Stories of Addiction: Rob Horton


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Rob Horton is no stranger to the pages of South.

You may recognize him from his previous advertisements in the magazine, big colorful spreads featuring the hairdresser lounging seductively in bed flanked by half-naked models. “Sleep in,” their eyes say. “Why get up early when you can just get a blowout?”

“Those are crazy to look back on,” Horton laughs. He gestures upward. “When you’re drinking and doing as much coke as I was, everything up here seems like reality. I thought I was so amazing. I just didn’t understand how I was this huge rockstar and yet they’re backing all my shit out of the driveway at 11 p.m. and I’m selling my Rolex on Craigslist to keep the power on.”

Horton describes himself as a “little guy” who started drinking in his teens to feel bigger. It was a good supplement for his high school persona, but whereas casual drinkers find relaxation at the bottom of a glass or two, Horton got anxious, always seeking the next level of effect. Sometimes it was four drinks. Sometimes eight. There were a few brushes with the police, all minor, all alcohol-related. One of Horton’s first weekends in Savannah—he was dating a SCAD student at the time—came after he’d been charged with a DUI back home. The law was a bit slower in catching up with out-of-state license suspensions in those days, but Horton still reflects on how alcoholism had gained a foothold in his life.

"I was very much a chameleon. I just wanted to be liked and I was scared not to be."

“In retrospect, drinking was affecting my judgment and all of my relationships. I tried to go to college three different times, but it was always a mess,” he explains. “Addicts tend to think of things geographically, like if you move somewhere else, it will be better. Then six months later, you realize that the same problem came with you.”

After a stint in London studying under Vidal Sassoon, Horton opened his first salon in Savannah, a one-of-a-kind, boutique-style outfit located on Liberty Street. A second property downtown (along with a failed marriage) soon followed, and by 30, Horton was compounding his alcohol abuse with cocaine, attempting to combat the exhaustion of a thousand “Groundhog Days” of drunken dinners, late night parties and hungover work shifts—the days he even bothered to show up, anyways. Unsurprisingly, that too failed, and Horton’s professed “empire” began to crumble. Suddenly, the man who had spent his entire life worrying what everyone else thought of him realized that he didn’t even know who he was.

“I was very much a chameleon. I just wanted to be liked and I was scared not to be,” Horton says. “I’ll never forget the day that my brother invited me to go to a meeting with him. I was like, ‘Well, what if everyone thinks that I’m an alcoholic?’ And another neighbor who was in recovery said, ‘Rob, do you know anyone who doesn't think that?’ That’s when it dawned on me.”

In that first meeting, Horton says, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Here was a group of same-minded people, who, like him, were highly creative, motivated, and successful. Somewhere along the line, they’d simply fallen off track. Horton entered the recovery process at full force, relying on the steadfast support of his fellowship group until he learned how to support himself. It’s a gift he’s repaid tenfold in nine years of sober living; Horton is not only an open book to the clients in his chair, but he’s also extensively trained and certified as an interventionist. That same void he’d once tried to foolishly fill with material possessions has been sated through helping other addicts find their self-esteem. The thrills he seeks now are slightly more tame—Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Half Ironman marathons, eating clean, and raising two kids—but Horton says it’s those kind of consistencies that keep him grounded.

“All that rockstar, egomaniac [explicit] I had before, when I got into recovery, I realized just how unimportant I am—but in an okay way,” he muses. “The world doesn't revolve around me, I don’t have to be greater than or less than anybody else. I can just be here, and that was one of the biggest reliefs. And honestly, thank God I lost most everything. Imagine your whole persona being tied to these things, not what you do or who you are. Just things. I had to be stripped of all that stuff to find out who I really was. It wouldn't have been possible any other way.”

 

To read more about Addiction, subscribe now or pick up the August/September issue of South magazine. 

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Events Calendar

  • Charleston Cars & Coffee

    Jun 17, 2017
    7:30 AM - 10:00 AM @ Mount Pleasant Towne Centre

    7:30am - 10:00am  FREE ADMISSION  Mount Pleasant Towne Centre,1712 Towne Centre Way,Mt Pleasant, SC 29464,USA A bunch of car and...

