Seven years earlier, Tylor Trotter may have used the news of his mother’s murder to abuse opioids. Not this time. When the call came, he had everything he needed to cope with the unspeakable. He was not a victim.
This summer—more than two years after his mother’s fatal shooting—the 36-year-old ex-addict-turned-entrepreneur will come face-to-face with his traumatic loss again. The man accused of killing his mother and two other women is going to trial in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Justice will be served, but Tylor has moved on.
He’s not a victim. Not even close.
In fact, he forgave the accused a long time ago, hours after the defendant’s arrest. Going to Facebook that night, he beseeched others to do likewise. “That’s all I see is somebody that needs deliverance from the enemy…. I look at this person and can honestly say, I love him,” Tylor wrote.
The Times He Lived
Tylor is the owner of the award-winning Clean Cut Grooming Lounge outside Knoxville and founder of the Tennessee Barber Expo. When not barbering — a talent and passion he initially discovered by watching YouTube videos — he speaks to people battling addiction.
When we connect, he’s traveling, having just landed in New York where he’s scheduled to speak at a recovery convention later. His popularity among the recovering is one of the reasons I reached out to him. Acquaintances knowing the topics this blog tackles thought he’d make a good topic.
As we talk, his experiences make me think about my own boys, their friends, and what was happening when they were growing up. During their adolescence, a time-release form of oxycodone, Oxycontin, had hit the market. Aggressively touted as non-habit forming, the painkiller soon became an American bestseller.
Despite the sales pitches, people got hooked, including those who needed it to manage pain. Addicts craving a drug-induced euphoria only needed to crush the pills to override the time-release feature and experience the drug’s full effect.
The result? A full-fledged opioid epidemic that continues today, but with a twist. Crackdowns on pill mills run by shady physicians and efforts to control the distribution of prescription opiates have succeeded—somewhat. But more dangerous, easier-to-obtain heroin and fentanyl have taken their place.
Tylor was a part of that Oxy scene.
The Party Boy
Tylor’s problems began at age 15. Fearful and insecure, he smoked weed, drank alcohol, and rebelled against his father. After moving in with his mother who then lived in the projects, Tylor started using and selling harder drugs like cocaine and oxycodone.
“My biggest ambition was to be a drug dealer. People were going crazy for Oxycontin,” he says. To cash in, he took road trips to pain clinics in Florida, returned to Knoxville, and sold the pills on the street, netting thousands.
By 19, he’d fathered a child and then another. The drug abuse and dealing continued, and he felt invincible, on top of his game. Eventually, the Department of Child Services caught wind of his illicit activities and threatened to remove his children.
He took a drug test and failed, losing everything. His kids, his girlfriend, his home. “I was addicted to everything, literally everything,” he says. He numbed his guilt and pain with drugs, and even robbed a Walgreen’s because he saw no other way of getting the narcotics he desired. In and out of jail, he kept using.
A New Man
Today, Tylor is a new man. With support from his wife, Laurie, and friends, Tylor overcame his addictions. He joined a 12-step program, committed his life to Christ, reconciled with his parents, and eventually gained full custody of the two children from his previous relationship.
As we talk, he tells me about the future Laurie envisioned before they married and had a child, before he’d completely turned his life around, his prospects still uncertain. “She saw something inside me, and told me, ‘You’re going to go on to do great things.’”
Now clean for more than a decade, I wonder if he’s ever toyed with using again? Did the news of his mother’s shocking death set him on a downward spiral?
“Remember what I said about reservations?” he asked.
At a Celebrate Recovery meeting a few days earlier, Tylor discussed that very topic — the moment a recovering addict slips and abuses drugs or alcohol to cope with a setback. He or she had reserved that appointment long ago, before they committed to getting clean.
“No, using wasn’t an option when I got the news,” he says. “The Holy Spirit wrapped me up. He kept saying, “It’s okay. I got you. You’re not a victim. I could see my impact for the kingdom. He would empower me, and there was nothing I couldn’t face.”
Since then, Tylor is making every effort to spread the message of recovery and forgiveness.
“Addiction, unforgiveness, codependence, insecurity, rejection, and any other lie the enemy wants us to believe…none is greater than the other. All end in death,” he says. “I will speak life and have no plans of stopping.”
He’s not a victim.
Talk to Tylor
If you or someone else is struggling with addiction, Tylor wants to help. He doesn’t want anyone to become a victim. He’s asked me to pass along his contact information. Text him at 865-748-8813 or email him at Cleancutgroomingservices@gmail.com.
What a great turnaround story. Too many can’t get out and/or finally OD. The power of the Holy Spirit is incredible.
Great great young man that loves the Lord. Tylor is a huge inspiration to more folks than he’ll ever know. “BUT GOD” Tylor will be the first to tell you That GOD is the Only reason that He is a NEW MAN today. Amen ALL THINGS are passed away ALL things Become New. Praise God! Glory BE TO GOD
Amen! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment about this extraordinary man.
Can’t begin to tell you how proud our family is of him. I’m his Aunt Betty. We all love him so much
Aunt Betty, thanks so much for spending time and letting us all know how proud you are. Your nephew is remarkable. God bless you.