For the rest of the story, pick up Robby Gallaty’s latest book Recovered: How An Accident, Alcohol, and Addiction Led Me To God, available at LifeWay.com or anywhere books are sold. Excerpted with permission. Copyright 2019, B&H Publishing.

Saturday night. Bourbon Street. Dinner at Galatoire’s.

If you’ve ever hung out in the legendary French Quarter of New Orleans, you may have heard of our favorite restaurant. The best French-Cajun cooking in the city.

It’s February of 2001. I’m enjoying my usual: lamb chops with peas, potatoes, and onions. That’s my favorite. I eat everything but the silver-rimmed pattern on the plate. Mom, Dad, and Lori are talking about the movie we’re about to see. Seeing as many movies as we have, you tend to become an amateur critic.

Dinner and a movie has been our family’s go-to weekend outing since I was a kid—I’m now twenty-four. We rotate between Galatoire’s downtown, or maybe at Tony Angelo’s, if we’re in the mood for Italian. Or Ralph and Kacoo’s for traditional Cajun seafood. Seafood (any style) is always okay with me—breakfast, lunch, or dinner. My favorite is crawfish and crab omelets. But if Dad gets to choose, it’s going to be Galatoire’s, because they make him feel like a million bucks.

My dad is a solid working-class guy. He runs a body shop nearby in Chalmette. He fixes up cars, puts in long hours, and enjoys being pampered by waiters who know his name. He’s never been into hunting or fishing, and he doesn’t play golf. His hobbies are family, blockbuster movies, and a fantastic meal.

We’re about to see Cast Away with Tom Hanks. Everyone’s excited, except Mom. As usual, she’s not all that excited. The dinner/movie thing isn’t really her scene, but she’s here for Dad.

My mom grew up with a tough family situation, and she’s content just to stay home, cook in her own kitchen, and have her husband and two children near her.

Dad’s on his second and probably final margarita of the evening—a drink with dinner is ingrained in New Orleans culture, but he never overdoes it. No way Mom would allow that. Dad is grinning over my anticipation. “They say Tom Hanks’ co-star is a volleyball? Really?” I’m asking.

Lori says, “That’s what my friend says. She cried when he lost the volleyball.” That draws a snort from Dad. He’s laughing, covering his mouth to keep from spitting out his salad right there on the table.

“I saw that!” I say. “One point.”

Over the years, mostly when I was in high school, we’ve had a little family game: Wait until your opponents are chewing, then make them laugh. You get one point if any food had to be spit out, two points for any liquid out the nose. Lori is giggling. Mom is rolling her eyes.

“Please,” Mom says. “You’re a grown man, Robby. And I still can’t take you anywhere.”

That makes it even harder for Dad, whose face is turning red now as he tries to swallow that bite. Nothing makes you laugh like being told not to laugh. That’s why you should never take too big a bite around my family.

By the way, if he chokes, theoretically, that’s three points. As yet, nobody has ever choked. Just saying.

“So what do you plan to do with your life, Robby?” asks my mother, attempting to corral the scene into some semblance of adult conversation. “Will you try to take the test again?”

“I don’t think so, Mom. I’m really kind of into—”

“Not bartending again, I hope. You can’t make a career out of that.”

“Sure I can, Mom.”

At this point, I’m into the Rave party scene. I’ve tried a shot as a techno DJ and loved every second. When I’m into something, it’s ninety to nothing. If the water looks good, I don’t dip a toe. I dive in headfirst. At this point in my life—at pretty much pretty much every point in my life—I crave stimulation, and the crazy sensory overload of nightclubs gives me that. I’m the center of attention.

As for the test, well, a few months back, I began a training course to become a Stockbroker, urged on by my parents. I never was convinced this was my thing, but by all accounts, I showed a lot of promise. I wore a coat and tie, came in every day, and had a slick trainer. I was preparing for what they call a Series 7 test. Supposedly nobody has ever failed a Series 7 after this particular trainer prepped them.

Mom and Dad were pretty pumped. The day of the test, they moved me into a shotgun double apartment, complete with a full set of furniture they bought for me and brought in. My parents are the best. They had a cake, congratulations banners, and were bursting with pride for their wonderful new stockbroker of a son—who had to come in and break it to them he’d failed that test.

I got a 68 out of 100, two points short of passing. Of course, Mom and Dad were crushed, but they still had high hopes—I had to grow up sometime, right? For them, that means a coat-and-tie fast-track job when the sun is out, instead of working in loud clubs until three in the morning.

My parents have specific hopes for me, but they’d do anything for us, for Lori and me. And we’d do anything for them.

The problem is, I’ve blown the test, and I don’t plan to tell them why. I had it nailed until that last section, and then, well, I blew it. Crashed in flames. What happened there? The guys giving the test just couldn’t figure it out. I knew, but nobody else was going to.


Mom and Dad pick up the bill at Galatoire’s, as usual. That’s another thing about these family nights—it’s always on Mom and Dad. As a teenager, I actually brought dates on these evenings with my parents, because it meant a movie, terrific food, and unsurpassed entertainment watching my family interact. My dates always adored my parents—everybody did.

