Love, chaos, and laughter. Three simple words sum up how it was to grow up in a home filled with people suffering from alcohol and drug problems seeking a solution. You see, my parents had their own story. Both were from good southern families but drugs took them down a destructive path of sickness, lies, betrayal, and near- death. They got sober in 1959 after my dad, a prominent surgeon in South Georgia, spent time in a Federal Narcotics Hospital in Lexington, Ky. I was born the following year.
Because my father, Dr. John Mooney was a physician and my mom, Dot, had worked as a nurse, people began to send alcoholics and addicts to our home for medical attention and treatment during the 1960’s. I guess people knew how sick they had been and figured they could help others find what they had miraculously discovered. Our beautiful colonial style home was surrounded by tall pine trees that offered a peaceful and tranquil setting – on the outside. Once you crossed the threshold into the warm, crowded kitchen, you knew this was not a “normal house”.
By the time I was seven or eight years old, we had 20-25 addicts living in our home. During those crazy years, the house got so crowded, I was moved out of my bedroom and into the front living room behind a folding partition that separated my bed from several other single beds where women of all ages spent several weeks, or more, of their lives getting help. It’s funny how they became my friends. They would talk and play games with me, and occasionally keep me up past bedtime. My mother would often enlist them to babysit so she could cook, taxi, and counsel the folks living under her roof. For many, this was the first time someone had ever trusted them with anything and it meant so much to them.
I can remember many times coming home and stepping over people sleeping on the floor or having convulsions. The delirium tremens “D.T.’s”, were fairly common, as were hallucinations. Being so young, I didn’t understand what was going on and thought it was just a game where we all played “make believe”. There was a big sliding glass door in the playroom to the back yard which someone left open one day. A squirrel got in and was sitting by fireplace looking around. My father walked in and said “Are ya’ll just going to sit there and watch the squirrel or get him out?” Everyone sighed and said “Oh, thank God, we weren’t sure if it was real!”
Even though my home wasn’t normal according to most, it was “normal” for me. There was so much love and laughter every day. I couldn’t walk from one room to the other without getting a hug or someone saying “I love you”. People talked about their problems and sought solutions. It was the place where all my friends wanted to hang out.
Even though I saw the devastating effects of addiction, I went on to become an alcoholic at an early age. When I was 12, I started drinking with my brother. In high school, I got involved with various drugs including speed, pot, narcotics, and anything I could get my hands on. I married my high school sweetheart when I was 16 and was on my own. My drug use escalated and I was divorced at 18. After that, I began to enter drug rehabs. At first, my parents sent me to nice facilities, but they began to practice “tough love” and quit enabling me. I ended up in psychiatric wards and state hospitals. During this time, I began mainlining narcotics. When this was no longer affordable, I started drinking Richard’s Wild Irish Rose – the cheapest wine I could find. Homeless and destitute, I lived in a tent by the railroad tracks.
On June 28th, 1982, I woke up with a strong desire to be sober. It was a gift from God. I thought I would die a horrible death at a young age and that would be fine. Picking up the phone at a hotel, I called my mother. She told me she loved me and she would help any way she could but she would not give me money. That has been over 30 years and I am still sober. My parents gave me a wonderful childhood. It was my choice to drink and drug. My addiction has turned out to be my biggest asset. I became a Certified Addiction Counselor, graduated college with a B.S. in psychology, and then received my Law Degree. My experience has enabled me to work extensively with others. Being able to see people that are hopeless and resigned to a lonely death turn their lives around and become useful members of society makes everything I went through worthwhile. To be a part of a spiritual journey is beyond words and beyond my wildest dreams.
Through her experience and education, Carol Lind has created programs designed to give hope and solutions to men and women suffering from addiction problems. She has implemented the philosophy of abstinence based recovery handed down from her parents, Dr. John and Dot Mooney, co-founders of Willingway in 1971.
Carol Lind received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Georgia Southern University in 1992. She then attended Mercer University School of Law where she earned her Juris Doctorate in 1995. She has been certified in Equine-Assisted psychotherapy through E.A.G.A.L.A.
In addition to her recovery houses, Carol Lind has assisted in creating Drug Courts in South Georgia. She owns an equestrian facility and is in the frozen yogurt business.
Carol Lind is the daughter of Dr. John and Dot Mooney, the subject of the new book by Emmy-nominated writer Bill Borchert called “When Two Loves Collide”. The book is available on Willingway.com, Amazon.com, books.com and in most major book stores.