By Jeannie Colter
An author who co-produced the renowned films “Serpico” and “Dog Day Afternoon,” and has also written screenplays about Alcohol Anonymous co-founders Bill and Lois Wilson, has now written about pioneers in alcohol rehab treatment in the state of Georgia. William G. Borchert knows firsthand about the challenges of sobriety because he is a recovering alcoholic and he has used his writing talent to write books, stories, and screenplays that encourage others to bravely work towards sobriety.
SavannahNow.com describes the tale of Dr. John and Dot Mooney as “a story about passion, alcoholism, addiction, turmoil and redemption that has so many twists and turns it could be the basis of a bestselling fiction novel.” Since, as they say, truth is stranger than fiction, their story is all too real and of course when he learned of it, Borchert knew it would make for compelling reading.
Dr. Mooney was a heroic World War II veteran who found himself addicted to drugs and alcohol after he tried to medicate himself from battle wounds he got while saving the lives of others. After the war, he married Dot, a nurse who liked to drink and attend parties. Mooney signed himself in and out of medical institutions and Dot was addicted to electric shock therapy since she got a high from the injections associated with that therapy. Mooney ended up in prison because he wrote illegal prescriptions for himself. While in prison, he was able to recover from addiction and when he returned home he helped Dot to get sober. The two of them worked together to start Willingway, the first hospital in the United States that focused on alcohol rehab treatment and drub rehab treatment. Willingway is sometimes referred to as “The Betty Ford Center of the South.
Borchert met the couple through a friend and asked permission to tell their story–the good and the bad–and he chose to do it a more novel-like form as opposed to writing a formal biography. Borchert hopes to be able to also turn this story into a movie.