Celebrating Life in Recovery

Working With Native American Students

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Dr. Janet Claymore, Duane Ross


Series Code: CLR

Program Code: CLR00066A

00:10 Welcome to Celebrating Life In Recovery!
00:12 Do you ever wonder in your own life, in your own recovery
00:15 if God has a plan for you?
00:17 I do not even wonder anymore.
00:19 Come into the café and see what I mean by that,
00:21 it is so cool.
00:49 It is so cool that you joined us today in the café.
00:51 I have got some friends here
00:54 from the Holbrook Indian school.
00:56 It was one of the funnest places that I have been.
00:59 We did a week of prayer.
01:01 These kids changed my life, definitely the staff and what
01:06 God was doing in their life was amazing.
01:08 Then I got to meet a couple of people and hear their
01:13 individual stories and I wanted to share that with you today.
01:16 I want to go right into that.
01:17 And Heppy I want to say thank you for being on the program.
01:20 Thank you, thank you for inviting me.
01:22 Your story just won my heart, first your wife won my heart,
01:26 then I got to meet you and hear the rest of the story.
01:29 It was amazing, so I would like to start right off.
01:32 Usually I have a teaching segment first, but I would like
01:36 to start right off and just ask you to walk us through
01:40 where you came from, who you are,
01:42 and what stepped you into recovery?
01:46 Basically I came from a family of educators and I grew
01:53 up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
01:55 Early on I got lost in cigarettes and alcohol.
02:01 That took me down a road of about 23 years of drinking,
02:07 and longer than that for cigarettes.
02:09 When you say early on, what are you talking about early on?
02:13 I started at about 13.
02:15 Okay because for some of us, like I remember smoking my first
02:19 cigarette at 11, I started drinking shortly after that.
02:22 For some of us it is, when you say early it is early.
02:25 This is my life.
02:27 It was early back then, but now it is not quite as early.
02:33 I think what it really became was that towards the end of my
02:40 23 years of being a drunk, I was drinking to six packs of
02:46 beer a day and blacking out.
02:49 In the meantime having a wife and six kids and working.
02:56 I was a teacher at the time, still am a teacher.
02:59 Finally I came to a community where they were trying
03:03 to look at their individual members in a community
03:08 and sober them up.
03:09 I happened to be the business manager at the school
03:13 at the time.
03:14 A good friend of mine who is the chairman of the board
03:20 focused on me and simply told me Duane you either go
03:26 down the road or you get help.
03:27 Did you know at that time that everybody around you knew
03:31 you are an alcoholic?
03:32 No I didn't, I just thought that it was entertaining for
03:37 me to go out and have fun and get little beer.
03:41 Totally blackout?
03:43 Every time I drank I blacked out, every time, even starting
03:48 with the first time when I started at 13 years old.
03:50 So he told you that day you either get help?
03:55 Get help or go down the road.
03:57 I think it was a big relief.
03:59 I knew there was something going on but because nobody
04:05 really questioned me.
04:07 I was a teacher, a business manager and was always someone
04:11 that people looked up to.
04:13 Oh he doesn't have that problem?
04:15 Maybe it was always because I was always moving around a
04:20 lot. Which we call in the alcoholic's term, geographic
04:24 change. I always managed to be one step ahead of everybody.
04:28 In my addiction I moved every three months so I know
04:31 exactly what you are saying about that,
04:33 but there is going to be some people that a
04:35 geographical move in their addiction they do not know
04:37 what you are talking about so can you explain that?
04:39 Sure I'll give it a crack.
04:42 Geographic change for an alcoholic is when they move to
04:49 a certain community and they're doing a pretty good job.
04:55 They work hard and they establish their accredibility in
05:00 everything in the community.
05:01 Maybe the first paycheck they are okay and they keep on
05:07 working real hard.
05:08 The second one or the third one they decide that they
05:12 have been there long enough,
05:13 maybe I will go out and party tonight.
05:15 So I go out, and the party starts at, we get paid on
05:19 Thursday afternoon, party starts Friday afternoon and it
05:24 will go until Sunday night or early Monday morning.
05:27 By that time you are really sick,
05:30 hanging over in other words.
05:33 So you call your boss and tell him you are really sick today,
05:36 I can't come in and they believe you.
05:38 So they let you off, so they let you off for better than
05:43 maybe three or four weeks in a row.
05:44 Then they would finally start saying,
05:45 there is something wrong with you.
05:47 On Monday's!
05:49 on Monday, why are you always missing payday Mondays?
05:53 You know it is not every Monday.
05:55 Once you get over that point, then you start missing
05:59 every Monday and they really start catching on to you
