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A tale of 2 love stories
W MooneyFamilyandWilliamBorchert
"When Two Loves Collide" author William Borchert poses with members of the Mooney family. Seated, from left, are Carol Lind Mooney and Dr. Bobby Mooney; standing, from left, are Dr. Al Mooney, Borchert and Jimmy Mooney.

    It’s a book you cannot put down, a gripping storyline that reads like a disturbing movie that you can barely fathom but feel compelled to keep watching because it is so powerful.
    A narrative of alcoholism and addiction, destruction and peril, it leaves you desperately hoping the characters will pull through and find restoration and sobriety.
    But they are not just characters. They are real people. Their names are Dr. John and Dot Mooney, founders of Willingway of Statesboro.
    This weekend, author and Emmy-nominated screenwriter William Borchert releases “When Two Loves Collide,” an inspiring 297-page book that shows the utter chaos and destruction that can occur when a husband and wife’s love and commitment for one another collide with their love for alcohol and drugs.
    The release is timed to coincide with Willingway’s annual homecoming, when alumni are invited back for a weekend of celebration.
    As the book begins, it takes the reader to a dank, clammy federal prison cell in Lexington, Ky., with John Mooney Jr. staring through the steel bars, recalling Judge Robert Mikell’s haunting words: “Whereupon, on this day of July 10, 1959, it is the judgment of the court that you, John Mooney, Jr., be taken from the Court House to the common jail of Bulloch County and be kept in safe custody till remanded by a guard from the Penitentiary, and be taken hence by said guard to the Federal Penitentiary in Reidsville, Georgia or such other place as the Governor shall direct and be there confined to hard labor for the space of not less than two years nor more than two years, and then be discharged. This sentence is hereby probated, however, upon you being confined at the U.S. Narcotics Prison in Lexington, Kentucky where you will remain and be treated for drug addiction until you are pronounced cured.”
    As Mooney contemplates how his life has spiraled out of control to bring him to this point of shame and utter despair, author Borchert weaves an intimate, detailed account of the progression of the disease for John and Dot Mooney and how this felony drug charge would lead the couple to freedom from substance use.
    John Mooney Jr., a skilled surgeon and decorated World War II hero, became one of the most respected physicians in Statesboro. Dot Mooney, a nurse, grew up in the small community of Jimps, a few miles down U.S. Highway 301. The couple met one day at Bulloch County Hospital, when they literally ran headlong into each other as Dot was exiting a patient’s room. From the moment they met, they fell madly in love, not knowing that their passion for one another would be tortured by a second love, one for alcohol and drugs.
    Both admit they fell in love with alcohol the first time it touched their lips. Dot’s first drink was on a balmy day at a welcoming party hosted on her behalf at a cousin’s home. Although the substance left her throwing up with a sick stomach and pounding hangover the next day, she was enamored with the feelings of peace and contentment as the booze flooded her with what she desired — feeling important, respected and admired by the crowd.
    The book also articulates John’s foray into imbibing, which occurred a week after his 18th birthday. In the fall of 1928 at the Allendale Country Club in a dark corner of the dance hall, John’s roommate and other fraternity guys passed an old tin can of corn liquor around for a swig. Mooney took a big swallow and then another. As the liquor ran down his chin, he fell under its magical spell as it seduced and swept him into a different world.
    Although Mooney built a lucrative medical practice, his mounting addiction to alcohol, often two fifths of liquor a day, was significant enough that he would try to “slow down” at times. Since he knew his patients could smell the alcohol on his breath, he then progressed to adding narcotics, tranquilizers and sedatives to try to find “the balanced life.”
    During these years, Dot was careful to hide her actual intake from her husband. She began stealing drugs from John’s prescription cabinet to help control her panic attacks and “nervous spells.” As she and John began their family, Dot was fearful of getting pregnant because of her drug use. However, she took a position to abstain during her pregnancies, and after each son was born, she thanked God for a healthy baby, but quickly resumed her drinking routine.
    It would take a total of 31 years before John would find the miracle of recovery and redemption in prison. While there, he embraced a 12-step program. Upon returning home, he shared these lifesaving principles with Dot, which led to her recovery. From that moment on, together, they began their journey to save thousands of lives.
    Noted addiction medicine specialist Claudia Black makes a statement in the book’s forward that summarizes the destructive nature of alcohol and drugs: “Addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer ... and it is experienced in one out of every four families. The good news is, as devastating as it is, recovery is possible.”
    The book is available for purchase at Willingway.com and Amazon.com.

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