At the time of his interview, Warren was 66-years-old. He was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio with his mom, dad, and sister. Throughout his life he lived in other locations around the U.S., but he now resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Growing up, Warren played baseball, basketball, and football. As a child, he excelled at baseball and played on a selective team starting between the ages of 8 and 10. He also participated in Boy Scouts of America. Boy Scouts and baseball were two activities he enjoyed practicing with his father, who he aimed to make proud.
Warren: I was in Boy Scouts, too. I was rising in the ranks of the Boy Scout rankings as well. I got up to be a star scout, which meant that I had ten merit badges or more. I was quartermaster of my troop’s properties when we’d go camping, and I was responsible to make sure everything gets checked out and checked back in, in the proper order. I was a member of Boy Scouts, and my father participated in that because he was good at camping and things like that. We had a lot of situations where we’d have a monthly campout and Dad would go with me, which was good.
Warren describes the youth-version of himself as precocious, and at times, mysterious or inappropriate. When recounting his high school experience, he recalled his heavy involvement with sports, writing, music, and girls. Warren sought attention which was sometimes negative. This negative attention was met with beatings from his father, which influenced his current opposition to corporal punishment. Listen to Warren talk about some of his childhood here:
During his senior year of high school, Warren received an early acceptance offer to attend Ohio Northern University. He played football and baseball during his first year of college, then decided to focus on his studies; his majors were English and Business Administration. He wanted to excel academically to make his father proud. So, he stayed in and studied hard during the week, then partied with friends on the weekends.
Warren: Freshman year in college, I was obtaining good grades because I studied hard and wanted to make my mark in scholastics to please my father. Because he was spending all his money to send me to a private college, and I wanted to show him some achievement, which would make him proud of me. So I passed all my courses with good grades, As and Bs, and I found that studying came easy. I found that if I took myself out of all the extracurricular activities, I could devote myself to studying.
Warren decided he wanted to become a lawyer. Although he performed well academically and engaged in scholastic clubs at Ohio Northern, his LSAT (Law School Admission Test) scores were not high enough to be admitted to many law schools. However, he was eventually accepted into Western State College of Law at Westcliff University in California. Unfortunately, he lost confidence in being able to pass the bar exam and left law school. So, Warren sent out several applications for employment at different companies and ended up at an insurance company in Ohio.
Eventually Warren left the insurance position and started work at a software company based in Dayton, Ohio. The company transferred him to Tampa Florida, where he lived with his first wife. Things went well until he invested a lot of his wealth in starting his own business, which ultimately failed. During this time period, he started using cocaine, which led to his long struggle with addiction. His wife divorced him after having a baby, and Warren moved back to Dayton to live with his parents.
His dad struggled with his health and died shortly after Warren returned. Warren relapsed with drugs and robbed a convenience store, and he went to prison. He got out after two years and was sent to Cincinnati, where he started working with the Salvation Army. A couple Salvation Army stores closed, and Warren resigned and started working a telemarketing position. Listen to Warren talk about his experience with relapse and reintegrating into society after prison here:
Around this time, Warren met his second wife. However, the relationship lasted less than six months. He later met his third wife, who struggled with bipolar disorder. This was the first time Warren was exposed to mental illness. Perhaps because of the bipolar disorder, his wife got into financial trouble on multiple occasions. At some point, Warren says she falsely accused him of domestic violence, and their marriage ultimately ended.
Later on, Warren decided to try to be an “upstanding member of the community.” He joined the choir at his church, and he became romantically involved with the soprano of the group. They got married and lived well until one of his medications caused problems with his mental health. To cope with his poor mental health, he started to use cocaine again, leading to marital issues and then divorce. During this fourth marriage, he reports he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia. He received mental health services and started on medication to mitigate his symptoms.
After his fourth marriage ended, Warren went through periods of sobriety and drug use. He lived in different places and held a couple different forms of employment. He robbed multiple White Castles to pay for his drugs, but was caught and sent to prison for five years. At the time of the interview, Warren had been out of prison and sober for over a year. Although he would like to be employed, he feels grateful for where he is in life:
Warren: I’m not real happy about the state of the situation I‘m in right now being unemployed, but I at least get my social security, and now my needs are taken care of. I’m on a payee status and I get twenty-five dollars a week play money. They pay my rent and my utilities, my big expenses with the payee situation. So, I’m pretty much good today, and I thank God that I’m here where I’m at. Thank you for listening to my story.
On a typical day, Warren tries to wake up and make it to Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health (where he receives services) in time for breakfast. Listen to Warren talk about a typical day here: