The cellphone rang, and nation music legend Larry Gatlin rapidly answered. It was his daughter Kristen, who coincidentally had simply picked up a replica of Matthew McConaughey’s critically acclaimed memoir, Greenlights.
And from the mere sound of her voice, Gatlin knew one thing was up.
“She stated to me, ‘Dad, you might be in Matthew McConaughey’s guide … I know that is you,'” Gatlin, 72, tells PEOPLE in an unique interview.
And she was proper.
Because in the Part Five: Turn the Page portion of the 2020 memoir, there is a narrative from McConaughey’s meticulously saved journals of a person merely known as “Larry,” a person who discovered himself years in the past in the wrestle of his life with dependancy, a person who discovered himself with few locations left to show, a person desperately searching for assist.
And that man occurred to be the legendary Larry Gatlin.
“I keep in mind the day, it was October one thing of 1999,” Gatlin remembers of the second that occurred in the midst of his success as a member of the legendary nation group Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers. “[University of Texas Football] Coach [Darrell] Royal and I had been speaking. We had hit it off instantly. For me, he was a type of folks that you simply meet, and also you immediately do not have to elucidate something to one another. We had been at this Pro-Am social gathering at this golf event, and Coach Royal caught me with white powder on my nostril.”
Courtesy Larry Gatlin Larry Gatlin
As the guide particulars, Gatlin instantly expressed his doubt to Royal that he may ever get his cocaine dependancy underneath management, and commenced to spout off an extended checklist of excuses that addicts typically discover consolation in. But then Royal, who died in 2012 following a battle with Alzheimer’s illness, stopped Gatlin in his tracks.
“He advised me, ‘Larry Wayne, I’ve by no means had any hassle turning the web page in the guide of my life,'” Gatlin remembers of the second, superbly recalled in the guide that the singer/songwriter ended up listening to by way of audiobook. “He stated to me, ‘It’s time you turned the web page.'”
And Gatlin went and did simply that. Soon after that life-altering dialog, Royal took Gatlin straight to remedy at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in California.
“Coach Royal didn’t ship me to remedy … he took me to remedy,” Gatlin remembers. “Darrell knew what I used to be doing. He was one among the smartest and wisest males. And his spouse? They each actually did save my life. I give it some thought every single day. Hopefully, I’ll be there to assist any person someday like they did for me. I’d be lengthy useless if it hadn’t been for them.”
Indeed, Gatlin, has gone on to get pleasure from the previous 37 years dwelling a sober and profitable life, full of a number of moments in which he has discovered himself telling his dependancy story to all who would hear. But by no means did he envision the story making it into McConaughey’s guide.
“I’m so very grateful to Matthew,” Gatlin says of the 51-year-old Oscar-winning actor. “You by no means know when what we learn goes to alter our lives. I used to be in a position to kick my addictions because of my spouse and my household and my God and an unimaginable program of restoration. But now, I really imagine there can be folks that can learn Greenlights and they’re going to thank McConaughey for placing my story in there.”
Jason Davis/Getty Larry Gatlin
And whereas the guide was launched again in October of 2020, Gatlin lately made the determination to share with PEOPLE an unique video in which he reveals to the world that he’s actually the ‘Larry’ in McConaughey’s guide as a part of the #GreenlightsProblem, a social media motion in which individuals put up movies of themselves narrating parts of the guide whereas impersonating McConaughey’s iconic type of studying.
“I used to be on a Zoom with him final month and I used to be like, ‘Put my identify in the rattling guide,'” Gatlin laughs of the current dialog he had with the completed actor. “That made him snicker. And we went on to reminisce discuss Coach Royal and the way a lot we missed him and the way a lot he had an impact on our lives. And in phrases of Matthew, I imply, that man goes to shake the world up. I feel this guide shouldn’t be solely going to assist folks get in contact with Matthew, but additionally get in contact with themselves about being sincere.”
He pauses for a second.
“We all screw up, for God’s sake,” says Gatlin, who made a triumphant return to touring earlier this month alongside his musical brothers taking part in their lengthy checklist of hits together with “All the Gold in California,” “Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer to You)” and “Broken Lady.” “We all have secrets and techniques. The neatest thing is to get them out in the open and be the one to inform them, so nobody can level a finger and name you a liar.”
Today, along with his days of dependancy far behind him, Gatlin recollects the legendary speech from baseball nice Lou Gehrig, and says that he looks like the luckiest particular person on earth in so some ways.
“Lord is aware of that I’ve accomplished some issues I want I hadn’t accomplished,” concludes Gatlin, who was identified with COVID-19 in early March. “But it introduced me to proper right here, proper now, sitting on this again porch on this swing watching my spouse [Janis] thrust back the bees from her honeysuckle crops. Life is so excellent. And fairly frankly, I’m proud to know Matthew and I’m grateful for him. But yeah, put my identify in the guide son!”