The chaos caused by addiction is a subject that Gordon Cruden knows more about than most.
On a Monday morning back in 1987, he entered rehab as a messed up 21-year-old alcoholic, after a weekend locked up in a Fraserburgh police cell. Finding life completely unmanageable without alcohol, Gordon knew he needed to dramatically change – and total transformation is just what he experienced.
On becoming a Christian while in rehab, Gordon’s craving for alcohol instantly vanished and was instead replaced by a zest for life. Fast forward 28 years and, today, Gordon is the area manager of addiction recovery charity, Teen Challenge North East Scotland, managing female residential centre, Benaiah, near Mintlaw, and men’s facility, Sunnybrae, near Fyvie.
His role allows him to use his own experiences to help other hurting people beat their addictions, through using the tried and tested principles that he adopted to not only live a clean life, but to relish a full and abundant one.
On leaving rehab, Gordon gained a Diploma in Theology at Bible College, before then becoming a Pastor of an Edinburgh church. It was in 1999, however, when his journey into full-time addiction recovery was sparked after the funeral of a friend who had died due to drugs, back in Fraserburgh.
Then at another drug-related funeral, Gordon witnessed a truly heart-breaking sight – one of those lowering the coffin into the grave that day was the deceased’s 8-year-old son, and the tragic experience compelled him to provide a solution for the many families who were having their lives shattered by the scourge of drugs.
Soon after, Sunnybrae swung open its doors to broken men from across the local region and, as manager of the centre, Gordon draws on what he’s been through to relate to residents’ situations.
Gordon explains what he enjoys most about his work: “What I love to see is men and women grab hold of the freedom they’re offered. To witness people create lives that they and their families can be proud of is incredibly heartening, encouraging and inspiring.”
This month, Gordon will embark on a gruelling 14,000-mile journey to help more addicts on the road to recovery. On Wednesday, April 22, he will set off on the Euro Bike Challenge – an audacious attempt to cover 47 countries, across the length and breadth of Europe, by motorcycle in just 30 days.
Gordon will use the initiative to highlight the plight of women in addiction and to raise money for the purchase of female centre Benaiah, which opened in 2009. The Challenge marks the launch of a five-year campaign to raise the £500,000 required to buy the property.
The facility – which allows mothers to continue living with their children while they complete the faith-based recovery programme, Teen Challenge – is currently rented.
However, the purchase of the property would mean the centre could continue to provide females with residential support on a permanent basis and, ultimately, help many more women break free from the horrors of addiction to live clean, free lives.
For more information, please visit www.tcns.org.uk or call 01651 891623.