A Ticking Time Bomb
After destroying what reputation I had left in Lawton and losing the real estate company I had started with borrowed funds from mother, I was ready for a new adventure. My real estate company, Commercial Industrial Realtors, had started out like all the other adventures in my life Ė with explosive promise. All of my adventures in life had started out like I was going to set the world on fire, but in time each fire would burn out. I was one of only a hand full of real estate companies which specialized in commercial real estate, and since this is all I had been involved with for the past several years I was pretty much on top of things. Like I mentioned before, I was a fantastic salesman, but I lacked the management skills needed to operate a business. I had no discipline to successfully keep a business afloat. I have always been a motivator and people person so getting business and making deals came natural to me, but I had no temperance or self-control whatsoever. The more I made, the more I spent and Iíd never invest a nickel unlike David and Mike, who were very disciplined. David probably still has the first penny he made. Even before we went into business, when David would make a deposit at the bank into his personal account he would have me look in the floor boards and seats to see if there was any lose change - pennies included. He would deposit every penny of his money and when we went out he always left his check book at home. Guess who always paid our partying bill? Mike was not much different although he always carried money, he just didn't spend it. These early disciplines have truly paid off for them and the seeds of these early practices have blossomed into a lot of green fruit!
Needless to say, when I started Commercial Industrial Realtors the same old hurt feelings and animosities surfaced again with the boys as they did when I went to work for the competition. So we had another round of brotherly war and didn't speak for awhile. Eventually, we did speak again and much later, after several more business failures, I ended up working for them as a maintenance man, which we will get to shortly.
Before my final fall into the gutter, I persuaded Sarah to finance yet another business that would lead me back into the old life God had rescued me from. There was a club I had found in a small country town southwest of Lawton located a few miles from one of the newer lakes that had been completed about 10 years earlier. This place had really been abused and was run down so Sarah, still believing in me, spent thousands of dollars for me to remodel it. It took about three months to get it ready, and just as long to obtain a liquor license. I had destroyed my name so bad with the IRS and creditors that I had to put the license in my brotherís name.
Like everything else I had ever set out to do it took off like wild fire. Business was great and as always, I had no problem attracting the people, but I had absolutely no discipline with myself or money. I partied constantly and spent more money than I made. It doesn't matter how much money a man makes if he spends more than he brings in.
I began the same old pattern of taking off like a horse out of the starting gates and as each time before I spent and partied beyond my means, only this time I was introduced to crank. I had briefly been around it before while I was so-called high rolling in the real estate days, but mostly I was an alcoholic who occasioned cocaine. I had messed with crank a few months before the fall of my real estate business and it was very addicting for me. It was much cheaper than cocaine and the high lasted much, much longer. It also tricked me into thinking I was in total control of everything. As I pen these words and relive those painful days, I have to stop for a moment and kneel before my Lord and thank Him for bringing my soul through that nightmare as He did - not allowing the devil to steal me to hell! I have been clean from drugs and alcohol for more than seven years now and I thank God every day that I no longer believe the lie of the devil that I have to have some kind of intoxicating substance to enjoy life. One of the things I most enjoy in life now that I'm free from both prisons; the one I spent seven and a half years in, and the one in my mind that I spent 25 years in addicted to every kind of intoxicant I was preferring at the time, is to walk in the park and look at Gods glory in nature. These are the things I took for granted most of my life while I was high. I love God and thank Him so much for this newfound freedom that allows me to get the most out of this precious life that He has to offer. God says in His word that the Bible has the truths, and the truth will set you free, (John 8:32). Jesus says He is the way, the truth, and the life and that He will give you life more abundantly, (John 14:6, John 10:10). I have been experiencing this freedom for many years now and I would not trade the peace I have from God for anything this world has to offer. This is what Jesus meant when He said that those who want to find their lives (in other words do their own thing their way) would lose it. But whoever would lose there life for MY sake, (deny themselves of the very things destroying them and follow the life Jesus has mapped out in the Bible) would find true life, (Matthew 16:25-26). I have tried about every kind of lifestyle the devil and the world has to offer and there's not even the slightest comparison between it and this new life I now have in Jesus. It would be a slap in the face to God to even begin to attempt to compare the two.
