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    Graham Dessert Story: From Alcoholic to Fastest Growing Business

    Graham Dessert (pronounced “desert”) is one of the most successful roofers in our industry.

    His business, Roofing 101, has offices in many states around the country.

    But like many successful entrepreneurs, Dessert wasn’t always on top of his game.

    It took a lot of internal strife and dealing with family issues before he could finally make the jump and work past his personal demons.

    For Dessert, his biggest roadblock was alcohol, and to understand more of what he was going through, Dessert mentioned that it wasn’t until he moved his family from Kansas to San Diego that he began to see a change.

    “Why did you move your family to San Diego?”

    I ask during our recent interview from the comforts of an office space in Salt Lake City.

    “It was time for a change,”

    says Dessert.

    “When my wife and I first got married, we knew we weren’t going to live in the Midwest forever.”

    Dessert explains that it got to the point that they had to leave, otherwise they felt like it may never happen. Still, leaving wasn’t easy because back in Kansas his family had everything they needed. They were close to family, and for a workout fanatic like Dessert, he liked that he was close to the gym.

    “We loved the gym and the culture we were around, but we felt too comfortable and I knew there was more out there,”

    Dessert says.

    “And quite frankly, I had an alcohol issue.”

    Dessert assures me that he has no problem talking about the vices that used to plague him. If anything, he hopes his past struggles can empower others to overcome their own internal conflicts.

    “This is how bad it was,”

    Dessert says.

    “I would go to the gym and work out. Immediately after leaving the gym, I would drive to the liquor store and get a little bottle of Jack or Jim Beam, and then I would go to the gas station. I’d get a 32-ounce Styrofoam cup of soda, drive home, and as soon as I pulled into my neighborhood, I would pour that bottle into the Styrofoam cup. As soon as I parked my truck, I started downing the drink, and I downed the whole thing before I went in the house.”

    Dessert was no fool.

    He knew that what he was doing was wrong, but like most people, change wouldn’t occur until something drastic forced him to alter his behavior.

    For Dessert, this came when his wife went out one evening and left him in charge of the children.

    “I passed out,”

    Dessert recalls of that night.

    “Later on, it was midnight and I woke up to a glass of water being poured on my face, and it was my wife.”

    This led to a spirited conversation between the two, and ultimately, Dessert’s wife served him with an ultimatum.

    Said his wife that night:

    “If you don’t change, I’m taking the kids and I’m out of here.”

    This put Dessert in a tough spot.

    “I had to make a choice. I was sitting alone in my house, hungover and wondering what I was going to do,”

    says Dessert.

    Dessert did not want to let alcohol dictate his life, but he also recognized that eliminating the libation from his lifestyle was not going to be easy.

    “It was so hard. My wife gave me the ultimatum and it felt like being forced to cut off my arm. But I made the decision that my wife and family is more important, and I’ll do whatever it takes [to keep them in my life].”

    This pivotal event in Dessert’s life happened on January 24, 2015.

    Since then, Dessert has completely eliminated alcohol from his life, and now, both his family and Roofing 101 are doing better than ever.


    We here at Roofing Insights recognize that alcohol can be a problem for many people in the roofing industry. That’s why we want to reach out and offer help for anyone who may be struggling.

    Remember, running a business is extremely stressful, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an outlet, someone who is available to hear you and help you work through any problems you may have.

    If you are in the roofing industry and are struggling with substance abuse, please reach out to Roofing Insights on any of our social media channels, and someone will get back to you shortly.

    Quentin Super
    Senior Copywriter at Roofing Insights, author of the internationally-selling book The Long Road North, founder of quentinsuper.com

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