RECAP: Danny Trejo’s Story of Recovery & Redemption Inspires Hundreds at The Council’s 37th Annual Spring Luncheon

Actor, activist, author and restauranteur Danny Trejo inspired a crowd of more than 900 Houstonians with his story of recovery and redemption at The Council’s 37th Annual Spring Luncheon on Thursday, April 21, 2022. Presented by The Moody Endowment, the event raised more than $450,000 to help local individuals and families recover from the effects of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Mistress of Ceremonies and Board of Trustees member Jerri Duddlesten Moore opened the luncheon, followed by an invocation by Reverend Michelle Manuel of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. Board of Trustees Chair Joe Matula then announced that this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to the late Kirby Attwell, a longtime friend and supporter of The Council, whose life and legacy have forever changed the landscape of addiction treatment in Houston.

President and CEO Mary Beck, LMSW, followed, giving an impassioned appeal for a community united against the growing shame and stigma around substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. “It is through this community that we find the antidote to shame,” she said. “Awareness, education, and connection are all powerful tools in the fight against stigma.”

Luncheon Co-Chairs Diane St. Yves Brewer and Patrick Keegan then shared their powerful stories of recovery, with Keegan recounting how his attendance of a previous Council luncheon inspired him to a life of recovery. “I saw hundreds of people: sober, happy, and successful and I thought to myself, ‘If these folks can do it, I can do it.’”

Board Trustee Joanie McLeod introduced keynote speaker Danny Trejo who told his harrowing, inspiring, and often humorous story of recovery and redemption. Trejo told the crowd about his substance use in his early childhood, how he found recovery with the help of a 12-step program, and how service to his community has been essential to his recovery. He also emphasized the importance of organizations like The Council to those struggling with substance use, saying, “The Council is like a lighthouse, they point the way when you’re lost.”

The event concluded with a surprise video from former Prima Ballerina for the Houston Ballet, Lauren Anderson, who announced she would serve as keynote speaker for The Council’s Fall Luncheon on October 21, 2022. Save the date!

Announcing Danny Trejo as Keynote Speaker for our 37th Annual Spring Luncheon

The actor, activist, author and restauranteur Danny Trejo will tell his story of recovery and redemption on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at the Hilton Americas – Houston hotel.

The Council on Recovery is excited to welcome Danny Trejo as the keynote speaker for our 37th Annual Spring Luncheon on Thursday, April 21, 2022. Danny Trejo is an actor, activist, author and restauranteur, best known for his starring roles in the Spy Kids, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Machete film series, as well as recurring roles in the television series Breaking Bad, King of the Hill, and Sons of Anarchy. He most recently appeared in the popular Star Wars series, The Book of Boba Fett.

Danny Trejo headshot

Trejo struggled with addiction at as early as 12 years old, found sobriety through attending 12-step meetings while in prison, and has been sober for more than five decades. He chronicled his harrowing and inspiring story in his critically acclaimed 2021 memoir Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, & Hollywood.

Since its inception 40 years ago, The Council’s speaker series has promoted a message of hope and healing, and helped to reduce the shame and stigma of substance use and related disorders in the Houston community and beyond. The Council provides treatment and recovery support to individuals affected by substance use and other co-occurring mental health conditions, regardless of their ability to pay. Funds raised through our annual luncheons ensure that no family in need is ever turned away.

To reserve your table today, visit our speaker series website. Individual tickets will be sold at a later date.

Crystals Can Enhance Your Meditation Routine

Meditation is the key for some who are in recovery. It helps people feel more energized, gain focus and relaxation and can increase consciousness. All of these are important so that the recoveree can maintain a healthy life balance each day. Crystals can assist recoverees with these goals and aid in the discovery of their sober identity.

Amethyst crystal. Photo Credit: The Corner Crystal.

Amethyst

Amethyst distracts you from addictions and withdrawal symptoms. This crystal helps recharge the mind, body, and spirit. It helps recoverees reconnect to their own spirituality, open their minds to wisdom, and wash away negativity.

Carnelian crystal. Photo Credit: The Corner Crystal.

Carnelian

The bright orange Carnelian crystal is used to help those who struggle with overeating and marijuana addiction. The Carnelian is a form of quartz that makes users feel both energized and protected. When the Carnelian is held in the right hand and the Azurite crystal is held in the left hand, users can feel relaxed. Drinking Carnelian infused water or wearing jewelry will ease fears and give you more determination during recovery.

Clear Quartz crystal. Photo Credit: The Corner Crystal.

Clear quartz

This crystal can help those with a history of substance abuse. This not only works for those recovering from opioid and chemical drugs but for those wanting to resist caffeine and sugar. Clear Quartz helps cut down stress, ease withdrawal symptoms, and tries to block addictive thoughts.

Lepidolite crystal. Photo Credit: The Corner Crystal.

Lepidolite

This crystal helps develop hope, trust, serenity, and acceptance within a person. Lepidolite helps transform recoverees by encouraging self-love, patience, and optimism. This stone is especially helpful for people who have PTSD or manic depression because it stabilizes emotions.

Rose Quartz. Photo Credit: The Corner Crystal.

Rose Quartz

This crystal is known as the stone of love and can help you see the reality of toxic relationships. This stone is also effective for people recovering from addictions such as nymphomania. Rose Quartz calms and encourages recoverees to rediscover their love of the arts, music, and writing.

