Stories

Corey is Not Going to Let the Pain of His Past Keep Him from Starting Over Again

Corey

Corey was born in Los Angeles and lived in the San Fernando Valley most of his life. Corey was an only child and his parents divorced when he was 12 years old. He started getting into trouble at school. “Just being rebellious and defiant,” according to Corey. His father was a liquor salesman, so he grew up exposed to it and had racked up a couple of DUIs by the time he was in his early twenties. Corey enrolled in an automotive repair trade school and worked as a mechanic for a few years. He tinkered with computers as a hobby and later got into computer networking as a vocation.

Corey attributes a lot of the difficulties he has faced in his life to his struggle with addiction to drugs. In his early thirties he went to an inpatient detox facility where he met his wife. They enjoyed 15 years of sobriety. They had good jobs making good money and Corey was a devoted stepfather to his wife’s children. “We had borrowed a lot of money and overextended ourselves. Then the recession hit, and my mother got sick,” said Corey. The financial stress and the grief over his mother’s death drove Corey back to his old habits to cope. “This was the most difficult thing I ever had to deal with,” recalled Corey.

They lost the two homes they owned and ended up renting a place for a while before losing that too. They were living out of motels. His wife eventually moved in with her sister who was battling dementia and needed someone to look after her. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a situation where Corey could stay with her. It was a relief to Corey that his wife had shelter. He had a difficult time coming up with the money each day for a motel room for them. “I was out there on the streets, living in a tent. It’s rough. It’s a lonely feeling,” says Corey.

It’s hard enough to endure the streets when you are in good health. When you are in poor health, it’s scary and dangerous. After a recent stay in the hospital, Corey arrived at Harbor Care. “It was calm, and the staff was very kind. They treated me wonderfully and have great food,” says Corey with a grateful smile. “I knew I would be taken care of during a time when I felt very raw and abused out there in the world.”

Corey will be moving on from Harbor Care into his own apartment. He received his Section 8 voucher to rent his own place where he can be reunited with his wife. He’s reluctant to get back into computer work because the stress of the job is not good for his health and sobriety. He had worked in the past as a ride share driver and liked it. Corey is looking to get back into driving where he can set his own hours and make enough money to get by. He has talked to some of the other Harbor Care residents about forming an alumni group and having a reunion next year to reconnect and encourage future residents to take the courageous steps needed to achieve their own independence.

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