Addiction on Deployment
Even after Corey graduated as a United States Marine, his addiction continued by way of drinking heavily. Traveling around the world on the expense of the U.S. government, Corey saw the world bits and pieces at a time, as he would get blackout drunk at nearly every port.
Back in that time, however, the Marine Corps didn’t care much about alcohol, as long as you didn’t drive while intoxicated and showed up to your duty shift. When he got back to the United States, however, he drove through a checkpoint slightly over the limit and got his first DUI.
At this point, the Marine Corps had to act and gave him what was called non-judicial punishment. They took away some of his money, restricted him to base, and put him into a 28-day treatment program.
Corey couldn’t tell his superiors that he’d already been through a treatment program, as that would have violated his Oath of Enlistment. So he had to go through the program and for a time, it worked. For a period of a year and a half to two years, Corey didn’t drink at all.
Everything was going well for him at that point. He was the designated driver, he got promoted to Corporal, he was progressing. All seemed to be at it’s best for Corey…and then he started drinking again.
Why would he do that? Because he thought he had the problem beat. He thought he could try moderation, go out and only have one beer or two, and not over-indulge. For Corey, though, moderation was only a temporary solution. Once the substance was in him, he lost the ability to say no or even slow down.
I drink to excess, I drink everything to excess. Whether it’s water, whether it’s coffee, whether it’s soda, whether it’s chocolate milk, it doesn’t matter. If it’s there, I pound whatever I drink.
The Spiral Continues
His addiction progressed again and Corey started manipulating family members once again, doing whatever he could to get whatever he needed, and started stealing and dealing drugs again. Eventually, Corey ended up losing his home because he had fallen so far behind on mortgage payments.
With his ex-wife moving out, Corey became completely absorbed in feeling nothing, lost in the false euphoria he felt when on methamphetamine or anything that involved adrenaline. This carried on for about a year until Corey got himself arrested.
He had just gotten out of jail two weeks beforehand so he was already on probation. Corey was high when he went to see his probation officer and things went from bad to worse. At his arraignment, he was told he was looking at a prison sentence of 18 years.
The reality of what I had been doing and what I was doing had set in.
Frightened and with no idea how to deal with what he was facing, Corey called everyone; his mom, his dad, even his ex-wife. The most difficult call was to his ex-wife, when she put their 12-year-old daughter on the phone.
She asked him where he was and he told her she was in jail. Rather than being angry or upset, she was relieved. She said “Good. At least I know where you are and that you’re safe.” That moment broke Corey’s heart more than anything.
Corey went to prison, got a private attorney, and got his sentence reduced from 18 years to 18 months. Shortly before his release, part of the legal process is to make sure one doesn’t have any outstanding court cases, which Corey did. Part of his release agreement was that he had to go face the judge handling that case.
How Did He Find His Recovery?
Corey had gotten a speeding ticket in that judge’s jurisdiction and when he came to the judge, he confessed that he was an addict. The judge asked what he was doing differently and Corey told the judge that he had been going to meetings.
Rather than assign Corey the 100 hours of community service he was originally bound to, the judge gave him the option to attend meetings. Corey had to attend 45 meetings in 60 days, so he got right to it, eager for the opportunity.
Living right across the street from one of the fellowship groups, Corey went there every day, sometimes even twice a day. He was also looking for work at the time, which is difficult when you’re fresh out of prison, an addict, and have a record.
Fortunately, Corey found work at a treatment facility where he got to utilize his passion for cooking. Here, he developed a sense of self-worth again, as he began to once again feel valued. He started to progress and went to meetings regularly of his choice.
Through these meetings, Corey found a home group; a regular meeting of individuals who got to know the real Corey and work on those interpersonal relationships. These relationships were crucial because these friends had that connection with Corey and were able to tell him when he was screwing up.
I work a 12-step program of recovery. The goal for me in that is to find some way to maintain my recovery, because any time that I have not done a 12-step program of recovery, I’ve ended up relapsing at some point in time of my life.
But Did It Work?
Corey found himself a home group and a sponsor. In so doing, he truly began a journey of self-discovery. For a man who’s spent his entire life lying about who he was, what he’d done, and where he’d been, this journey was especially important because Corey didn’t know who he was.
Thanks to this journey and his work through the meetings, Corey is truly able to give back in a meaningful and personal way, able to work on becoming the man, the husband, and the father he was always intended to be.
Today, he is responsible, married, has two adopted children whom he loves, and three natural children he strives to maintain a healthy relationship with, and he is faithful.
Today, I get to explore my humanity, I get to be human, and I get to try not to make the same mistakes that I’ve made. Today, I get to be me and that’s the greatest blessing I could ever have.
Corey is aware that his addiction is waiting for him. He has no delusions that it’s gone away just because he hasn’t used for years. He treats it like diabetes or any other disease that’s gone into remission; it’s still there, waiting for him.
The meetings he goes to, however, as well as his sponsor, his service, his step work, and his home group are like his insulin, as he puts it, which helps him maintain his disease. He has to do them to be who he is, rather than who he was, just as a diabetic has to watch their eating habits and take insulin.
For me, there’s no greater therapeutic value than one addict helping another, because it’s kind of like being lost in a maze. An addict in recovery knows the way out because they’ve gotten out. So reach out, go to a meeting, pick up the phone. There are so many resources out there.