  • Charleston Farmers Market

    Jun 17, 2017
    8:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Marion Square

    8:00am - 2:00pm  FREE ADMISSION  Marion Square,329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403,USA Join us every Saturday in beautiful Marion...

  • Amelia Adventures’ Endless Summer Daily Kayak Tours

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  • Kayaking and Canoeing at Hanna Park

    Jun 14, 2017
    10:00 AM @ Hanna Park

    10 am Kayaking and Canoeing at Hanna Park Wed, thurs, fri, sat, sun  Wed-Thu 10-6pm, Fri-Sat 10-8pm, Sun 10-6pm $5 park admission, $20 hr...

  • Gayle Miller’s Women Together, Feminine Expressions in Watercolor featured at Art League Gallery

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    10:00 AM - 4:00 PM @ Art League of Hilton Head Gallery

    Exhibition Dates: August 1 - 26, 2017 from 10 am - 4 pm and 90 minutes before all Arts Center performances.   Opening Reception: Wednesday,...

  • Jazz Brunch

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    11:30 AM - 2:00 PM @ The Westin

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  • Chocolate Bar Your Way Class

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    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Sweet Pete's Candy

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    Aug 23, 2017
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM @ Glynn Visual Arts

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  • ALJ Monday Night Ceramics

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  • ALJ Cartooning and Illustration Classes @ Balis Community center

    Jun 14, 2017
    6:30 PM - 8:30 PM @ Balls Community Center

    Cartooning Illustration Class with William McMahan Wednesdays 6:30pm-8:30pm and/or Saturdays Noon-2:30pm • Ages 12 - Adult • All...

  • HarbourFest (Every Monday - Friday)

    Jun 12, 2017
    6:30 PM @ Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina

    Two shows at 6:30 and 8:00pm Fireworks- Tuesdays, June 13, 20 & 27 Tuesdays, July 4, 11, 18 & 25 Tuesdays, August 1, 8 & 15...

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    Jun 15, 2017
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Carolina Queen River Boat

    7:00pm-9:00pm Admission- $44.95 for adults/ $25 for children 4-11 Carolina Queen Riverboat,17 Lockwood Boulevard,Charleston, SC 29401,USA...

  • Free Movie Night on Folly Beach ( repeats every Wednesday until August 23rd)

    Jun 14, 2017
    7:30 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tides Folly Beach

    7:30-9:00pm Tides Folly Beach,1 Center St,Folly Beach, SC 29439,USA COST: Free From May 31st through August 23rd, Tides will play movies...

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  • BevCon Charleston

    Aug 20, 2017
    All Day @ Various Locations

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    All Day @ Jepson Center

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  • "I'm Trying To Tell You" Artist Talk and Reception

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  • Generation Exhibition Opens

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    All Day @ Jepson Center

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Scenes of the South

Leopold's 98th Anniversary Celebration

Hundreds of Savannah visitors, neighbors and long-time residents attended the 98th Birthday Celebration of famous, Leopold's Ice Cream Shop, closing down the block in front of the Broughton Street location for the afternoon. Attendees devoured the delicious ninety-eight cent scoops of the delicious ice cream while enjoying live music and performances throughout the event.

South Magazine's Power Party 2017

Attendees at the South Magazine Power Professionals Party 2017 arrived to the red carpet at the Hyatt Hotel in Downtown Savannah on August 3rd to strike their best pose before enjoying an interactive evening of networking and music by Danielle Hicks and the Resistance. Delicious food was provided by the Hyatt's new resturant, Moss & Oak Savannah Eatery! Before leaving, guests had the opportunity to take their photos with our amazing Scenes photographers and pick up the latest August/September issue of South magazine.

South Night at Savannah Bananas

South Magazine welcomed clients and friends to join them on the VIP deck where visitors could pick up a copy of the magazine and meet the staff at Thursday's Savannah Bananas game against the Redwolves. It was another sold out game at Grayson Stadium on their Budweiser Thirsty Thursday. Visit the Savannah Bananas online to see their remaining schedule for this year's season!

