When I Hit Rock Bottom

I realized the stupidity of thinking I could ever get away with something so dumb.

Group Photo

I sit for an hour, trembling, thinking, What have I done? For some time, my life had been spiraling wildly out of control, plunging downward. Now I’d hit the absolute bottom. How did I get here?

It’s Monday and the phone is ringing. I pick it up. It’s Mom. She sounds incredibly tense.

“Hi, Mom! What’s going on?”

Her voice is ice-cold. Mom has her own brand of ice-cold. “Robby, we know. We know what you did.”

“What I did? What are you—”

Suddenly it hits home, like a knife slicing into my heart. The absolute worst possible thing I can imagine. Of course, they know. I dreaded this day would come. I wait, speechless for once.

“Fifteen thousand dollars, Robby. Fifteen thousand. How could you do this to us? We would have given you anything in the world, and you stole from us? Your father is so furious he—”

“Look, Mom, calm down. You don’t understand. It’s just...”

And that’s all I’ve got. All out of words. How am I supposed to explain why I’ve run up thousands of dollars on their credit card—why I need money so desperately?

Back when I was working for him, Dad trusted me with his business credit card. I memorized the number. One day, a few months back, I needed something, and was flat broke, and thought about that card. Just this once. Dad wouldn’t mind. I’d pay him back.

But of course, I didn’t. Drug addiction doesn’t work like that. You don’t just make rational decisions, and you can’t be concerned with the livelihood even of those you love when you’re so concerned about yourself. 

But couldn’t I have made back the money by just selling? I was all-in as a drug dealer at this point. Problem was, it was just a little too easy to give in to temptation and snort my own stash instead of selling it, knowing I could quickly convert that card to cash on the buy-and-pawn plan. Dad wouldn’t notice, or so I told myself. He spent thousands of dollars each month, purchasing auto body parts for his business. He’ll never notice the periodic charges on his statement. He never checks his statements closely.

I got so used to abusing that card that one night when I saw a Fender Stratocaster online, I decided it was meant for me. All the great guitarists—Hendrix, Clapton, all of ’em—played Strats. I placed an order, throwing in a single stack Peavey amp. Then, a while later, the phone rang at Bob’s Collision Center, my dad’s shop. Somebody from the online store wanted Robert to know that his $600 guitar was on backorder.

Was there some mistake? My dad was more than certain he hadn’t ordered some expensive guitar.

Well, they said, your card was used for the transaction.

Mom and Dad began to study the last few credit card bills, and I was busted. It was like waking up from a bad dream into a full-fledged nightmare because I realized the stupidity of thinking I could ever get away with something so dumb. I also realized, in the pit of my stomach, the terrible toll this would take on my parents’ trust.

Mom says, quietly but firmly, “Don’t ever come to our house again. We don’t want to see you.”

I spit out my reply in anger. “Well, I don’t need either of you.” 

And we both hang up. I sit for an hour, trembling, thinking, What have I done?

For some time, my life had been spiraling wildly out of control, plunging downward. Now I’d hit the absolute bottom.

How did I get here?

For the rest of the story, pick up Robby Gallaty’s book Recovered: How an Accident, Alcohol, and Addiction Led Me to God.

Robby Gallaty is the Senior Pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN. He was radically saved out of a life of drug addiction on November 12, 2002. In 2008, he began Replicate Ministries to equip and train men and women to be disciples who make disciples. He is also the author of Growing Up (2013), Firmly Planted (2015), Rediscovering Discipleship (2015), MARCS of a Disciple (2016), The Forgotten Jesus (2017), Preaching for the Rest of Us (2018), and Here and Now (2019).

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 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.