Lawrenceville man’s embarrassing viral moment leads to sobriety

David Hobbs now helps others find their way to recovery.
David Hobbs, nearly five years sober, attributes an embarrassing incident that went viral for saving his life. (Photo courtesy of David Hobbs)

Credit: Courtesy of David Hobbs

Credit: Courtesy of David Hobbs

David Hobbs, nearly five years sober, attributes an embarrassing incident that went viral for saving his life. (Photo courtesy of David Hobbs)

When a photo of David Hobbs arrested in a Captain America costume went viral, it could have been the most embarrassing moment of his life, but Hobbs says that was the moment his life was saved. The night of the incident, Sept. 11, 2019, is the last time Hobbs used drugs and now, nearly five years sober, he uses his testimony to save others.

Hobbs, 41, grew up in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His father was an alcoholic and Hobbs was an addict by age 15.

“I smoked weed at 13, then came the drinking, then, when I was 16 a doctor prescribed pain medication after I got hurt in a skateboarding accident,” said Hobbs, of Lawrenceville. “I learned quickly if you mix Lortab with alcohol, all your insecurities disappear.”

Hobbs tried cocaine at age 18 and had a couple bad car accidents that led to more pain medication prescriptions. Next came methamphetamines.

“I’d stop using meth here and there for maybe six months or a year, but I could never quit the narcotics,” said Hobbs. “I took 18 to 36 every day. There may be a time when I went a day or two without them, but only if I couldn’t get it. If I had $20 in my pocket, I’d buy narcotics.”

Hobbs was unable to keep a job. He and his father started two successful tree removal businesses and ran both into the ground. The second time ended catastrophically. While under the influence, Hobbs operated the truck incorrectly and ruined it, rendering them unable to work. He quickly ran out of money and was homeless for 30 days, sleeping in a tent alongside the highway.

“Addiction truly takes everything away from you,” said Hobbs.

On the day of infamy in 2019, Hobbs woke at 3 a.m., wondering why his girlfriend was not yet home from a babysitting job. He debated going back to sleep, but instead took an assortment of narcotics and methamphetamines and decided he’d go look for her. As he headed out of the house, which belonged to his girlfriend’s brother, Hobbs found a box, looked inside, and discovered a Captain America costume. He also found a Santa Claus costume. He put on Captain America and told his girlfriend’s brother to dress up as Santa Claus and join him for the walk.

Hobbs paced in the driveway, waiting for his partner in crime for 45 minutes. He never appeared, but something more surprising than Santa came into focus. Standing in the middle of the road was a man with a shotgun.

“I walked up to him to see what was wrong,” said Hobbs. “By the time I was within five feet of him, he drew the gun on me. I put my hands in the air and suddenly remembered I was in the costume.”

The gun-wielding man accused Hobbs of attempting to break into his shed. He ordered him to get on the ground and hollered at his wife to call 911.

The police officers got a laugh at the Captain America get-up. Hobbs had no idea one officer took a photo and posted it to his personal Facebook page, not until the next day when his picture was on local and network news stations, and even ESPN.

“The inmates had been calling me ‘captain’ and I was confused till I saw that photo on TV,” said Hobbs. “Later on, so many people asked why I didn’t sue the police department, but how could I be mad after what came from it?”

An old friend from his hometown, Trey Lewis, happened to see Hobbs on the news. Lewis is the owner and founder of Good Landing Recovery, a faith-based treatment center located in Dacula. He not only recognized Hobbs but wanted to help him.

“He reached out and offered me a spot at Good Landing,” said Hobbs. “When I met the judge to discuss my next step, I asked him to let me go to treatment. He allowed me to go straight to Good Landing, two-and-a-half states over. Trey would’ve never found me if not for that whole ordeal. That was a God moment.”

In his mind, Hobbs said he’d give rehab 15 days, then head back to Mississippi. However, when he reached 15 days, his plan rerouted.

“I started to think there might be something to this sobriety thing,” said Hobbs. “I thought I’d give it another 30 days, then I hit the 45-day mark to find the grass was greener, and life felt like pink clouds, everything awesome and brand new.”

Hobbs completed a 90-day program at Good Landing. He skipped holidays at home, even when he had the freedom to go, because he wanted to protect his sobriety. He missed his family, his mother and grandmother most of all, but he decided to make Georgia his home, knowing the ghosts of his past could haunt him back in Mississippi.

After graduating from Good Landing, Hobbs was hired as a staff member and now helps others find their way to sobriety.

With his life on track, Hobbs plans to continue his career in recovery. He also hopes to buy a home, get married and have children. He is proud of his growth and especially grateful that his grandmother saw him turn his life around before she died.

“I was always Grandma’s boy,” said Hobbs. “She saw me transition from a nice, well-mannered young man into someone who didn’t love others or care about anything. It broke her heart and she tried so hard to help me.

“A tear ran down her face when she saw that the well-mannered boy she loved so much is now a man of character and good morals. She got to see that I have become a man of God. That was the proudest moment of my life.”