Love the Wine You're With July

South Magazine and 39 Rue de Jean Savannah host an evening of Power Networking and Fundraising on the third Wednesday of each month to raise awareness and funds for non-profit organizations. Free to attend, guests enjoyed $7 glasses of select regional wine and delicious passed appetizer's while networking and raising funds to benefit the featured charity of the month. Each month, a different local charity will offer a silent auction, raffle or fun game to help raise awareness and money. In addition, 39 Rue De Jean will donate $1 from each glass of select wine purchased during the event to benefit the non-profit.

Prohibition Museum Grand Opening

In December of 2015, a summit of Historic Tours of America management met together to discuss the potentiality of something new, something original for not only the city of Savannah, but for the nation as a whole- a museum dedicated to the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. The American Prohibition Museum is the first of its kind in the country and takes guests back into the 1900s as anti-alcohol rallies swept the U.S. and the booze problem was pushed into the forefront of American politics. Through immersive displays and state-of-the-art exhibits, guests learn how Prohibition and Temperance shaped thinking and culture for more than two hundred years of American history.

4th of July River St. Celebration 2017

Hundreds of residents and tourists came to celebrate American patriotism at the 2017 River Street Fourth of July Celebration. enjoying live music from 8-10pm with local favorites the Hynotocs on the WSAV Military Stage. Families were able to bring their children to the kids zone while waiting on the fireworks display! The Savannah Waterfront Association was excited to help WSAV celebrate their 60th Anniversary during the event and teamed up to host a military VIP seating area for viewing fireworks! VIP seating will be limited to first come first serve and a VIP pass must be presented to enter. VIP passes will be given away on air with Alpha Media and a limited number will be available the day of at the WSAV tent. Chairs, blankets, are welcome and make sure to get there early to grab a spot along the riverfront.

Grand Opening of Ghost Coast Distillery

Ghost Coast Distillery embraces Savannah's spirited and storied history - one of indulgence, light-hearted mischief, and jubilation. They honored The Spirit of Savannah by opening Ghost Coast Distillery, Savannah’s first distillery since just before the era of prohibition. Beginning in 2017, Ghost Coast Distillery will be open for tours and tastings at its home in vibrant Downtown Savannah. Come see how they make some of the South’s finest craft spirits, while learning about the history of spirits and revelry in our fine city.

Grand Opening of Edgar's Proof and Provision

In a town renowned for its spirited libations and tall tales, Edgar’s Proof & Provision offers lush libations and chef-inspired small plates on East Liberty St. in Savannah. With year-round front porch seating, Edgar’s P&P delivers southern hospitality at its best! Savannah's newest restaurant, Edgar's Proof and Provision, had its grand opening on Thursday June 22nd inside the Hilton DeSoto hotel on Liberty St. Edgar's Proof and Provision will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. It's open from 6:30 a.m. until midnight with a perfect view of the historic district, spread out over three levels. "The service is always smiling and fun and friendly and everybody's saying how locally centered that we are here in Savannah, that we are here for the locals and we want everybody to come back and have a good time," says host Kolin Podell. Residents are encouraged to check out Proof and Provision soon because another new restaurant is in the works!

Horizons Savannah’s Summer Sizzler 5K

The Horizons Savannah’s Summer Sizzler 5K took place on June 24, 2017 at the J.C. Cannon Fields on Wilmington Island where dedicated runner came out to support Savannah's kids! Guests enjoyed a summer race and cool down with watermelon and summer fun, and 5K participants received a special gift. This race was organized in order to benefit Horizons Savannah, a transformative experience for youth in Kindergarten through the 8th grade focused on helping low income students close the achievement gap through academic support and confidence building. This 6 week summer program helps struggling students gain the academic skills and confidence needed to stay on track in school. Horizons Savannah serves over 200 students annually on three campuses: Savannah Country Day School, St. Andrew’s School and Bethesda Academy.

June Andaz Salon featuring Tiffani Taylor

Andaz Savannah's monthly salons are events that deliver cultural experiences for guests and neighbors, encouraging creative inspiration through evocative content and spirited discussions with local influencers. Each Salon event is designed to imaginatively impassion guests through a new experience, and to connect them with like-minded individuals, ultimately sparking creativity. The events reflect the passion and vibe of the local community while connecting travelers with kindred spirits and artistic minds. June's salon featured local artist Tiffani Taylor, an American painter who resides in Savannah, Georgia and Paris, France. She is best known for her rich, textured paintings and original pottery.