How Gigolos' Garren James Found Recovery and Success

By Randi Newton 09/21/18

The client base is diverse, ranging from the ladies who want to go out and have a fun night on the town to those who are recovering from a traumatic experience or dealing with a terminal illness.

Garren James, his wife, and their two children stand outside, smiling.
“I’m tired of hearing about people dying. Let’s equal it out, let’s talk about the successes.”

Garren James is a man filled with surprises. The stunning former model is more than just a handsome hunk. He is the CEO, producer, and star of Cowboys 4 Angels, the male escort company featured on Showtime’s hit series, Gigolos, which is entering its seventh season. With a beautiful wife, kids, and successful career, James seems to have it all. But what many don’t realize is that the journey to this dream life was filled with obstacles that only he could overcome.

The innovative businessman recently celebrated ten years of sobriety. Rather than continuing to keep his recovery quiet, James felt he might be able to provide some hope or inspiration by sharing his experience, strength, and hope with a wider audience. Here, James shares his story publicly for the first time.

“I’m tired of hearing about people dying. Let’s equal it out, let’s talk about the successes,” he says when sharing his story with me. The Florida native had a slew of prior arrests. After numerous stints in various rehab centers that were not successful, James was finally ready to hit rock bottom. His addiction to crack, powder cocaine, and various other substances had completely taken over his life.

“I was living in a garage and the girl who was letting me stay there told me if I got high one more time that she would kick me out. So, I went out and I got high.”

To his surprise, she kept her word and he was out. James found himself with no place to go.

In desperation he chose to break into her property, hoping to retrieve something that could be pawned for cash. At the time he was in the height of his addiction and thought that she would surely understand what he was doing. She did not. The police were called and he found himself leaving with handcuffs shackled to his wrists and nothing to pawn.

“I was in a jail cell laying on the floor. I didn’t care.” Rather than looking back with regret, James speaks of his arrest with gratitude: “That was the day the Brown County Sheriff department saved my life,” he recalls. This was not his first experience with prison time, but he was hoping it would be his last.

For the next ten months he contemplated his future while behind bars. His situation improved when he was offered a chance to go to a halfway house. After getting involved in a 12-step recovery program and attending meetings within the system, he began to discover that life was worth living.

“I worked my ass off in recovery...I was loved back into being a person who had confidence.”

It’s normal to be fearful of life beyond your comfort zone, especially when it’s one in which you’ve been thriving and learning a new way of life. When it came time for James to seek employment, he was hesitant and nervous. Acclimating to life clean and serene was as intimidating as it was wonderful.

“I thought I should have been on disability. I was nervous about getting a job based on my past.” He was encouraged to try. Wearing a pair of slacks and an $8.00 shirt from The Salvation Army, he went in search of employment. Almost immediately, he was hired by an art gallery. From there, he began to rebuild his life.

His business, Cowboys 4 Angels, started slowly. First, he developed a website. Straight male escorts were available to provide companionship to females. It was a service that would provide compassionate and handsome men to women in need. His big break came when he was featured on The Tyra Banks Show. Before Tyra he was receiving a few calls a month; after his appearance, his business began to boom. He started getting up to 50 bookings a month and the website stayed near the top of Google searches.

The love that James received during his experience getting sober informs the way he runs his company, and especially when it comes to his interactions with the women who approach him. Cowboys 4 Angels’ client base is diverse, ranging from the ladies who want to go out and have a fun night on the town to those who are recovering from a traumatic experience or dealing with a terminal illness. It’s more than just a dinner date, it’s about having a connection with another human being.

Ten years later, James’ life has exceeded his expectations. Now happily married with children, with a business and television series on Showtime, he is in a place he never imagined. And James is adamant he has achieved this all because he has never lost sight of his recovery. That is where the real work started.

"With recovery, anything is possible,” he says with conviction.

One of his most recent and proudest achievements was rallying for a meeting to be held in the very prison he once did time in. This was finally approved and every other Sunday he personally visits the facility and works with the inmates.

All the while keeping his coffee commitment at his home group.

“There are no big shots in recovery.” Garren James says smiling.

Follow Garren James and Cowboys4Angels on Twitter and Instagram.

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Randi is a writer, sober companion, and recovery specialist. Find her on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.