Well I drifted away from the story, which happens when I begin thinking on Jesus and all he has brought me through. Now, back to the darker side of things and the painful memories of the days the devil has so many of us fooled into thinking are the best days of our lives. That is whatís so crazy about all of this at the time - I thought I was doing so good and was on top of the world. I was as close to the bottom as I could get and was so blind I could not see it.
One of the girls that worked for me had many drug connections and at first, having a handy source so near by seemed to be a good thing. I was able to keep the long hours a club requires, do a hundred things at once, keep the party going, and keep the people entertained all at the same time. I maintained a packed house every weekend with a local country band, and I seemed to have fallen right into something else I was a natural at - entertaining people. Then, the drug, like all drugs, began to control me. It was no longer a source of energy and a boost for my personality, but it was a necessity - like medicine - and if I didn't get it I was good for nothing.
Thatís just like the devil. He lies to you and makes you feel on top of the world with some enticing tool of his, and then when he's got you hooked, he controls your life with it. At first it seems as though you have more control over your affairs, thatís what makes this drug so dangerous. Then, when itís almost too late, you realize that it has absolute control over you.
At this point in my life I had never considered putting a needle into my arm and I really didn't have much respect for those who did, although a lot of the women around me at that time did. During this time, I kept Sarah at arms length 20 miles to the north, and would keep her there while I lived like an animal at this club she had financed. I would either be at the lake when I was closed or at my motherís club, 15 miles in the opposite direction of Lawton. My point is, Sarah didnít know anything about what I was doing and thought I was just busy trying to get the business off the ground. She was going about her career waiting on me. Sarah was a well educated girl, brought up by a mother who had been 40 years in the school system. She had graduated from the University of Oklahoma and worked for a defense contractor, with a top secret security clearance writing programs for the multiple launch rocket systems they were using in the Persian Gulf War. I say all this to let you see how very persuasive and charming I could be to keep all this going on. I was a selfish, egotistical, irresponsible monster who had such a hard heart to the cares of anyone outside of myself. I hate the person I was and it pains me to this day to know the way I treated people.
This went on for a good long time and then my mothers club became available - the same club I had spent so much time around in my youth. The small town I was in had just lost their major employer, the local Hager plant which employed around 300 women from surrounding towns. This was a huge part of my business so it gave me the excuse I needed to pack everything and move south of Duncan to familiar territory.
As each time before, I started out like I was going to conquer the world. It wasnít long until I had re-decorated and began to entertain a full house. I have always had the ability to draw people and things could not have begun any better. Mother leased me the club at a very reasonable price, and this time I kept all the money from the machines, such as the pool tables, juke box, dart machines, and especially the poker machine. I should have been able to live very well. Not to mention, there was a two-bedroom house connected to the club, which my mother had remodeled when she and Raymond lived there. This was a perfect set up to make a living if this was the life someone chose to pursue. I had made a full circle and came right back to the place I had been rescued from those many years earlier.
Proverb 26:11-12 says, ďAs a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.Ē
These verses of scripture described me to a tee!
As the crowds began to increase, so did the drugs, women, gambling, and every other illegal thing that goes along with that, such as prostitution. I had turned the house into a small casino and allowed some women to do the above-mentioned occupation as well. It wasn't long till I was hooked up with one of the heads of the so-called Dixieland Mafia. I knew him from when I was a kid, and was close to some of the men associated with him as a teenager.
Before long, I was slinging his dope from this place and running wide open. At 2 a.m., the club was supposed to be closed, but because this one was outside of town and had a house with several acres around it, I would have everyone move their cars in front of the house and in the pasture so that it appeared the club was closed. This allowed me to stay open all night most of the time. Running this way wide open for so long finally got the attention of the Oklahoma Special Bureau of Investigations (OSBI), along with other county and state agencies. The authorities began to do surveillance on me and I knew it.
I was so far gone on meth by then that I thought I was untouchable. I was selling a lot of cocaine and meth and doing large amounts, as well. When I was in Temple, the small town I had just left, I was hooked up with some pretty big time cooks and I was doing large amounts of un-cut and continued this cycle at motherís club.