06:04 and say if you don't get help you have to leave us.
06:09 But I would actually beat them to it,
06:11 I would leave before they fired me.
06:13 You were talking to so many people with the disease of
06:17 alcoholism that, that is a lifestyle of a ton of addicts.
06:21 Yes it is, it is a disease that we do not know
06:25 that we are sick.
06:27 You can start seeing it in somebody's eyes, you can see in
06:29 their eyes that the respect they had from you yesterday
06:32 is starting to get less and less and less.
06:35 So when you said, I was ahead of them, I was one step
06:38 ahead of them and would move before.
06:40 Pulling everybody, all the kids.
06:43 Yes! Your wife? Yes!
06:45 fooling not only my children and my wife,
06:48 I was fooling the children I was working with because I
06:52 was an elementary teacher.
06:53 My children in the classroom used to take care of me.
06:58 In what way?
07:00 Making the classroom quiet so he wouldn't get disturbed
07:07 because there was a lot of noise in the classroom.
07:09 They were making sure that...
07:12 like if you were hung over and had a headache they would be
07:15 quieter that day?
07:17 That's right, yes.
07:18 So they started to enable your addiction
07:20 as well as your family?
07:24 Yes and that really was one of the things I was looking at
07:28 when I started to realize I needed to do something about my
07:32 own addiction and I became terrified to the fact that I did
07:37 not know how to do that.
07:38 I didn't want to be honest enough to ask for help.
07:41 So can we stop there Heppy for a minute?
07:44 When you say terrified, all the sudden I understand that I
07:47 have this issue, all the sudden I want to take that next step
07:51 but I do not know, what is the next step?
07:53 I don't know how to survive without this.
07:55 I have been drinking for so long I don't know what my life
07:58 would be, I don't know even what the first step is.
08:02 How do I do this?
08:04 Yeah, and so when the school board chairman, I wasn't really
08:11 the one that was being picked on because he wanted to clean
08:17 up his community of all the alcoholics in the community.
08:23 Let me just say that when I see somebody do that,
08:26 their heart is in a good place.
08:28 I'm not wanting to kick everybody out, is there any way
08:32 that we can help each other?
08:34 Is there any way that I can step in and say somebody
08:37 has to have the courage to stand up and walk away
08:39 from this addiction, that is huge!
08:43 And I became the third member in the community to sober up.
08:49 What was the addiction rate in that community?
08:52 We had about 85% unemployment.
08:59 The addiction rate was probably 90%.
09:06 So with that community we started a process in which we
09:12 started sobering up the men and women so that they could
09:17 give clear direction to their children and their community.
09:23 And to become useful members of society.
09:28 I think when I realized that was what you were saying the
09:32 first time I heard your story I just said I love you.
09:35 I love you because it took lot of courage to say okay
09:38 I am willing to start to stand up and I'm terrified.
09:41 So what did look like as you stood up?
09:46 It looks like a lonely hill to climb.
09:53 The first day I got back from treatment.
09:57 So you went into a facility?
10:00 I went into a outpatient treatment and at
10:04 that time it was two weeks.
10:05 That was in May, by the end of May I came back.
10:11 Right below the house there was a ball field.
10:14 A softball game was going on so I went around the corner to
10:18 watch the ballgame and one of my friends came up the hill
10:21 carrying a Budweiser bottle.
10:24 He said Hap here have a drink.
10:27 I said thank you it took it open it up and
10:28 poured it out in front of him.
10:33 That's huge!
10:34 When you said that when you took it I thought,
10:36 Oh don't open it.
10:38 I took it and opened it up and poured it out in front of him,
10:40 from that point on no one offered me a drink.
10:44 I had some brother-in-laws who came over and visited and
10:48 used my kids as an excuse to visit and they would bring
10:52 cases of beer and I let them come in the first time.
10:55 The second time they came I said no you can't come.
10:58 You can come and see your nephews and nieces when you are
11:01 sober and so they quit coming.
11:05 So let's stop for a minute because I want to ask you,
11:07 you went into treatment what was,
11:09 did you go through withdrawals?
11:11 What was it like for you?
11:12 Because for some people it can get really crazy from
11:15 alcohol withdrawals, you are delusional and shaky and
11:18 tremors, and all those kind of things.
11:20 I didn't go through any of those for some reason.
11:25 Good for you!
11:27 When I first started drinking I only drink 2 or 3 cans
11:32 of beer and I would blackout.
11:33 So there was something going on with me that I couldn't
11:37 handle alcohol and that happened all the way through
11:40 my drinking process.
11:46 Other than being really hung over and nervous lot,
11:51 but that was about it.
11:52 So physically the treatment center wasn't about physical
