Are you looking for a love story that warms your heart, a powerful story that touches your soul and at the same time, an answer to a life-threatening problem that may be affecting you, your family or your friends and neighbors? Then "When Two Loves Collide" is a MUST read.
While a compelling and moving drama, "When Two Loves Collide" also focuses on the life-threatening diseases of alcoholism and drug addiction that currently affect more than
44 million Americans, young and old alike. And since every addict impacts the lives of at least five other people-spouses, family, friends, neighbors-more than 200 million people in this country alone are affected by addiction.
Learn what you can do about it. Read this inspiring story and experience the great legacy of hope and recovery Dr. John Mooney and his wife Dot left to the world.
THE STORY ... BRIEFLY
Captain John Mooney, Jr. M.D. was a heroic Army surgeon in World War II, highly decorated for saving thousands of maimed and dying solders despite being wounded himself. He came home from the battlefield unknowingly addicted to the alcohol and drugs he took to kill his own pain.
The beautiful nurse he married also loved to drink and party. Soon their passionate love for each other collided with their passionate love for their addictions, creating sheer chaos in their lives. Drunken brawls filled their three young sons with fear and their neighbors with deep concern.
The couple not only lost almost everything near and dear to them, but John also went to Federal prison on felony drug charges. It was in prison that he found the solution to his problem, shared it with his wife and together they carried the message of hope and recovery to others, saving thousands of lives. Some called it a "miracle." John and Dot were convinced it was.
"Recovery is the road back to integrity and dignity, to self-love and the love of others. "When Two Loves Collide" is an incredibly inspirational story and a touching and beautiful legacy."
Claudia Black, nationally known addiction specialist and author of many books including, "It Will Never Happen To Me."
"There are few people in the recovery movement who have done more to help alcoholics and drug addicts than Dr. John Mooney and his lovely wife, Dot Mooney. After finding sobriety for themselves, they dedicated the rest of their lives to helping others get well. In 1976, NCADD was honored to have Dr. Mooney as part of 'Operation Understanding' to reduce the stigma of alcoholism. Thank you William G Borchert for telling their powerful and inspirational story. It is long overdue."
Robert J. Lindsey, President/CEO
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)
The Inspiring Story of Dr. John and Dot Mooney
And the Family Legacy of Fighting Addiction
Passion and Addiction Devastate the Lives of a Heroic Surgeon
And His Wife Until a Prison Miracle Restores Their Love and Faith
Dr. John Mooney
"When Two Loves Collide" tells the compelling story of a heroic Army surgeon and his wife who rose from the ashes of addiction to save thousands of others like themselves and inspire a legacy of fighting addiction that their children continue to wage today.
It begins when Captain John Mooney, Jr., M.D. returns from World War II highly decorated for his courage under fire, saving thousands of lives in battles across Europe despite being wounded himself. But in addition to his battle scars, he comes home as many brave soldiers do with another war-induced malady. He's addicted to the alcohol and drugs he took to kill his own pain.
He marries a beautiful Georgia country girl named Dorothy Carolyn Riggs, a young nurse known as "Dot" to her friends who loves to drink and party. At first, success, John's fame as a hero, money and excitement fill their lives. But then their passionate love for each other begins to collide with their passionate love for their addictions. Sheer chaos follows, at home where they now have three young sons, in his lucrative medical practice and among their family and friends.
One desperate night in a cheap, dirty motel room, John and Dot almost die from convulsions trying to detox each other from their uncontrollable compulsions. An ambulance gets them to a hospital in time. The physician begins signing himself in and out of hospitals and mental institutions while his wife becomes addicted to electric shock therapy from the high she gets being injected with of Sodium Pentothal.
The troubled doctor's continued drinking bouts and long drying-out periods at institutions seriously affect his three young boys. They don't understand why he's away so often and begin to fear he may be dead and that their mother simply doesn't want to tell them. The boys live in a constant dilemma and are frequently taken in by loving neighbors when their parents' loud, drunken brawls become more frightening. It's often a replay of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf."
On the verge of losing his surgical skills, his entire medical practice and his wife and children, Dr. John Mooney is suddenly arrested, convicted and incarcerated in a Federal prison on felony drug charges for writing himself illegal prescriptions for narcotics. It is there behind bars that he finds the miracle of recovery and redemption...and the solution for himself, his wife and thousands of others he would go on to help.
Now free from prison and his addictions, John and Dot feel moved by a Higher Power. They come to believe that the best way to stay clean and sober is to help others. They begin bringing men and women seriously ill from alcoholism and drug addiction into their home on Lee Street in Statesboro, Georgia to care for them and help them find recovery. At times there are 30 or more alcoholics and drug addicts living at the house which some people begin to refer to as "the crazy house on Lee Street."
John and Dot have another child, a lovely daughter who grows up with her older brothers in what some people might call an unusual atmosphere, surrounded by recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. But the children find it loving and caring and at times almost normal despite the occasional strange or funny incidents that occur.
Then another major event happens, something the couple is convinced is another miracle. Their accountant and several businessmen in town, admiring the great work the Mooneys are doing, decide they need more help to help more people. Together with the Small Business Administration, they raise enough money to build the couple the first hospital in the country dedicated solely to the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction. They call it "Willingway."
