In his mid-20s Shaun progressed his career and gained an HND in electrical engineering and acquired positions at home and abroad but could not settle.

He said: “I had really good jobs but I couldn’t see them through.”

On a bad day he could down a bottle of whisky or vodka.

He said: “I was absolutely wasted.

“It had a terrible affect on me mentally, physically and spiritually. I had no hope.”

The turning point came when Shaun lost a flat he had in England and was living rough.

He sought help from a homeless unit who suggested he move to Scotland to get the help he needed.

He took their advice and came up to Edinburgh in 2006 but fared no better there.

Then the Salvation Army said he should try their rehab unit at Fewster House in Greenock — and at last he found recovery.

He said: “They ran a 12-step programme of complete abstinence.

“It saved my life.

“I would have probably ended up dead if it hadn’t been for Fewster House. I needed the support and I couldn’t get it anywhere else.”

Shaun stayed at Fewster until it closed and then a floating support service helped him secure a flat in High Street.

He’s now enjoying his life of sobriety in his new home town and his mum also moved here in 2013 after his father died.

He said: “I like the friendliness of the people. I like the scenery and the walks along the Esplanade, the Clyde Estuary and and the view of the Argyll hills.

“It’s total peace.” 

Shaun was swift to praise the Salvation Army during a recent question and answer session with local MSP Stuart McMillan, who visited the service as part of the organisation’s new film project to promote debate on alcohol misuse in the run-up to the Scottish elections in May.

He asked the MSP if the Scottish Government would consider banning alcohol advertising in public, to help stop young people being tempted to start drinking. Mr McMillan replied that the matter was a reserved issue, but added that the Scottish Government would continue to press its counterparts at Westminster to look at marketing and advertising.

Shaun said: “It was good to be able to put our questions to Mr McMillan. I’m pleased to be able to take part in this kind of thing with The Salvation Army because I wouldn’t be alive without the support they’ve given me over the years.”