Today, Johnny Dyess is a football coach whose journey from Elba as a young man to Elba as a middle-aged man was a long and difficult one, fraught with many perils.
Johnny Dyess, nephew of Marlin “Scooter” Dyess, was a good athlete at Elba High School who walked on at the University of Alabama in the twilight of coach Paul Bryant’s career.
Unlike Uncle Marlin, who played on Bryant’s first Alabama team, Johnny wasn’t a star; he was a scout/special team’s guy who took his lumps mostly in practice throughout his career.
Johnny’s story is told in a just-released book, “New Set of Downs,” by Kyle Mooty, who takes readers from Johnny’s Little League days, through high school, college, the start of a business career that came crushing down, through rehab and into his reclaimed life.
Johnny’s collapse wasn’t sudden. His substance abuse began when he and some of his high school buddies drank a few sometime-cold beers on weekends.
The next phase saw the introduction of an ever-worsening level of recreational drug use, which Johnny only dabbled with in high school and college.
After Johnny returned to Elba from Tuscaloosa and got a good job, drugs really became an important part of his life.
Before he realized it, drugs became Johnny’s life.
He became an addict and fell to depths even he can’t believe; Mooty all but puts readers in Johnny’s shoes when he writes of the ease of slipping into the darkness of drug abuse, a threat even more severe today than when Johnny became an addict many years ago.
Mooty’s book reveals the heartaches and grief drug abuse brought to Johnny’s family, friends and even law enforcement and a judge.
“New Set of Downs” takes readers through every step of Johnny’s descent into the depths of the drug world, his arrival at the bottom, and his long battle to free himself from the clutches of meth that ruled his life.
Despite being about drug abuse, “New Set of Downs” is a positive book written by a top-notch writer about his friend, Johnny Dyess, and the struggles Johnny fought his way through and those he faces, as a recovering addict, daily.
The book is a must-read for anyone with family or friends suffering addiction problems, for those who need to recognize keys that reveal drug use, and those who need to learn steps to take for drug users looking for a way out, a way to reclaim control of their lives.
The book took Mooty more than three years to complete; he did his research, knew his subject well and put it on the page so it’s easy to read, despite the heartbreaks and sorrows.
Call it a case of all’s well that ends well, when he’s not at work as an assistant football coach at Elba High School today, Johnny frequently speaks to groups and individuals about addictions and the way to break loose from them,
As far as Mooty is concerned, it’s obvious from the start Kyle’s heart was in writing this book; it shows on every well-written page in every well-crafted chapter. There are also many pictures in “New Set of Downs.”
Kyle Mooty and Johnny Dyess will be appearing at the Elba Library, Wednesday, March 21, from 1-2 p.m., the Enterprise Library, Wednesday, April 4, from 2-4 p.m., as well as other locations.