HOUSTON (CW39) Archway Academy‘s Board Member, Randy Lack sits down with former Astro and MLB Hall of Fame Member, Jeff Bagwell. Jeff opens up for the first time about his journey with alcohol and addiction and the impact a meeting with Archway Academy students have had on him.

On Tuesday, October 20th, Archway Academy virtually hosted their 13th Annual Fall Luncheon with guest speaker and former Houston Astros first baseman, Jeff Bagwell. Attendees had the unique opportunity to watch a video where Bagwell opened up about his personal experience with addiction – a topic he hadn’t previously spoken about publicly – in a conversation with Archway board member, Randy Lack.

Bagwell shared stories of strength and struggles with his recovery, and how moved he is by the work Archway Academy does. Listed below are a few key quotes from Bagwell. His full interview from Archway’s virtual event can be viewed at the following YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3v8O7sK4lA

  • In the conversation, Bagwell touched on his history with alcohol addiction and explained that this disease is not something that can be overcome, but rather it’s ongoing. “It’s a constant struggle and at times you can lose hope and think you don’t value your life anymore. For me, I was very fortunate to have people around me that loved me, supported me and didn’t give up on me, which is part of the reason that I am sitting here today, because if they had given up on me, I don’t think I would be,” said Bagwell. 
  • “I’m thinking about how hard it was for me to be in that seat at that time, to be sober, and I think of what it could be like for these kids – to try and tell kids about sobriety in my life when they haven’t even started theirs,” said Bagwell. He continued, “it’s something that was a very, very impactful for me… I’ve lived half my life and the struggles that I had… I just couldn’t imagine putting it on a 15, 16, 17-year-old kid.” He went on to explain that he is grateful to be open about his addiction and hopes to show others that he struggles with the same things they do and if he can do it, they can too.
  • Bagwell recounted the time he went on the Archway board retreat and watched the students do an activity they call “walk the line.” The students were asked, “have you ever tried to commit suicide?” and out of the 70 students that were there, 65 crossed the line. Bagwell said seeing that hit him like a ton of bricks. “As an addict, I know that they are thinking that their life is meaningless enough to take their own life – and Archway is doing something about that which was very impactful for me.”

Although the Fall Luncheon looked different this year due to the pandemic, the virtual event still succeeded in bringing Houstonians together to support this vital cause. The organization raised over $240,000 with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting Archway’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which provides scholarships and financial aid for students, ultimately, supporting the organization’s mission to provide a supportive and sober learning environment to meet the individual educational needs of adolescents in recovery. 

With 70% of Archway Academy’s students on scholarships for their recovery program, the organization depends on donations and fundraisers, like the luncheon, to continue its operations and save the lives of young adults struggling with substance use disorders and mental health issues. Archway Academy will continue to accept donations until they reach their goal of $300,000. 

Supporters can view a recording of the full presentation and make a donation online at Archway Academy’s MobileCause page linked here: https://app.mobilecause.com/e/ke8YgQ?vid=bdtvg. The full Archway Luncheon presentation is also available on YouTube at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpQGiQNBp-A

Here’s a look at the full interview.