Yesterday, Austin Recovery, the largest non-profit drug and alcohol treatment center in Texas, hosted its second annual Speaker Series fundraiser luncheon at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater. The event featured famed University of Texas Longhorn Running Back and Hall of Fame Houston Oiler Earl Campbell as the keynote speaker. The goal of the series, in which a nationally acclaimed artist, entertainer, or speaker shares his or her story of recovery, is to break the silence and stigma placed on addiction while raising essential funds in support of Austin Recovery.
Earl Campbell, a Texas native, overcame a youth of poverty to win a Heisman Trophy and would go on to join the Houston Oilers as first all-around pick in the 1978 draft. Years of playing football took a toll on Campbell's body, and after multiple surgeries he found relief through prescription painkillers, which eventually took over his life. Yesterday, alongside his sons Tyler and Christian Campbell, Earl shared his personal and family story of a journey from fame to addiction, then recovery and healing. For a time, alcohol and drugs did what Earl's football opponents could not, and brought down this formerly indestructible force of nature fondly known as the Tyler Rose.
"I was so embarrassed because I'm Earl Campbell. But it can happen to Earl Campbell, too. I got with the program… I needed some help. I couldn't do it by myself" said the retired Running Back of his addiction and recovery during his speech. "I thought I was existing all those years as Earl Campbell. But the last three years have been the best. It's made all our lives better."
The luncheon's proceeds, which totaled more than $300,000 in ticket sales and donations, will support Austin Recovery and allow the treatment center to continue achieving its mission: to provide the highest quality of drug and alcohol treatment to anyone who needs it, regardless of personal circumstances.
"Witnessing the support this community has shown for recovery from addiction and alcoholism today was astounding," said Mel Taylor, President and CEO, Austin Recovery. "While Earl's ultimate victory over addiction - his most formidable opponent - is a shining example of the possibility of recovery and restored hope for families, there are many out there who have not been as fortunate," Taylor added. "The disease of alcoholism and addiction knows no age, racial, or socioeconomic barriers, and the reality is that there are tens of thousands of Texans and their families who are currently suffering."
In 2010, an estimated 22.1 million persons (8.7 percent of the population aged 12 or older) were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year based on criteria specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV).
With more than 500 guests, attendees included Luncheon Chairs Val Armstrong and Rachael Wyatt, long-time Austin Recovery supporter and Honorary Chair Edith Royal, Dawn and Greg Crouch, and several sports personalities including Master of Ceremonies Ron Franklin, James Street, Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, Doug English, Randy McEachern and others. Sponsors included Greenstream International and Maxwell Locke & Ritter.
About Austin Recovery: Since 1967, Austin Recovery has provided effective and compassionate chemical dependency treatment at very affordable rates. Non-profit and CARF-accredited, its transformational treatment model brings about in-depth cognitive, behavioral and spiritual changes essential for overcoming addiction through counseling, evidence-based practices, experiential therapies, and 12-Step work. Austin Recovery offers a number of programs including medical detox, separate men's and women's 30-day and 90+ day residential programs. Among these programs is Family House, providing a minimum of 90 days of residential drug and alcohol rehab to mothers accompanied by up to two young children under age six, as well as women in their third trimester of pregnancy. Austin Recovery also offers outpatient services, alumni support, family programs, aftercare and community education. For more information about Austin Recovery, please visit www.austinrecovery.org.
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