11:56 withdrawal, it was definitely getting used to living your
12:00 life without alcohol and drugs.
12:02 How about your kids? because now they have seen you their
12:04 whole life as a drinker.
12:07 We can go back to when I was drinking with my children.
12:11 When I would get paid I would go cash my check.
12:16 My oldest son was about 13 or 14 and I would give him
12:23 my paycheck because we needed to know that they had groceries
12:28 and things that they needed.
12:30 So on Saturday mornings we would go to town and would buy
12:36 groceries and take them to the movies, which usually in the
12:42 movies dad would pass out.
12:43 But the kids had all the money and that was okay.
12:47 Then they would drive me home again.
12:50 So when dad came back from treatment I told my oldest son
12:54 it is time for now for me to be the father of the family.
12:58 You need to be a child again, and that was scary.
13:02 He doesn't know how! He doesn't know how.
13:04 I told my oldest daughter,
13:07 because by that time I was divorced and had all the kids,
13:11 you are not the mother anymore.
13:14 That was really scary to both of my older two children that
13:20 became mom and dad in the family.
13:22 I couldn't handle it, I did not know how to be.
13:26 That is where a lots of alcoholic families are that the
13:28 kids take the role of parenting.
13:30 The oldest kids become a mom and dad in the family,
13:34 because mom and dad don't know how to parent them,
13:37 they don't know how to take care of them.
13:39 That is why moms and dads lose themselves in alcohol or
13:46 drugs because it is scary thing being a parent,
13:50 especially when you are young.
13:51 My first child was born I was 19 so I grew up with him.
13:59 He is now 45 and he is a
14:01 grand parent himself.
14:06 Did any of your kids get involved in alcohol and drugs?
14:09 Every one of them.
14:10 Because that is what they knew? Yeah!
14:12 That is what they saw and that is what they always enjoyed
14:16 because when I had sobered up about two or three years
14:21 after that my second daughter said to dad,
14:24 I've really liked you when you were drinking.
14:27 I said why?
14:28 You used to drive us in the ditch and go all over the place
14:32 and I thought that was cool.
14:33 That was fun! Exciting!
14:35 When I was drinking I would do that and I didn't know how to
14:40 answer her so I left it.
14:45 Let me just ask you now as you are stepping into recovery
14:48 for a lot of us we then start looking at the fact that the
14:53 fallout from my drinking and drugging is that every one of
14:57 my children are using and I am having to watch the heartbreak
15:01 of their broken relationships,
15:03 of their bringing children into those relationships,
15:06 so what did that feel like as a man to say this is my legacy,
15:13 this is my heritage?
15:16 Looking at that as the person that was responsible for giving
15:22 that kind of role model to my children, deep inside of me I
15:29 can't amend that, but I can ask them for forgiveness.
15:33 That I have done and they have forgiven me.
15:39 Not only for being a drunk,
15:42 but also for divorcing their mother.
15:44 Up rooting them from schools and moving them all over.
15:48 All the time!
15:49 It wasn't until 2003 that they have all now quit drinking.
15:59 Which is really something that I can't even express.
16:04 It is like it happened overnight.
16:07 I was at your house and I looked at the family portraits,
16:12 and the pictures on the wall.
16:13 You are showing me everybody and their recovery and it was
16:19 like I could see the incredible, almost a gratefulness to
16:24 God that you have blessed my family and kept
16:28 Your hand on my family.
16:29 Yes He has!
16:31 You know what I want to ask you too is that you step into
16:33 recovery, you go into treatment, you change everything
16:36 and your family comes out of that.
16:37 We are very much a Christian show, where did God come in?
16:42 I know that you are not raised a Christian but now are.
16:47 So where do God come in to your life?
16:50 God came into my life probably back in 2000.
17:00 He started tugging on my shirt sleeve and saying,
17:05 Hey, what about Me?
17:06 Hey I want you to do this?
17:09 This is after recovery?
17:12 This is after recovery I recovered from alcohol in 1980,
17:18 this is 20 years later.
17:20 I know that you are married to an incredible woman, Janet.
17:25 Was Janet a part of your life by then?
17:29 Janet and I got married back in 1980.
17:34 So I am going to bring her on the program.
17:36 We are going to go ahead and take a break.
17:38 I like to come back and bring Heppy's wife because
17:43 there was one lot of things happening in his life prior
17:46 to meeting God and he got into recovery, but I think it
17:50 is really tough to know the whole story unless
17:53 you ask somebody's wife.
17:54 No, you will hear the whole story and get the full picture
17:57 of what their walk look like.
17:58 So we are going to take a break and we are going to come
18:01 back and you will meet his wife and you will be blessed.
18:03 I'm telling you.
18:04 We will be right back!


Revised 2014-12-17