He had just returned from what would be his last drug-binge, as a cocaine addict.
As he sat atop a bunk-bed, in a Texas Salvation Army, gaunt and emaciated he knew he had to make a change. By this time, he was forty-six years old and he no longer wanted to live on the street, homeless, scouring for cocaine.
In fact, he liked being inside the Salvation Army, away from the elements, as he would put it.
Now, let’s go back 35 years, John Corker was a teenage, athletic phenom. Corker was a teenage football star, then a university football star, and later a professional football star.
Corker reached the greatest heights of his profession, and then fell equally as low due to drug addiction.
At the height of his career, the six foot seven, two hundred eighty pound football star, was a linebacker for the Houston Oilers and the Green Bay Packers, both of the National Football League.
He earned hundreds of thousands of dollars, won awards, and received praise from fans. None of it, at the time, was a match for cocaine addiction.
At his worst, Corker was in his forties, living on the streets, eating out of garbage cans, and ingesting enormous amounts of cocaine into his body. In fact, he often wonders why his heart did not explode.
Well, today he is an employed, self-sufficient single father of a 4 year old daughter. He no longer consumes cocaine or alcohol, nor does he sleep on the streets or live in the Salvation Army shelter.
Actually, Corker is a recovered drug addict, with seven years clean and sober. Also, he serves on the advisory council of the Salvation Army.
Corker often speaks at Salvation Army events. He shares his experience, strength and hope at schools and other organizations as well.
Many years after setting sports records, achieving fame and making lots of money, not to mention, surviving financial ruin, homelessness, and an egregious cocaine habit, he is happy and content as a city bus driver in Texas.
Although he pays a lot in child care, he is saving money to someday buy a house for the “apple of his eye”, his 4 year old daughter.
Sure sounds like redemption to me!
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Original Article URL: nytimes.com
Photo Courtesy of: nytimes.com
- Item Tag: cocaine