Panthers coach Dave Canales co-wrote book about infidelity, binge drinking, addiction to pornography

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dave Canales is ready to begin his journey as head coach of the Carolina Panthers 16 months after co-authoring a faith-based book about working through problems with his sexual infidelity, addiction to pornography and binge drinking.

The book “This Marriage? The Question That Changed Everything” was written by Canales and his wife, Lizzy. It details how the 42-year-old coach has worked to overcome his problems and the couple found its way back to a healthy, Christian-based marriage.

Canales wrote that with the help of counseling and family, he no longer has issues with infidelity or pornography and he has stopped drinking completely.

Canales published the book in September 2022 when he was still a position coach with the Seattle Seahawks and before he got his big break and became offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2023, leaving him one step from becoming a head coach.

The couple said they wrote the book to help other couples struggling with marriage.

“We wanted other people to feel safe starting this journey toward a vibrant marriage by helping them see they are not alone,” the couple wrote in the book’s preface.

The couple said writing the book and reliving the painful details of their past was like going through another round of counseling, but it helped them “find renewed healing and hope through a stronger understanding of what happened.”

The Panthers said they were aware of the book before hiring Canales last week.

A team spokesman said Canales would not be available for comment until his introductory news conference in Charlotte on Thursday.

Canales wrote in the book about how he finally made some “dark confessions” about his infidelity to his wife.

“A huge part in the severed intimacy that I was experiencing with Lizzy was because I was addicted to pornography,” Canales wrote. “It was like a gateway drug for me, creating pathways in my brain that allowed me to use sex coldly for my own benefit. It was a secret, silent struggle that I had years before I was married.”

He also wrote about how he cheated on Lizzy one month before they were married.

“From the start of our relationship, I was binge drinking and going out with friends, without Lizzy,” Canales wrote. "Before I was ever unfaithful to her, I was already there in my mind. Bad habits combined with addiction made it hard for me to resist temptation. It was a pattern I knew well before we started dating.”

Canales also described himself as a “recovering narcissist,” and detailed how he had to work hard at “developing the skills necessary to be aware beyond myself and my needs.”

As for his issues with drinking, Canales wrote: “I quit drinking alcohol altogether, knowing that I do not have great restraint in that area, and it numbs me to making other poor choices.”

He described how early in his marriage, despite going to church, he would go out at times with friends and take off his wedding ring on certain occasions and act as though he wasn’t married.

Canales said the long hours as an NFL assistant coach weren’t to blame for his issues but gave him more opportunities to make bad decisions.

The couple wrote the book knowing that exposing their painful and highly personal secrets and issues could potentially hinder Canales’ ability to land future jobs in the NFL. They said their marriage now is stronger than ever and their belief in God has helped them, discussing the importance of faith and prayer.

Lizzy Canales wrote in the book that meant essentially burning down the old marriage while bringing forth something entirely new from the ashes.

“Many are shocked when we tell them,” the couple wrote. “For some it is incredibly uncomfortable and maybe even convicting. For others it is like a breath of fresh air and an invitation to go deeper into their own relationships.”

The couple have four children.

In the book’s foreword, former NFL coach Tony Dungy wrote: “Unlike so many couples today, they didn’t let their marriage wither away. They wouldn’t let it go. So instead, David and Lizzy resolved to get things back on the right track and rediscover that sense of purpose and that intimacy they had at the beginning. I’m happy to let you know they have done just that.”