YOU’LL FIND HIM less on the housetops and more in the office or out meeting customers in the field these days, but Lucas Garrett of T & L Roofing is content wherever you find him. Three years into recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol, Garrett is learning to share in the management of the business started by his grandfather, Robert Rogers, in 1971.
Robert Rogers saw a future free of bondage long before Garrett could see it himself. Turning the family business over to his daughter, Garrett’s mother, Theressa Cheeves, Rogers told her the business name should be T & L Roofing — Theressa and Lucas. Rogers, who passed away in 2016, would be smiling from ear to ear, happy to see Garrett working with his mother the way he always believed he would.
“He was a really great man, and I have big shoes to fill, following him and my mother,” Garrett said.
At a young age, Garrett struggled with personal insecurities and numbed those feelings with drugs and alcohol, a habit that gradually worsened.
He said, “I would spend money on drugs and alcohol instead of basic needs. I’d have no money in the bank right after I got paid because I would go out and spend my money on drugs instead of what I needed. I had taken drug and alcohol counseling before, and those results said I had a problem, but I said I didn’t.”
The cycle continued for about 10 years. Finally, charges and a violation of three counts of probation led Garrett to a crossroads. He could avoid jail time if he participated in Tennessee’s Recovery Courts program for non-violent individuals struggling with substance abuse. What seemed to be a way to escape time in jail became a road to recovery.
“When I joined the Recovery Court program, I was thinking, ‘I’ll get through this, and then I’ll be back using drugs,’” said Garrett. “But the people in the program having my back, the accountability of three drug tests a week, and learning the tools I can use not to do drugs made all the difference.”
The program initiated recovery; the initiation of restoration was up to Garrett.
His addiction impacted those closest to him, and recovery enabled Garrett to mend broken relationships. It’s not a once-and-done process but an ongoing opportunity to restore trust.
He said, “Trust is a really hard thing to gain back; it’s more of a time-will-tell type deal. People started to see me changing, and they and other people still in active addiction have asked me how I did it, and I’ve tried to influence them to the best of my ability. The trust factor is hard to gain back because people knew some of the stuff I’d done. All I could do was just show them this time. Give me time, and I can prove I am doing better.”
And he is.
Rediscovering who he was before addiction opened the world up to him again. Remembering his love of the outdoors and video gaming connected him to healthy coping mechanisms and gave him something to share with his family.
He said, “I have embedded that into my kids because they love being out in nature, walking trails, and exploring the outdoors. We enjoy a balance of being outside and inside playing video games.”
While he hates that his children saw him at his lowest, his wife and children continue to build him up and support him throughout his recovery. Their support has been priceless.
“It warms my heart and makes me feel good that they are proud of me for being clean, for me to actually be able to be there in sound body and mind,” Garrett said.
His mother’s love and support as they’ve worked together to bring him into the roofing company’s management plays a vital role in his ongoing recovery and restoration.
She said, “Dwayne and I love him because he is our son, and we’re very proud of him for his accomplishments. He has taken on more business responsibility and works as one of our estimators since he graduated from Recovery Court. He handles some of our jobs from start to finish, which would have been impossible before, and working with him daily is truly a godsend. There are days I teach him, and some days he teaches me.”
Taking one moment at a time, Garrett knows others are watching, and opportunities abound to learn and teach. To someone struggling with addiction or who has friends and family entangled in it, his goal is to encourage them and point them to recovery as more than a hope or a dream. He continues to participate in 12-step programs and self-help meetings.
“After attending these meetings, I feel God has a bigger plan for me. Whenever I talk to somebody, and they say that it helped them, made them feel better, or made them not want to use drugs — even for one day — it makes me feel good,” Garrett said. “The small victories should be celebrated just as much as the big victories because for a drug addict, not to use is abnormal.”
With the tools and resources gained from Tennessee’s Recovery Court program, he is taking life moment by moment, grateful for hope, healing, and restoration to his family, friends, and the community. GN