I Love Life: Sioux Falls Recovering Alcoholic Offers Message of Hope!
If you're battling alcohol or gambling addictions, read on! Denny offers a message of hope and recovery! The Sioux Falls man was a practicing alcoholic and an out of control gambler.
"I would drink probably as soon as I got off work. When I wasn't on the job, I'd drink probably 20 hours a day. On those days, I'd probably crack down a 6 pack of tall boys or a 12 pack when I got up in the morning. I would instantly start drinking. I'd drink everyday for years to the point of drunkenness."
The years of drinking took its toll on Denny who lost just about everything that had value in his life.
"The only thing I had left was my job. I lost my wife, my kids and sold most everything I had. The only thing I was holding onto on my job. My boss, who was more like a dad to me, told me one day, 'if I believed half of what I'd heard, I would fire you today.' That and a drunk binder at a local bar not knowing what I did convinced me I had to get help in a 12 step program."
While in recovery, Denny traded one addiction for another.
"I had my dream---great big garage, big dog and a small house. I could fish two or three times a day. But, after two years, I became very lonely and stopped going to A.A. At the time, I was working for a treatment center and spent a lot of time on the road. I'd stop off at a casino and spend a couple of bucks. That worked out for a while and then it became 20 dollars and eventually hundreds. At that point, I started going to Gamblers Anonymous. That didn't work for me. Eventually, my company's C.E.O. sent me to a treatment center in Minnesota, which I completed. It was really tough being a drug and alcohol counselor and being treated for gambling. I wasn't a good patient. That lasted for about six months and I started gambling again. It was then when I surrendered and starting attending more G.A. and A.A. sessions. It's been a good life since then."
Taking a look back, Denny says it was a mistake to tie the two addictions together.
"I tried to match the two vices and it was impossible for me. The gambling was a different animal. Gambling never made me want to hurt anybody whereas alcohol did. but, I had never written a bad check when I drank. When I started gambling, I was two bad checks, which was unacceptable to me. Gambling was every bit as deadly as what alcohol was. I had to deal with them separately. Suicide seemed easier with gambling than it did with alcohol."
Denny doesn't think about suicide anymore. He's too busy writing a daily Attitude of Gratitude list. It's Denny's way of focusing his thoughts on the blessings in his life. After all, as the substance abuse counselor tells his clients: positive thoughts create positive results!