Dennis Schott’s Story
Dennis spent most of his adult life using drugs and people. Even dying and being brought back to life didn’t change his behavior. He could only change his life when he let Jesus in for good.
I was born into a family where I knew my mom and dad loved me. I felt very safe and secure. I was raised in a Catholic home, and I remember when it came time to get confirmed as a teenager, I was told by the priests and my parents that I was supposed to be an example of Jesus from that time forward. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew that if everyone held those beliefs, it would have been easier.
The people I hung around with in the neighborhood and at school didn’t go to church. I wanted to have fun and date, even though I was shy. I started drinking and getting high with my friends because when I did, I didn’t feel shy around girls anymore, and I liked that. I started missing my curfew and came home in the early hours of the morning to sleep off my hangover. Sometimes I would even bring girls home when I knew my parents were asleep.
When my parents confronted me about my behavior, I tried to rationalize it telling myself that partying and being away from my parents was what adults did, and I was an adult. This really hurt and outraged my parents. They kicked me out of the house several times, but they always allowed me to move back in when I stayed clean for a few weeks.
I stopped attending church all together. Sometimes I would stay clean and sober long enough to find employment. I didn’t realize at that time that I was also fighting depression. Then I started becoming manic, being either unnaturally happy, or extremely depressed. That only made my life more chaotic. (I later found out that I am BiPolar.)
My depression led me to feel like my situation with my parents and my substance abuse was really taking its toll on me. I wanted to check out; or should I say check myself out of this world. I wanted to end my life. So I set out to do that and made a plan.
One Friday night, I decided to drink and take some downers. I really don’t remember exactly what or how it happened, but I was driving at a high rate of speed and totaled my 1968 Ford Mustang when I clipped a utility pole. I was taken to St. Agnes Hospital where I was pronounced dead.
That should have been the end of it. But I was brought back to life. God brought me back to life.
All of this should have been a wake-up call for me, but it wasn’t. I kept living by the insanity rule—doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. I didn’t stop partying. I didn’t stop abusing substances. I just kept hoping things would be different for almost 10 years. During this time of active addiction, I went through at least 12 different jobs and wasted enough money that I could have bought a home and a car. I fathered a child, Beth, and even that didn’t get me clean. My mother, my father, and my grandmother all died before I got clean.
Then in 2004 I turned 50. I made the conscious decision to stop using drugs, and people, and my family. I wanted to change with my whole heart and mind, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I found a12-step meeting, read their literature, and started making real friends. In working through the steps, I came to believe that only God could restore my life to sanity. In 2009 I made the decision to hand my life over to Jesus’ care. I asked Jesus into my heart and I am still in his hands. It is only through faith in Jesus that I have been able to be clean and sober for 14 years.
There is life after drugs because Jesus lives and he can redeem the most broken life. I dare not embrace any kind of life without Jesus. I treasure this new life Jesus has given me, and he continues to bless me the more I trust him. In 2016, God gave me the best gift after Jesus; he gave me a wife to love. She is the woman of my dreams. God is and will always be faithful when we put our trust in him.