Written and shared by Corey Moore, Veteran
Four years after high school I decided I wanted to do better in life so I joined the military. I ended up in an infantry unit as a diesel mechanic and was sent on two back-to-back combat deployments: Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2009.
When you’re in the Marine Corps you pretty much feel invincible. You’re on top of the world. The last thing you think about is coming home and not being able to make it — because you’ve already survived the worst of the worst.
For me, my transition to civilian life was really tough. I was married and my wife was constantly bugging me to go to the VA to get help and I didn’t think I needed it because I didn’t really think anything was wrong with me.
To make my wife happy and just keep moving forward I started self-medicating. I got exposed to more drugs and a lot more alcohol to numb things out. I was even waking up fighting people in my sleep.
During that time in my life I felt scared and, to be honest, I was embarrassed. I don’t ever want to hurt another human being intentionally and I was hurting my wife through my actions.
Eventually my wife left me. The one person I expected to be there was not there at all. My life continued to get worse. And it ran like that for about a year until legal problems started and I ended up in jail.
There WAS a time for a couple of years I was able to stop using. I got a really good job, a new truck, new house, and rocked on that way for about a year.
It took one time going out and drinking too much and thinking I needed to sober up, so I decided to do some drugs, and down the rabbit hole I went.
This time on drugs, everything escalated very quickly.
The next thing I knew I was homeless. I lost my truck. I’d already lost my job. I was cooking my food on a fire in the backyard and taking showers out of a shower bag like I was in the field.
I kept having run-ins with the police and soon, instead of staying overnight in jail it turned into three days. Three days turned into two weeks. And then two weeks turned into 30 days.
The adrenaline-induced lifestyle of hiding from the police, hiding from the people you love, lying, and being sneaky, I was drawn to that. The downside of that is you destroy everything and everybody in your life.
I was looking at a possibility of 20 years of prison time. Probation was not an option.
But something good DID come out of going to jail at that time. I met a fellow veteran who showed me how to connect with the Veterans’ Justice Outreach. That made all the difference.
It took a while but eventually probation WAS an option. The judge I was assigned appreciated the service of veterans. He made sure I came to Shreveport to the VA hospital and then I was able to come to Volunteers of America Transitional Living Facility.
When I moved here and went into treatment, I set three major life goals for myself.
- I wanted to be employed by the VA. Ultimately, as a social worker. As of March 13 of this year, I’ve achieved employment through the VA.
- I wanted a college degree and now I have an associate’s degree in business.
- I’m working toward my bachelor’s degree and eventually I plan to get a master’s degree in social work.
Two out of the three goals I set for myself, I’ve achieved within two years.
I wouldn’t be where I’m at now without Volunteers of America and the VA. Period. Everything I’ve done has involved one of the two.
For me, all it took was for one person to see me and say, there are people that care, regardless of your past.
Every day, my phones rings with calls from other veterans still in the cycle of addiction and relapse.
I won’t give up on them. And I ask YOU to not give up on people like us.