At 18, Perry enlisted in the Marine Corps and shortly after was shipped off to Europe for duty. As a member of the infantry fighting unit, Perry had to be combat ready at all times. As a result Perry had to learn to deal with a great deal of stress at a young age. Drugs and alcohol was a great form of release for a Marine. During the 1980’s, Marines had the highest rate of substance abuse among all the branches of military service and Perry soon found himself using drugs frequently. Fortunately, Perry also had other stress releasers. As a martial artist Perry taught self defense and hand to hand combat. While in Japan Perry won the Okanowan Japan Karate championship. He continued to practice the martial arts in many other countries while overseas.
First returning home to Ohio, Perry ended up moving to Fort Worth, Texas, within nine months. After four years of military, Perry found returning to the states a rude awakening. Perry found it difficult to adjust to civilian life. According to Perry, civilian life was much different than the structured environment of the military. After landing a job as a security guard, Perry continued to battle with his substance abuse. Soon the substance abuse took over and Perry found himself spiraling in a vicious cycle of isolation and depression. For approximately ten years, Perry continued on this cycle of substance abuse, depression, and periodic homelessness.
Perry moved from Fort Worth to Dallas and lived in a Dallas shelters on and off for two years. During his last shelter visit in august 2009, Perry took advantage of the VA’s substance abuse rehabilitation program. It was here that he learned of the Housing Crisis Center. He completed the rehab program within one year.
Perry success in rehab helped him to move into his own apartment through Housing Crisis Center. Perry describes the experience of finally getting his “own” keys to his apartment as a major accomplishment. Since February 2011, Perry has successfully maintained employment and his sobriety. After being diagnosed with a mood disorder, Perry takes his medication regularly and reports feeling better than he has in years. Perry continues to teach martial arts as self-therapy. According to Perry, helping others provides him a sense of motivation and purpose. Perry states, “Having stable housing and on-going support through the Housing Crisis Center has saved my life.”