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Meet Pete, Tillman House Resident & Board Member of Friends of The 24

How did you get started with drugs and alcohol?

Drugs and alcohol started for me in 1997 when me and some friends from college bought a rock and roll bar. Previously, I had the occasional drink but no drugs up until then. It’s funny how easy access changes all that. I had an unlimited supply at alcohol and cash available 24 hours a day, so I didn’t really know I was an alcoholic until I would get drunk at work, then spend the night at the bar instead of riding my motorcycle home, then I would get up at 4-5am in the morning and start drinking again. Years later after we sold the bar it just didn’t stop from there.

Pete V., Tillman House Resident

How did you end up at Dallas 24 Hour Club?

In 2005, I started a job in Houston working for a really good guy. I started making really good money and I was drinking all the time. I still did really well at work – even to this day, he would say I was a good worker - but I was drinking all the time. He let me go in 2009 and I had nowhere to go. I had spent all my money on alcohol and drugs. He gave me a $100 bill and I drove to Dallas to stay with a friend who was a raging alcohol at the time. I went to the Salvation Army and got kicked out after four months for drinking in the building. I had heard about The 24 – some guys from The 24 had come to the Salvation Army to bring meetings – so I went straight to The 24 and got into the program. I stayed at The 24 for 1 year – 365 days to the day. I didn’t work the program but I stayed sober. Even without working the program, I was happy – no problems, no alcohol. I had a great job, I had a car, I used to help out at The 24 office, I loved it.

Two weeks before I left The 24, a girl walked in. I was still helping out at The 24 and carrying meetings after I left, so I would see her over the next couple of months. She was an alcoholic and I started drinking with her. We were holed up in the apartment together just drinking. 2016 was a total blur from what I can remember. At one point, I passed out downtown - I actually died on Main Street. An ambulance arrived. They resuscitated me twice. They got me to the hospital and I went down again. I was in Baylor for 29 days in a coma. At one point, my family decided to pull the plug on me and for some reason I started breathing on my own, which I hadn’t done in 30+ days. Five days after that I woke up. I flew to California to stay with my family and within a month, I was drunk again. Out of the blue one day, I had run out of money at this point, someone had told me about a place that takes homeless people called The Go Home Project. If you go see them, have an ID, and have someone who can verify that you have a place to go – who was Aaron Smith a Program Manager at The 24 – then they will send you wherever you want to go. They put me on a bus back to Dallas to The 24. I got back here and I made it 3 weeks before I drank again. I went to detox, got out and came back to The 24. I made it 2 weeks.

From 2018 to mid-2020, I broke both arms, two humorous bones, my shoulder and my right ankle. I got hit by a car at Coit and 75 and I fell off a building from the 3rd Floor and I went into a-fib, again another coma, all within 20 months. All that time, I never had a permanent place to stay. I was working a little bit and would stay somewhere for a little bit, but nowhere permanent. With my broken ankle, I remember I was wheeling around Dallas in a wheelchair in the rain looking for places to get alcohol. I went on a 2 week alcohol and drug binge on the West Side of Dallas and it was bad. I had bought a car at this time and had everything I owned in the car. I was at a hotel and one night I went down to the lobby 4X to buy alcohol. On the last trip, I must have gotten involved in something because I woke up in a drug dealer’s hotel room with drugs and weapons everywhere and the door to the hotel room was wide open. This was an area of town where lots of police are around, so if they had seen me in that room with all those drugs and weapons, I would have went to jail for minimum 10+ years. I was completely unaware of where I was. I went back to my hotel room and I called Joseph (a Program Manager at The 24) and told him I can’t do this anymore. I needed help. Joe got me into detox for a few weeks. For the first time, I gave up and I prayed. I started reading the Big Book and working with my Sponsor. After 28 days in rehab, I went back to The 24 where I stayed for 6 months before moving to Tillman House, which is an extraordinary place. For those of us who are newly sober and homeless, to be able to move to Tillman House and have everything ready for us, silverware, bedding, towels, etc is a blessing. My room was home from the very first night.

Finish this sentence, if it weren’t for Dallas 24 Hour Club, I would be:

Dead. Extreme heart failure. Dead. Alcohol poisoning. No future. Possible criminal. When I look back....I just, I can’t waste this last opportunity. What I put myself through with all my injuries, it hits home.

To give back, Pete joined Friends of The 24 Board as the Tillman House Resident Liaison. He helps new Tillman House residents learn about Friends of The 24 and how they can get involved.


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