On Friday, with a crowd of friends and family, four people graduated from the Newton County Adult and DWI Treatment Court Commencement at the Talkington Foundation/Kelly Club, 209 N. Valley, Neosho.
One of the graduates was Dennis.
“I had some DWIs, and that got me into this program,” he said. “It kept me from going to prison, it gave me an opportunity that I really never had before to get help for alcoholism, and I found out a lot about it. It gave me an opportunity to get into AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), and I have become really involved in AA, helping others with the same problems that I had in my life. It has helped out my life and my family. It had reunited me with my family, with my children, my wife, especially. Alcohol pretty much consumed my life. I found a way that I can get my life back and that is through Alcoholics Anonymous. I am very grateful for it and my family is as well.”
Dennis said he had four DWIs in his lifetime.
“DWI court) is a 13-month program, I was in here for 14 months,” he said. “I didn’t go through any sanctions. I didn’t do anything wrong through it. It is something that you have to work at, because if you do something wrong, then they hold you back a ways or they will put you in jail.”
Dennis said there were many difficult aspects of the DWI treatment program.
“There was a lot of treatment involved,” he said. “We had a whole lot of homework that we had to do, study about alcoholism, what it does to our life. We had to take three UAs (urine analysis) a week, they had a Sobrieter [a handheld device that detects the presence of alcohol through a breath sample] put into my house for 14 months. We had to be home at a certain time. So there was a lot of tough things. We had to meet with a PO (probation officer), go to court every other week. It was intensive, it was a lot of work.”
But it paid off in the long run.
“I have not had a drink in 20 months coming up the fifth of October,” Dennis said. “I just didn’t think I had a problem, until my eyes were opened to it, then saw that I did have a problem. It is a disease, it is something that alcoholism is like an allergy and I had that allergy, I have an allergy to alcohol that took over my life. It was overwhelming. I had no idea until I got into it and found out.”
Page 2 of 2 - Now Dennis helps others with alcoholism at the Kelly Club.
“I am working with a lot of people that come out of the drug court and DWI court,” he said. “We kind of got a bond here, it is a good structure to keep everybody together. This Kelly Club has really helped out a lot of us. This is where I got sober. I can never repay Alcoholics Anonymous for what it has done for me.”