”I have tried to quit time and again and have broken every promise I made to myself and others about ‘never again.’ But the truth is that I cannot quit alcohol and cocaine. I have given up hope that my life will be anything other than this and realize that I am going to die.”
”I have had many tough moments and have had to learn how to face life without hiding in a bottle. My sober mentor reminds me, ‘Steve, your disease is right outside doing push-ups, just waiting for your return.’ After all this time, I know it would only take one drink and I would go back to the hopelessness, the sickness—and so I stay diligent.”
Steve Palmer and Mickey Bakst before their Dining for a Cause event at the Cedar Room in October 2017; Palmer counts on Bakst and fellow friend and sober person Scott Crawford for support. “They call me regularly, check on me when I’m down, call me on my BS, and love me unconditionally. The bond we have is special, and I will be grateful for the rest of my life for those two,” he says.
Palmer and Bakst with the F&B crew who worked last fall’s “Switcheroo” at Edmund’s Oast to benefit Ben’s Friends
Palmer hired Ben Murray, a former colleague from his days opening Canoe in Atlanta, to help open Town Hall restaurant in Florence, South Carolina, in 2016.
Ben (pictured far right) on opening night with chefs Scott Crawford, Eric Zizka, Bobby Hodge, and Elliot Cusher
Palmer catches up with his team at The Macintosh, including (left to right) executive chef Jacob Huder, general manager Julie Hennigan, and chef-partner Jeremiah Bacon. As a sober person working in the restaurant business, Palmer loves what he does, and it shows. As far as his beverages of choice, he says, “Sparkling water, of course, but I love the new trend of nonalcoholic cocktails. I’m so glad the industry is finally recognizing that sober people like to drink fun things too. And, by the way, we are happy to pay for them!”
Founded by Steve Palmer and Mickey Bakst in 2016, Ben’s Friends is a food-and-beverage industry support group “offering hope, fellowship, and a path toward sobriety for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction.” The nonprofit organization meets every Sunday at 11 a.m. at The Cedar Room (701 E Bay St., Suite 200) and Thursdays at noon at Indaco (526 King St.). For more information or to donate, visit www.bensfriendshope.com.