October 3, 2021

Dying Twice Gets Your Attention
A Beacon post

You might think that drinking a gallon of vodka every day would essentially amount to a self-imposed death sentence. But that’s just what Darrell did . . . for five years. And yet he lived to tell the tale.


He’d been an alcoholic for years, his addiction fueled by an inheritance that paid his bills but also enabled his drinking — and his lack of responsibility. Last summer, while visiting his mother, Darrell got very sick. He became dehydrated, started having seizures, and then his heart stopped. Twice. His mom performed CPR until an ambulance arrived, and the paramedics picked it up from there. He made it to the hospital and recovered.

“I knew I was lost in my alcoholism,” he says, “but I never felt like I had a way out.”

But “dying twice tends to get your attention,” Darrell says, and his near-death experience forced him to seek a way out. Fortunately, his mom had an idea: Go to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. That was a year ago. He hasn’t had a drink since. Moral of the story: Always listen to your mother . . . even when you’re 38 years old.

Darrell says when he first walked through the doors at the Mission, he wondered, What have I gotten myself into? But it didn’t take long for him to realize he was in exactly the right place.

“I was scared,” he says, “because I hadn’t been sober in a long time. I didn’t remember what it was like to be sober. I was afraid of how my body would react, how my mind would react, how I would speak, walk and act. I was pretty nervous. First of all, I figured that I must somehow be favored by the Lord for surviving what I’d been through,” he explains. “Most people’s hearts don’t stop twice in one day and then live to talk about it. So there must be something here that I was meant to do. I knew I wasn’t done. I just had to figure out what I had to live for.”

Part of it was to build up his faith. Another part was to build up himself, and to learn how to properly care for his body and mind. The Mission has helped with all of that, he says.

“They’ve worked with me so well that I’m not afraid of failure when I leave here,” he says. “I know I have the tools and mindset now to do it. I’m a new person now. I have a brand-new perspective on life. I really know what gratitude is now, and how to be humble and grateful. I love this place, and I’m a lot better person for having been here.”

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