From Chaos to Recovery: Corey’s Story

“Chaos, ridiculous chaos” is how Corey describes his life before coming to Harvest House. At the age of 33, Corey’s drug use was severe and impacting all areas of his life. Before beginning his recovery journey at Harvest House, he was significantly underweight, regularly injecting opiates and fentanyl, going in and out of jail, and had overdosed more than once. The desperation of his situation was not lost on his loved ones. Corey recounts that his mother was afraid for his life and constantly worried that she would get a phone call saying he was dead.

Corey came to Harvest House reluctantly. His aunt was a regular donor to Harvest House and she and Corey’s mother urged him to get the help he desperately needed. Corey had tried short-term recovery programs previously, but looking back on it says “short-term programs did not work for [him]”. Reflecting on his initial reluctance to attend the Harvest House program, Corey states that the one-year commitment felt overwhelming. That was in 2013. Four years later, Corey remains committed to his recovery and to the Harvest House community as he passes on what he has learned to incoming residents.

His journey over the past four years, however, has not been without its share of difficulties. He says that he came here knowing things needed to change, but that he “bit, fought, and scratched the whole way through”. Looking back on the times when things got rough and he wanted to give up, he now refers to himself as “one of the lucky ones who stayed”. Explaining his progress over the past four years, Corey states that his way of thinking has been what has changed the most: “I think differently now than I did then … I try to take into account the consequences of my actions”. He also says that he is increasingly able to trust that God is in control and will work things out.

As Corey has worked on his recovery, he has also been able to contribute in important ways to the Harvest House community. Corey is now a counsellor-in-training and anger management facilitator – roles that enable him to encourage, guide, and support other men in their recovery journey. One of his goals is to attain his certification as an alcohol and drug counsellor through the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation. He is already working through the courses and counselling hours required for this certification. Corey is also working to rebuild a relationship with his two young daughters and hopes to become a good role model for them as he progresses in his recovery and career.

Four years into recovery, Corey has come to be regarded as a dependable and hard-working member of the Harvest House community. He recognizes that this is something he has had to build over time because “you don’t just fall into it”. He also finds fulfillment and purpose through his work and states that he has gotten to the point where he doesn’t like not being at Harvest House. Reflecting on the recovery journey, Corey expresses that the success he has attained is certainly possible for others: “If a guy like me, who came here 30-40lbs underweight, shooting needles every day, can come here and get sober, any one of these guys can.”