“Everything good that’s ever happened to me came out of helping others.” – Danny Trejo
Drug addiction does not discriminate. It can afflict anyone – rich or poor, famous or unknown. Actor Danny Trejo is just one of them. Grown up on the streets of Pacoima, California and mentored by his uncle, who was a drug dealer, Trejo had tried heroin by the age of 12 and was introduced to the jail cell when he was just 15. While Trejo survived rough conditions behind bars, he is celebrating almost five decades of sobriety in 2017.
Imprisoned for various offenses pertaining to drug and arm robberies, Trejo spent more than a decade in and out of jail. However, by undergoing a 12-step rehab program and becoming a champion boxer while serving in San Quentin Prison in California, Trejo turned his life around.
Known for his vengeful characters that he has often portrayed on the screen, in real life, Trejo is touching hearts by speaking for those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Recently, the 72-year-old actor was in Alamo City, Texas, to speak about his journey of recovery from substance abuse at a fundraising event.
Apart from talking to young people on battling addiction, Trejo also works as an intervention counselor in real life. As per Trejo, one of the most important things about being clean and sober is to have a strong support system.
Trejo often credits sobriety for the endless energy that keeps him in demand for roles even at 72. According to Trejo, the only failure in life is not trying. Though people often resort to drugs and alcohol to face problems in their lives, substance abuse only makes the things worse. For those struggling with addiction, the actor says that he would rather shoot for the moon and miss it than aiming for the gutter and make it.
Sobriety is key to success
Addiction to any substance is a widespread problem in the United States. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 21 million Americans aged 12 years and above suffered from a substance use disorder in the previous year. Out of these, 14.4 million had problems with alcohol while 4.5 million were addicted to drugs.
Addiction, a chronic brain disease, is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences. Regular use of drugs makes changes in the brain that can be long-lasting and lead to harmful behaviors in people. While addiction has serious harmful consequences, it is preventable and treatable. If a person is grappling with any substance abuse, he/she should immediately seek professional help to lead a sober life.
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