We drive home together, to the home where I grew up, and then I say goodnight. Hugs all around. “I love you, Mom. Love you, Dad. You too, Lori.” I watch them in the rear view mirror as I drive away, and I realize I’m shifting into my alternate mode—there’s Family Robby, and then there’s Street Robby.

It’s now 10:00 pm. I park about a block from my favorite hot spot, the Metropolitan, my club of choice. I make sure my stash is firmly in my right pocket. The left is for money. Before I climb out of the car, I crush and snort a couple OxyContin 40s. By the time I wipe the evidence clean from the case, the buzz kicks in. I’m ready for the night to begin.

This, of course, is what ruined the final portion of my stockbroker test. But for street Robby, it’s a way of life.

I walk into the club with pounding subwoofers greeting my ears. Strobe lights flash quick images of familiar faces as I walk across the room.

“What’s up, Robby?”

“Hey man!”

“You’re lookin’ good, brother!”

The regulars all know me. Fist-bumps and handshakes are extended as I make my way toward the bar. I’m fully aware this is a shadow family, the flip side of my real one. Unlike my true and permanent family, the faces here come and go; relationships don’t go very deep. But it’s still my world.

As a functioning addict, I’m able to hang out with my parents, and they never suspect a thing. I’m in full control. But in the clubs, there’s nothing to hide. I can give in to my impulses, and nobody’s going to judge me. Most are joining in with me.

“Robby!”

It’s Ron, one of my acquaintances who buys drugs from me. His eyes gesture toward a door to a back room, and I follow him there. I yell into his ear, though with the music pounding, it sounds like a whisper.

“How many tonight?” I ask, reaching for my pocket.

He wants a ten Oxys, twenty Ecstasy pills, and a few Somas. He’ll turn it around in the club for a profit, which will support his habit for a few days. Unless he gives in and uses his stash before he can sell it. Which happens to him—and sadly, to me, if I don’t sell it quick. Then the money’s gone, and I owe more than I can sell.

I can tell something’s on Ron’s mind. He looks me in the eye and says, “Did you hear about G?” I shake my head, but I know what’s coming. It occurs to me I haven’t seen G around for a week or so.

“Gone. Overdose. His roommate found him.”

I take a deep breath and close my eyes for a moment. I don’t have to be told the cause of death. I can’t think of anything to say. What could be said? No words are right.

Ron breaks the silence. “We’ve got to get out of this, man. This whole thing.”

“Yeah, I know. We’ll do it. Been thinking about that myself. There has to be more to life than this.”

“Yeah. Let’s get together and talk soon.”

“For real. This week.”

We fist-bump and part ways, both knowing we’re not ‘getting out of this.’ There is no escape hatch. Well, actually, there is one—G found it.

Recovered: How an Accident, Alcohol, and Addiction Led Me to God

Recovered: How an Accident, Alcohol, and Addiction Led Me to God

$16.99
Authors: ,
Publisher: B&H Books
Publication Year: 2019
ASIN: 1535909838
ISBN: 1535909838

Robby Gallaty is not who you think he is.

In Recovered, pastor and author Robby Gallaty tells the story of how God radically saved him from his addictions and called him into a life of discipleship.

Robby grew up in a very religious Catholic family who attended church every Sunday and confession on Saturday if needed. Very rarely did he miss a Saturday night dinner and a movie with his parents and sister Lori. You can imagine how devastated they were when Robby stole $15,000 from them to fuel his drug addiction. Two years earlier, he was rear-ended on his way home from work by an 18-wheeler. Two herniated discs in his neck and back forced him to rely on pharmaceutical drugs to cope with the pain. Within three months, he transitioned to street drugs, heroine, and cocaine, after blowing through his thirty-day prescription in two weeks. Robbing his parents was the only option to prolong his drug habit.

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About the Book

Robby Gallaty is not who you think he is.

In Recovered, pastor and author Robby Gallaty tells the story of how God radically saved him from his addictions and called him into a life of discipleship.

Robby grew up in a very religious Catholic family who attended church every Sunday and confession on Saturday if needed. Very rarely did he miss a Saturday night dinner and a movie with his parents and sister Lori. You can imagine how devastated they were when Robby stole $15,000 from them to fuel his drug addiction. Two years earlier, he was rear-ended on his way home from work by an 18-wheeler. Two herniated discs in his neck and back forced him to rely on pharmaceutical drugs to cope with the pain. Within three months, he transitioned to street drugs, heroine, and cocaine, after blowing through his thirty-day prescription in two weeks. Robbing his parents was the only option to prolong his drug habit.

Shortly thereafter, Robby hit rock bottom. But God wasn’t done with him. After a trip to rehab followed by a relapse and a second rehab visit, Robby surrendered his life to Christ, and nothing has ever been the same. This story—a story of salvation and new life—is for any reader who:

  • wonders if God is done with them
  • has messed up time and time again
  • is battling drug or alcohol addiction or other destructive behaviors
  • has a loved one in the throes of addiction
  • needs to be reminded of the miraculous salvation found in the gospel

 

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