Over the years, under the guidance of Dr. John and Dot Mooney and the twelve step recovery program they live by, Willingway has saved thousands of lives and restored untold families. And it continues to do so, now under the direction of their three sons and daughter who continue to carry on the legacy of their parents.
These four people (l-r), Nurse Dallas Cason, accountant Earl Dabbs, Dr. John's late AA sponsor Houston Sewell and university professor Dr. Jack Averitt all gave generously of themselves to help Dr. John Mooney and his wife, Dot Mooney, find recovery from their addictions and build an institution called Willingway that continues to save thousands of lives and restore devastated families.
CARRYING ON A FAMILY LEGACY
On the top row is Dr. Al Mooney, author William G Borchert and Willingway chairman, Jimmy Mooney and below is Attorney Carol Lind Mooney and Dr. Bobby Mooney.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS:
The daughter and three sons of Dr. John and Dot Mooney explain why they remain totally committed to Willingway and carrying on the legacy of their parents to help sick and suffering alcoholics and drug addicts find recovery.
Carol Lind Mooney:
"Like my mother and father when they first began, I didn't have a dream to spend my life guiding others out of the trenches of addiction. Also like them, it happened as the result of my own near-death battle with alcohol and drugs. I ended up homeless and living by the railroad tracks. On June 28, 1982, I woke up with a willingness to change my life and a strong desire to be sober. My parents showed me the way.
"But it was important for me then to know I could make my own way and not live in their shadows. I went to law school, got my license to practice law but was not fulfilled. No matter what door I opened and walked through, there was an addict on the other side asking for help. Having grown up in the home where Willingway started, I had witnessed the miraculous change in the people there so I embraced the legacy of my parents.
"Although I have been sober more than 30 years, it is imperative that I continue to be involved in my own recovery, and that includes working with others. What has happened to me on this adventure has been beyond my wildest dreams. I manage long-term recovery houses for men and women suffering from addiction problems. With the support of my community and its judges, I was fortunate to help implement two Drug Courts using the philosophy of my parents' treatment in the court system. The knowledge that there was 'hope' and a way out of my dark and lonely life was a gift from my parents. What I choose to do with my life is my gift back to them."
Dr. Robert Mooney:
"Even before Willingway was built in l971, I felt there was something very special about what my parents were doing, bringing suffering alcoholics and drug addicts into our home to help them get well. When I finally reached a point of desperation myself and asked for help with my own alcoholism, all I wanted was just not to hurt anymore. But never in my wildest dreams could I have foreseen the path I now walk. After the beginnings of my own recovery, I just couldn't see myself being anywhere other than at Willingway. It had become a part of my life.
"The message everyone leaves Willingway with is that their solution to their addiction depends on what they are willing to do when they walk out those doors. Our goal is to provide a clean slate with an introduction to a group of principles based upon the Twelve Steps of Recovery which will allow them to become whole once again. This is a solution I have witnessed repeatedly since watching my parents get sober when I was 16 years old. I have not found any other philosophy which adapts itself so readily to consistent long-term recovery.
"My parents are my heroes. They loved each other deeply and they loved those they worked with. They built something unique based solely on the spiritual principles they rediscovered in their own recovery. It just doesn't get any better than that. That's why I find it such a privilege to carry on their legacy of helping people recover from the terrible diseases of alcoholism and drug addiction."
Mr. Jimmy Mooney:
"It wasn't until I got sober myself in l985 that I began to appreciate the important work my parents were doing and how many lives they were touching. I would constantly hear people sharing their gratitude for how Willingway and my parents helped them recover from their addictions. Looking around, I came to realize we had plenty of doctors and counselors in our family to help them carry on, but little business expertise. So after getting my college degree, I found my place on the business side.
"After 27 years of sobriety, I also understand that I have to continue to work on my own recovery and one way I do that is through working with other alcoholics and addicts. That's the same thing my parents did-trying to stay sober by helping others do the same.
"To be honest, when I first started working at Willingway as the data processing manager, it was just a job. But then it became a commitment I grew into. Today it is a vital part of my life because I realize that every good thing in my life is a direct result of my recovery. It has given me a whole new life. Not only that, I get to see God working miracles in people's lives every day. That's why it's such a great privilege to continue my work as chairman of Willingway.
Dr. Al Mooney:
"When I first brought my girlfriend and future wife, Jane, home to meet my parents, she was kind of bewildered and asked who were all the strange people walking around in their bathrobes. With her question, I realized my family circumstances may not be as mainstream as I had thought. That visit home from college stimulated in me a kind of quest to find meaning in my family experience. What looked so out of the ordinary to others had always appeared normal to me.
"But the uniqueness of growing up in a home immersed in recovery didn't fully register until I entered the field of medicine. I had watched my addicted parents move back from the edge of death, become highly productive sober people and become morally committed to helping others do the same. I gained an invaluable perspective on the disease, also seeing the stigma and ignorance of it generate barriers which cost lives. I was shocked and still wonder how America's number one health problem can remain so unaddressed.
"I was fortunate I escaped the disease myself. But now, after 40 years of marriage and young grandchildren imprinted with fourth generation recovery attitudes and living skills, I'm beginning to appreciate how blessed I was to have that 'different' family background. Alcoholism and addiction have evolved in my life to become the best teachers I could have hoped for. In this generation, my path and that of my family's is devoted to preserving the solution my parents found and spreading it as far and wide as possible."
Watch a video conversation with author William G Borchert & the Mooney family: