Dennis M., another favorite in my long list of F.H.B.s, came to the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Houston, in about 1986. Dennis was tall, lanky, had dark hair and a prosthetic eye due to a gunshot wound. Dennis didn’t know how he had gotten to Houston and could not even remember ever holding a job although he was in his 30’s. He did have a blurred memory of perhaps being a maintenance man at an apartment complex somewhere at some time.
Dennis an alcoholic and addict had spent $250,000 on one very long heroin run. He said he was one of four brothers whose parents had been killed in an automobile accident and the insurance benefit of $1,000,000.00 was split evenly amongst them. He said that he had used all his inheritance on heroin and had run out of money in the middle of winter in Denver, Colorado. Having no money and no place to go, he crawled into the basement of an abandoned house and went through a long miserable period of withdrawal.
It took Dennis about a year before he could fully function. He would come to my office for a pass to go the Ben Taub (a hospital comparable to Grady in Houston) and before he could get to the door would turn around and ask why I had given him this piece of paper. Eventually, Dennis became an active member of the center’s Trudgers’ Group of Alcoholics Anonymous** and eventually an employee of The Salvation Army. First working in our TV repair shop then becoming one of our best and most trusted truck drivers. It was a long way back but Dennis with the help of The Salvation Army and God made it.
Every time I teach Prime for Life at South Cherokee, watching the clip on narcotics during our drug video, I think about Dennis and the destruction to his life from heroin. He became an indelible part of my life.
** For those of you who are friends of Bill W. read page 164 of the Big Book to understand where the name Trudger came from. “And surely you will meet some of us as you trudge the road to happy destiny, may God bless you and keep you until then”.