Before I left Temple, the OSBI, along with other law enforcement agencies had made a huge drug bust in that area. The night the bust went down I saw over 50 different vehicles representing a number of law enforcement agencies hidden in a deserted part of town. I was coming back from picking up supplies just about dark. It wasn't 30 minutes before this that plain clothes detectives came into my place and stayed a while. The phone began to ring for one of my waitresses and word was out that they had made a major bust on many people she bought drugs from, including our main supplier - the cook. I later found out they had search warrants on my club, as well, but never did do anything. They also busted a local sheriff and some of his deputies. I had escaped all of this by the hair of my chin because at the time they were in my club I had large amounts of drugs on hand. It wasn't long after this that I headed to Duncan and I brought one of my waitresses with me. She and I had been in this drug thing together. Sarah was still in Lawton thinking I was just getting things straightened out. I had always told her when the money begin to roll in I would pay her back. Money was rolling in, but I was spending it as fast as I could make it.
When I came to Duncan, I realized I had just escaped a real ordeal in Temple. Even though I hadn't sold any drugs in Temple, I had been a major buyer. Once again, I thought God had given me another chance. Looking back, I now realize God had nothing to do with that evil, but it was in fact the devil taking me deeper into that dark world. You would have thought that I would have counted my lucky stars and turned over a new leaf. Not me! In fact, I was braver than ever. I began slinging dope for ďthe companyĒ they called it. I was on top of things. Even though I was selling huge amounts of dope, I was doing so much, and entertaining so many women with free drugs that I was just barely keeping my head above water.
My mother, who had been in the club business for over 20 years, could not understand how I could have such huge crowds and run so much money and barely be making it. I was also very irresponsible with that club and the employees and crowds were stealing me blind. People were camped out all the time and there was no way I could keep up with them. Every now and then when I'd be coming down from a month of non-stop, 24-hour-a-day going fast, I would go crazy and run everyone off. I can tell you that you can't offend a junky. I'd call them everything in the book and get real mean and nasty with them, to the point of busting off caps at them, and they'd leave until I was back at it. Then they'd come back like nothing happen.
This went on for over a year until word got to my mother that the OSBI and other agencies were about to do a major drug bust on me and they were going to take the club, house and land. My mother had been in business for many years and was a lady of integrity, with many friends at the courthouse. Unlike me, my mother had always been honest and hard working. Even though the club business is the business of the devil, my mother was a respected lady and ran a very clean business. When you are in that kind of business and law enforcement respects you, thatís the evidence that you have done things right as far as that kind of lifestyle goes.
Before I go back to my story, I'd like to pause and bow my knee to the floor and thank God that He brought me through all of that wickedness. As I relive the hellish nightmare of my past, it makes me all the more thankful to the Lord, who saved me from this evil, which is the purpose of this book. You'll learn as you continue to read the pages ahead of the incredible story of a loving Father, and a rebellious prodigal, and how through some amazing circumstances the God of the entire universe, our heavenly Father, saved me from spending an eternity in the flames of hell.
After mother got word of what was about to happen, I locked the door, packed my van and headed back to Lawton to Sarah - the one I could always count on to take be back and believe everything I told her. I had been running hard on drugs for a long time and I was now at a safe place to lie down and recover, which my body desperately needed. Sarah had stayed so anonymous that few people knew about her. She also had a top secret security clearance because of her job so she never came around the clubs nor was she ever associated with any of that crowd. They never knew anything about her.
At any rate I spent the first several weeks sleeping and trying to come down from this high I had been on for so many years. The only thing I could do around Sarah was drink, which I did abusively. Every now and then when I got a hold of some extra money I would take as quick trip to Duncan and find some crank, but for the most part the next several years would be drug free.
After recovering from the years of drug abuse, my body began to heal. At this point I had not used a needle, but had smoked and snorted a lot of both coke and crank. Sarah had inherited a 6000 square foot house when her mother passed away about a year early. She and her mother were very close and this was really tough on her so me being around was an added security to her, which I took full advantage of. I began to remodel the old Victorian-style house that was located in one of the older, more prestigious parts of Lawton. Once again, I had barely escaped trouble with the law and landed on my feet surrounded by good fortune. As I begin to remodel her house, I accumulated quite a shop; of course Sarah bought anything I needed. It wasn't long until I was back in touch with the boys, only this time I was doing repair and maintenance work on their rentals, plus doing personal work at their houses. I was no more the big shot salesman, but instead, the drunken handyman. This was a perfect safe haven for me to become a drunk. Sarah had a perfect home in an upscale neighborhood. I had a job to make enough money to look like I was on my way back to some kind of life, but I was drinking a fifth of whiskey a day and after a few years of this, I ended up the same old Dennis - running the clubs in Lawton, being the life of the party, and running around on Sarah. This went on until I reached the point that I wasn't showing up for David. I had a little trailer at a small trailer park that I had sold to my mother and Raymond several years before. David had become partners in it with the agreement that he would take care of it and keep it rented. I was staying out all night and to avoid arguing with Sarah I would just go over there. A guy named Brent worked for me and I had him a place in a small trailer that was really run down. He and I were drinking buddies and I just begin to stay with him. This was probably a blessing to Sarah because she finally seen that she didnít need me. I would go home to Sarah a couple times a week and then be gone awhile. This went on until Brent and I stayed drunk more than we were sober.
