August 27, 2018


Corey McCarthy: Overcoming trauma, dealing with shame, finding meaning, changing the self-narrative, redemption, and the importance of gratitude (EP.12)

"Some really important things for me in life are gratitude and humility." —Corey McCarthy

by Peter Attia

Read Time 9 minutes

Corey and Peter met when they visited North Kern State Prison in California together as volunteers for Defy Ventures. Peter was moved by Corey’s remarkable story, who is a former inmate himself, and realized he had to have him on the podcast to share his experiences with a wider audience. You’ll almost assuredly take away something very important from listening to this episode. Understanding how your experiences can define you, what forgiveness means of both yourself and others, and how good people can do bad things, are just a few of the takeaways.


We discuss:

  • How Corey and Peter met through Defy Ventures [4:00];
  • How Corey’s prison experience has shaped his life story [13:30];
  • Corey’s early life, and the traumatic event that changed everything [16:00];
  • Early adolescence years, beginnings of addiction, and overwhelming shame [23:00];
  • The 5 ways to classify wounds, and the relationship between trauma and addiction [39:00];
  • Turbulent high school years, the struggle of parenting a troubled child, and more trauma further shaping the self-narrative [46:00];
  • Post-high school years, spiraling out of control, and giving up on himself [1:02:00];
  • Navigating prison life, and why a desire to change often isn’t enough to make it happen [1:19:00];
  • The turning point and eventual road to recovery [1:48:00];
  • 12-step programs: Pros and Cons [1:54:00];
  • Final days in prison, getting released, and routines Corey has kept [1:54:00]
  • Corey’s new perspective on life, takeaways from the visit to Kern prison [2:12:30]; and
  • More.


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