Addiction Treatment In The Marine Corps
The Man Behind The Addiction
Coming from a home that stemmed from two vary diverse population groups, Corey was expected to conduct himself within certain parameters. His mother was a hippie and his father was a U.S. Marine. The dichotomy of messages he received while growing up was that it was ok to have fun, but he was also expected to be a young man and act accordingly.
I like to joke around and say that my motto in my house was “make love AND war.”
The pressure of acting in such a way, however, drove him to seek escape from whatever was going on in his life at the time. Everyone feels the need to escape sometimes, but not everyone does so in a healthy method. Corey was an only child, so he lacked brothers or sisters to set an example or guide him, leaving him to escape into his own world.
Attending 13 different schools within a 12-year period, Corey’s childhood was anything but stable, as is often the story for military families. As he moved from coast to coast, he became a rather adept storyteller. He would take exciting stories from each duty station and replace the integral person in each story with himself.
The First Taste and a Slippery Slope
Corey’s first experience with a narcotic substance was when he was only eight years old. He and his friends would play war around an old abandoned bomb shelter they had found behind base housing. Inside the bomb shelter, they found a big box of candy.
This candy was, in fact, most likely an appetite suppressant developed by the Japanese and used by the Germans in World War II. In order to suppress appetite, these candies were likely laced with methamphetamines.
I remember that was ate a couple pieces a piece and that I wasn’t hungry and I didn’t sleep for two days.
This was not where Corey’s active addiction began, but this was his first experience with a substance that changed how he felt and his perception of the world around him.
His next experience was the first time he smoked pot a few years later while hanging out with a friend who had older brothers. As a result, they tended to hang out with an older crowd. While Corey’s friend didn’t want to smoke, Corey felt a desperate need to fit in and be accepted; a trend that continued well into high school.
His addiction truly began with alcohol, but attempting to drive home while drunk was frustrating after a time. Corey became worried that his father would take notice. Under the impression that it would allow him to drink more and still be able to function, he started doing methamphetamines and cocaine.
While these activities started out as just weekend things, Corey was a binge user/drinker. Over time, naturally, his addiction began to progress and it went from a weekend activity to a daily activity.
How Did Corey First Get Into Treatment?
Shortly after high school, events came to a head. Corey had pawned guns from his house to pay for drugs or even given guns to drug dealers for his fix and his mother had noticed. He was out of money and needed a fix, so Corey cornered his mother and demanded money. Tears erupted and, while Corey never laid a hand on his mother, he frightened her.
So she goes into her purse and she pulls out money and she throws it at me and it hits the ground. I didn’t even think twice about it. I reach down, pick it up, and walk out the door.
Almost two days later, Corey returned home to find his father sitting in the kitchen, waiting for him. Having been awake for almost two days, Corey wasn’t able to really process this, as his mother had married someone else in the recent year and his father no longer lived with them. He didn’t understand what was happening.
Confronted by his father, Corey came clean about his drug use and addiction. His father showed him a pair of plane tickets and a pair of handcuffs, telling Corey that he could come willingly or unwillingly. Corey chose to go willingly and soon was placed in a treatment facility.
At just 19 years old, however, Corey was convinced he didn’t have a problem. Sure, maybe he had a problem with cocaine but that’s just because he was doing cocaine. He didn’t consider his drinking or other drug use to be a problem.
After his 28-day program, he moved into a halfway house where he lived for about four months. Unfortunately, he was kicked out of that house for having a relationship with one of the other people there, which is against the rules.
Her drug of choice was heroin and, while Corey was still working a program, she was not. About a week after they got kicked out of the halfway house, she overdosed and died.
I think if that hadn’t happened I probably would have gone out sooner but that fear, right there, kept me in the rooms.
Accomplishing After Treatment
Corey was clean, he had a job, he was living with a beautiful, older Italian woman. Everything was going well for him. Come November of 1989, he was watching the Army/Navy football game when she asked him why he never joined the military.
Defensive, he “bitched her out” and stormed out the door before driving down to the beach. He sat on the rocks, watched the sunset, and thought about what he was doing with his life and what he had done with it up to this point.
Being an impulsive person and lacking direction, Corey decided to join the Marine Corps. He took the tests, went to a recruiter, and shipped off to boot camp.
The day he graduated as a U.S. Marine, he walked across the parade deck was one of the best of his life.
The pride I saw in my dad’s eyes, that overwhelming sense of “I finally did something right” was it’s own rush.