Eventually Brent moved on and I no longer made it to any jobs. I left David right in the middle of building a barn at his house and eventually he had about had it with me. By then, I had once again established some credit with lumber yards and supply houses and had a bunch of outstanding bills. The bill collectors found me at that trailer park. I donít know how they located me there, but my mother bailed me out of a few of the debts I just up and left the rest. I put everything in my pickup because Sarah, like I said in the previous chapter, was finally done. David was through as well, so I made my way back to good olí mom and once again, to Duncan.
I had been gone about four years and by the time I returned, Mom had sold the club. I know when I left you in the previous chapter that I had said we were now going into the darkest days of my life. The truth is, some of those years at the club were really dark, but I saved a lot of the gory details and left out many, many evils that would have made you understand why I didn't want to relive them.
The one lesson which I think is important to take from this chapter is the pattern of an addict and how persuasive and manipulating they are. They can charm their way in and out of things better than most people alive. I'm of course, talking about a functioning addict, one who seems to be able to run just under the radar. Outside, everything seems to be just fine and they can appear as though nothing is wrong. I could have been on my second fifth of whiskey and most people would have never known. I was clever for years as a functioning addict and most never knew it.
But, as you will see in this next chapter, there is a volcano just waiting to erupt in every addict. We replace one thing with something else and everything for awhile seems to be fine, but itís not. Itís just building more pressure and eventually it does erupt. The next chapter is truly the darkest days of my life. I just had to lead into it. There is a volcano and itís about to explode. I had escaped several close calls in my life, been blessed in a few more, and people, especially my mother, had bailed me out of trouble on more than one occasion. But God had one coming that no one could bail me out of. All these escapes had only played into my pride and made me feel indestructible.
This was Gods way of master minding His plan for my life. I know that many reading this book may disagree with that statement, but I will later show you evidence of this statement. Is not God sovereign, and if so, nothing happens to us that God did not either allow or cause. Does not a father chastise his children? Either God is God or He's not. I happen to know He is! You will come to see what I'm talking about in the next couple of chapters.
The Bible says, ďHonor thy father and mother that thy days may be long upon the land that the Lord thy God is giving you.Ē - Ex 20:12. Listen friend, if you have a mother which has stuck by you like mine has, somehow let her know how much she means to you. The Bible has made it very clear that God despises a child that dishonors his mother. I'm going to close this chapter with some proverbs to think about for awhile, all of which I have done:
Whoever curses his father or mother, his lamp will be put out into deep darkness. (Pr. 20:20)
Do not despise your mother when she is old. (Pr. 23 22)
Let your father and your mother be glad, let her who bore you rejoice. (Pr. 23:25)
Whoever robs his father or his mother, and says, ďIt is no transgression,Ē The same is a companion to a destroyer (Pr. 28:24)
And lastly, but frightening is Proverbs 29:15 which says, ďThe eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.Ē
I close with these chilling warnings because I had so many times let my mother down and now, with no place in the world to go, she took me back in ... How great are our mothers! They are the true heroes of this battle because we addicts put them through a living hell on earth. It is a real war we put them through! To every mother that has had to go through these wars, this chapter is dedicated to you and I want to say a very special thanks to my mother for never giving up on me and fighting for my life when I was so close so many times to giving it away for nothing. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul, or what will a man give for his soul? ( Matthew 16:25-26). I almost gave my soul to the devil for a needle and some white powder! The next chapter is the introduction to the needle, the whale, and the light which came as a dove!
You can contact Dennis at: firstname.lastname@example.org