Watch: Dancer Corey O'Brien Reflects On 9 Years Of Sobriety In 'Freedom'

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday October 25, 2021
Originally published on September 30, 2021

Dancer Corey O'Brien is celebrating his 9 years of sobriety in a powerful new short film. Last week, the Tiktok and Instagram dancing sensation unveiled "Freedom," which was produced in collaboration with the Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

As reported by Huffpost, the film was directed by Brandon Hudson and shows O'Brien reflecting on his recovery journey in commemoration of National Recovery Month (September) as well as his ninth year of sobriety on Oct. 1.

"Filming 'Freedom' was a way for me to be vulnerable and reminisce on the past while being able to share my story of growth, which is important," O'Brien told HuffPost. "I wanted to share my story in a way that was authentic to who I was and who I am now. ... Creating art has not only been a passion of mine, but it's been extremely therapeutic in my journey with sobriety."

O'Brien shared that the onset of his addictions began around the time he began to come to terms with his gay identity. He started drinking at 12 and was in rehab by 21. Substance abuse was a way to "escape who I was and the shame I felt, especially around my sexuality," said O'Brien.

"My peers rarely paid attention to me unless it was to remind me how 'different' I was," he said. "For me, alcohol seemed like a way to silence those negative things, but instead they began to materialize in how I treated others and, ultimately, how I treated myself."

Now O'Brien is gaining attention for his talent and tenacity. He has showcased his dancing moves on episodes of "RuPaul's Drag Race," and he is also dating NFL free agent Ryan Russell, who came out as bisexual in 2019. Also, he is relaunching his podcast, "Life According to Corey," this fall.

"Freedom," O'Brien says, is the start of him paving his own lane in the entertainment industry on his own terms.

"I'm focused on creating my own lane in the industry," O'Brien said. "My mission is to inspire my listeners to live in their truth, fight for what they believe in and know insecurities are actually superpowers."

Watch the short film below.