On the right track: Religion ends life of drinking, drugs and trouble for Dillon Valley resident
SUMMIT COUNTY – David Foote has taken a long, hard and often painful road to happiness.
The 38-year-old was born in Memphis, Tenn., and was soon adopted. Though his adoptive parents were married, his mother lived in the United States and his father overseas. Foote spent most of his childhood overseas with his father – primarily in Taiwan and Africa.
He was about 12 when he started using drugs.
After graduating boarding school in New Mexico, Foote joined the Army. The Army didn’t help his substance abuse problems, though. As Foote explained it, in the Army, you play Army hard during the day, and then you drink hard at night.
“I did OK for a while, but toward the end of my career, I started getting in trouble,” he said. “Then one night, I got drunk, wrecked my Harley and broke my back.”
Shortly after, he was kicked out of the Army (after seven years of service), divorced (after one year of marriage), had three DUIs and had lost his driver’s license.
So he packed a duffel bag, got on the Greyhound and came to Keystone, where he got a job as a dishwasher.
But he didn’t stop drinking, and soon, trouble resurfaced.
One night, he started a bar fight with three construction workers, he said. Things escalated, Foote knifed one of the men, tried to escape on his mountain bike and was run over by the victim’s friends.
At first, Foote lied to the police, but finally, he admitted he was the man they were looking for. The cops took Foote to the police station and then, because his injuries were so severe, to the hospital in Denver.
It was then, Foote said, he began reflecting on his life. Every person who looked at him, “in their eyes, I saw “Loser.'” And he said to himself, “I am a loser – look at my life.”
“I made a vow that day that I will never, ever drink another drop of alcohol again.”
When he returned from the hospital, certain he would go to prison for what he had done, Foote bought a tent and a sleeping bag, and moved into the woods in the middle of the winter. He also started working out in the gym. His intent was to toughen up for prison.
Meanwhile, Foote said, he asked a lot of questions – of those he knew and of himself.
Most of his friends advised him to run or to lie. But Foote said he decided he needed to be accountable for his actions. When his court date came, Foote told the truth and was sentenced, but did not go to prison. He served three years of probation, community service and was ordered to see a psychologist.
Foote said he hoped the psychologist might be able to help him find some answers, to understand “why do I have this emptiness inside me?”
But the questions remained unanswered.
He continued to live in a tent in the woods, and though Foote has never had another drop of alcohol since the incident, he began smoking marijuana again.
By then, he was dedicated to working out, and Foote said he knew drugs would only lead him to trouble again.
So he began searching for, as he calls it, a spiritual supplement.
He tried meditation, explored Taoism and other New Age religions in his search to fill the void. One day, he met a Christian who told Foote he would pray for him and loaned him some books on Christianity.
“The books explained you have to make a choice,” Foote said. “We have the choice to ask God to forgive us for our sins and Jesus to take them away.”
Foote went home and prayed for God’s forgiveness.
“The next day, I wake up and I felt like something was changed in my heart – that something was fixed,” he said. “I gave up all my dope.”
A week later, at a friend’s suggestion, Foote started going to church at Agape Outpost in Breckenridge.
“I felt like God said this is where I need to be.”
He’s been going to church there ever since. He doesn’t affiliate with a particular domination of Christianity, but “I just identify with being born again in Jesus Christ.”
Foote now works as a recycle driver for Waste Management.
“It’s a great job,” Foote said. “Some people think it’s too belittling to be a garbage guy, (but) I love it. I like trucks and I like the physical part of it. I think I’ve found my job. It’s not every day you can go to work whistling.”
Between church, his job as a garbage man, and his new-found love of road cycling, Foote said, he is content.
“I’ve been clean and sober ever since that day,” he said. “I enjoy my life.”
Which isn’t to say Foote doesn’t have difficulties now that he’s found God. But now he has the support of his faith to help him through those hard times, he said.
“I don’t worry about the future, really. It’s just one day at a time.”
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