Eddie Wormley, a lifelong Angeleno, was raised in West Los Angeles by a single mother who was an alcoholic. He became involved with drugs and the “street life” early – use of marijuana easily escalated into abuse of other drugs. In and out of juvenile hall, he eventually joined the Marines but continued his addiction.

His mental health issues did not surface until the late 1970’s when his mother passed away, which furthered his substance abuse. From the 1980s until 2002, his addiction “took everything.” He lost his job, his home, rental property left to him by his mother, and his sense of hope and stability.

Mr. Wormley’s life, by his own definition, spiraled out of control. He was incarcerated on and off for years for drug-related charges, theft, and other crimes that allowed him to maintain his addiction. In 2002, he was released from State prison and entered Weingart Center’s STAIRS program for parolees. By the time he moved into ACOF’s Las Palomas Apartments in October 2004, he was “tired of being tired” and resolved to get his life back on track. With the help of ACOF’s residential services staff, he enrolled in the County of Los Angeles’ Department of Mental Health’s Alcohol and Drug Program Administration’s Peer Advocate Program. In June 2005 he was awarded a certificate for completing over 540 hours of didactic and practicum training as an intern at the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Program.

Less than two months after his graduation, he was hired as a part-time community outreach worker at Volunteers of America (VOA). Since then, he has become a full-time employee and has been promoted to shift supervisor at VOA’s Drop-In Center in Skid Row. His responsibilities include scheduling other employees and making sure that the three stations at the Drop-In Center are staffed and running.

Mr. Wormley has been clean and sober for five years. He enjoys his job a great deal and is excited about going to work each day. He has already learned a great deal while working with the VOA, and he is confident that this experience will lead to even more promising positions in the future. In his spare time, Mr. Wormley likes to read, and declares that he hopes to one day take up fishing, a hobby he once enjoyed but has not pursued in years.