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Dave Canales' Remarkable Journey from Addiction to Panthers' Head Coach

Published January 30, 2024 By Addiction Helpline

Coaching newcomer for the Panthers, Dave Canales, divulged his contentious past marked by instances of cheating, a compulsion for pornography, and excessive drinking in a faith-based book that he jointly wrote with his wife. This occurred 16 months prior to clinching his first ever head-coaching role.

This Is Marriage Book

In "This Marriage? The Question That Changed Everything," a faith-inspired book, Canales and his spouse Lizzy candidly shared their journey of tackling his issues with addictions.

Today, at the age of 42, Canales assures us that he has bid goodbye to his life of alcoholism and porn addiction. Both he and Lizzy credit their strong Christian faith as the guiding light that salvaged their relationship and home.

“I was living a secret life,” Canales wrote, according to The Charlotte Observer.

“No matter how hard I tried by going to church, reading my Bible and praying … I always had a secret, dark place that was just mine.”

In September of 2022, when Canales was serving as a position coach for the Seattle Seahawks, he took a step forward to publish his book. The following year, in 2023, his career progression continued with his role as the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

According to the couple, the intention behind writing the book was to offer support and guidance to those couples who are navigating through the challenges of marriage.

“We wanted other people to feel safe starting this journey toward a vibrant marriage by helping them see they are not alone,” the couple wrote in the book’s preface.

They also wrote in the foreword, per The Charlotte Observer: “Welcome to our mess and the beautiful way that God has worked ALL THINGS together for us.”

Recalling and penning the excruciating facets of their past felt akin to undergoing an additional round of therapy for Dave Canales and his partner. However, this process allowed them to unearth an even deeper sense of solace and optimism by comprehending what truly transpired in a more robust manner.

The Panthers said they were aware of the book before hiring Canales last week.

Carolina Panthers

The team rep mentioned that Canales wouldn't make any statements until his welcome meeting in Charlotte this Thursday.

Canales wrote in the book about how he finally made some “dark confessions” about his infidelity to his wife.

“A huge part in the severed intimacy that I was experiencing with Lizzy was because I was addicted to pornography,” Canales wrote. “It was like a gateway drug for me, creating pathways in my brain that allowed me to use sex coldly for my own benefit. It was a secret, silent struggle that I had years before I was married.”

It's a well-known fact that he was unfaithful to Lizzy just a month prior to their wedding.

As per the report by The Charlotte Observer, Canales confessed to engaging in numerous extramarital relationships, with the first instance of infidelity occurring at his own bachelor party.

“From the start of our relationship, I was binge drinking and going out with friends, without Lizzy,” Canales wrote. “Before I was ever unfaithful to her, I was already there in my mind. Bad habits combined with addiction made it hard for me to resist temptation. It was a pattern I knew well before we started dating.”

Upon revealing his unfaithfulness to both his parents and parents-in-law, Canales was met with a stern response from his mother-in-law that echoed her longstanding doubts, as revealed by The Charlotte Observer, "There was always a part of you I doubted. I mentioned this to Lizzy, and my suspicions have now been confirmed."

“I never trusted you fully. I’ve told Lizzy that, and now I know why.”

According to The Charlotte Observer, Lizzy confronted Canales about whether he had indulged in unprotected sex during his extramarital affairs, to which he confessed. The pair subsequently underwent testing, the results of which were negative.

Presenting himself as a "rehabilitating egocentric", Canales opened up about his gradual progress towards expanding his awareness beyond his personal desires and requirements.

Regarding his battle with alcohol addiction, Canales shared, “I have chosen to completely abstain from alcohol, mindful of my lack of restraint in this aspect and its subsequent dulling effect which often leads me to make unwise decisions.”

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