The past is not something you can run from -- and Cassie Corgey uses her own to help others who are the in the same position she once was.
After recovering from her struggle with alcoholism and drug abuse, Corgey has started Amazing Grace Women's Home -- a nonprofit whose mission is to give women dealing with alcohol and drug addiction a place to live and recover. As it stands now, the nonprofit is working on trying to secure a home in Bryan.
But, getting to where she is today has been no easy task for the 33-year-old hailing from Bryan -- she started smoking marijuana at age 12 and drinking alcohol at 14.
"It was always full force, it wasn't light anything -- you know it was always go big," Corgey said of her battle with alcoholism and drugs. "Actually I found methamphetamines when I was 17. So, once I found that everything was pushed to the side for my addiction at that point. So, it was a 19-year career of alcohol and drugs before I got sober."
Out of the house at the age of 14, Corgey began to work at a restaurant as a hostess where she began to drink on a daily basis. Corgey said her routine consisted of going to work, drinking at work and then going home to do the same. She moved around several times during that time.
After struggling with using drugs and drinking for a long period of time and even serving time in prison after being put on probation -- Corgey said the worst point in her journey to sobriety was when she was living in a tool shed on an abandoned property with no electricity and no water. At that point, she did not have her kids with her and was back to using methamphetamines after stopping previously.
"Things had gotten really bad," Corgey said. "It was like a living nightmare."
All of that would change thanks to court-ordered treatment from a judge -- she was required to visit New Hope Women's Center, a treatment facility in Pasadena. Around that time, she met her husband, John Corgey, co-owner of Corgey & Sons Construction Company, and he helped her remain accountable to the program.
When she went back to treatment for a second time to finish the 12-step program after not finishing the first time around, Corgey had learned a lot about herself and what it was like to help others struggling with addiction.
"You have to not only change your people places and friends, but you have to stay in an environment of people in recovery," Corgey said. "If I want to stay sober, I can't speak for anybody else, I have to stay in that environment, and I have to continuously help others. It's part of my program."
After she had received a call about a volunteer opportunity to help women dealing with alcoholism and drug abuse had fallen through, Corgey said the idea of starting Amazing Grace came to her in Blinn's parking lot the next day and the rest was history. The volunteer opportunity did lead her to the house Amazing Grace is looking at using as a half way home.
So, she put a post out on Facebook about forming the nonprofit and connections she had made and her husband had made through his work responded immediately.
"It turns out a lady who he [John Corgey] built her barndominium, her best friend from kindergarten is a lady that helps people form nonprofits," Corgey said. "So, all I did was put it out on Facebook and had people right away trying to help."
One of the other important people in Corgey's life is Amanda Holland, the person Corgey called and left a voicemail in that same parking lot about starting Amazing Grace Women's Home. Holland said not only has she still kept the voicemail, but admires Corgey's determination to help others struggling with addiction.
"She's a very empowering force," Holland said. "I'm really proud of her. She's using the most difficult, heartbreaking parts of her past and instead of them being liabilities, they're assets."
Corgey knows that the things she's overcome and dealt with in her own life can help inspire and push others to get the help they need.
"My past is my greatest asset today to be able to help women," Corgey said.