Crystals can be used alongside physical meditation activities such as yoga. They help those in recovery transform their mind, body, and spirit. If you are in need of relaxation and meditation, The Council offers weekly yoga classes. For more information, please click here.

12 Tips for Partying Sober During the Holidays

For a recovering addict or alcoholic, holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s can be annual versions of The Bermuda Triangle. To stay out of the danger zone, it is best to prepare yourself for the potential threats to your sobriety before you encounter them. Here are 12 Tips you can follow for partying sober during the holidays:

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Freedom from Want,” 1943.
Story illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” March 6, 1943. Photo Credit www.nrm.org.

1-Prepare your mind

Have a few lines handy for when someone offers you a drink at a holiday party. “No thank you, but I’ll take a Coke.” If you are constantly asked, be repetitive and consistent with your answers and answer firmly, “No.”

2-Volunteer

Spend time helping at a soup kitchen or helping children’s charities. You’ll find that giving your time will feel amazing and still give you the ability to be social during the holiday season.

3-Be the designated driver for the evening

By being the designated driver, this will make you look responsible and will prevent more people from asking you to drink with them.

4-Celebrate the sober life

Host your own substance-free shindig. Arrange games and chances for attendees to win prizes.

Snowboarding Christmas outing. Photo Credit: Jakob Owens.

5-Have an escape plan

If you are at an event where people have a lot of alcohol, attend the party with a sober friend. If your urges are too strong, set an alternative plan for the night so you won’t feel obligated to stay.

6-Avoid familiar places

Stay away from old hangout areas and minimize the time you spend with old friends if you happen to run into them.

7-HALT

Avoid being too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired before an event. This can lead to stronger urges to relapse.

8-Follow your recovery routine

Stick as close to your recovery routine as possible during the holidays.

9-Exercise

Exercise on a regular schedule. Dancing at holiday parties can also help keep your mind off of drinking.

10-Relocate

Try to stand closer to the food than the drinks at social gatherings.

New Year’s Eve celebration with sparklers. Photo credit: Sang Huynh.

11-Do not overeat

Try not to overeat. This can lead to HALT feelings and feelings of guilt. Instead, watch your portions and schedule meals appropriately.

12-Seek assistance when needed

Attend a 12-step meeting before or after the holidays as a reminder that you are not in this alone. The encouragement will help you stay focused on your sober journey throughout the holiday season.

Many of The Council on Recovery’s staff will be unavailable on major federal holidays. However, the building will be open to host meetings and yoga classes. For more information please contact 713.942.4100 or email us here. Happy Holidays!

Binge Drinking: A Big Problem for Young Adults Not in College

There is a public health crisis plaguing the U.S. once again, binge drinking. People who binge drink may not do so during the regular weekdays, but may consume excessive amounts over the weekend. Binge drinking is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. An estimated 88,000 people die from excessive alcohol use each year.

In 1998, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) gathered a task force to solve problems related to binge drinking in college. They analyzed behaviors of college students between the ages of 18 and 24 years of age. Their 2002 study found that from 1999 to 2005, the percentage of college students who reported binge drinking rose from 42 percent to 45 percent. These numbers then declined to 37 percent by 2014. These improved statistics seemed promising, but another demographic became an even greater cause for concern.

Recently, binge drinking for non-college young adults has increased from 36 percent to 40 percent. Young men are twice more likely to binge drink than young women according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

Representation of how many people binge drink in the U.S.; categorized by age. Photo Credit: CDC.

Ralph Hingson, the creator of the CDC study, believes that this group of young adults are binge drinking more because they don’t have as many organizational involvement in their spare time. Binge drinking is not only a problem in adolescents and young adults but in every age demographic in the U.S.

“People often don’t recognize binge drinking as a problem because it’s not a daily thing,” Gregory Smith, M.D. stated in an interview with Men’s Fitness.

The following are signs that a person is a binge drinker:

Becoming a big risk taker

The person may act out of character and make bad decisions that lead to an increased possibility of contracting an STD or getting a DUI.

Drinking heavily every weekend

Abstaining from drinking during the week does not make it a wise decision to drink eight drinks in one night as a reward. Excessive drinking can lead to raised blood pressure, increase the risks of cancer, and interfere with medication.

Exceeding your alcohol limit

If the drinker has difficulty sticking with a planned number of drinks or doesn’t remember how many they’ve had, there is a problem.

Black Out

Heavy drinking interferes with a brain messenger called glutamate which is linked to memory. If the drinker cannot remember events of the night, he/she may have experienced a blackout.

Neglecting your responsibilities

If the person is usually hard-working, dedicated to his/her goals, but has replaced those characteristics with hangovers and drunken happy hours, there is a drinking problem.

About 22 million people need treatment for alcohol or drug addiction, but less than 1% actually receive treatment. If you know someone who needs us, please contact The Council on Recovery at 713.914.0556 for assistance.

Rob Lowe Wows Record Crowd at The Council’s Fall Luncheon, Raises Over $600K

Rob Lowe Speaks at The Council on Recovery's Fall Luncheon

Iconic Hollywood star, Rob Lowe, helped The Council on Recovery’s Fall Luncheon exceed all expectations in terms of size, money raised, and rave reviews from attendees. Nearly 1,270 enthusiastic Council supporters filled the Hilton Americas grand ballroom on October 20th to hear the celebrated actor, author, and producer tell his personal story of recovery from alcoholism and addiction. In the process, he helped The Council raise more than $600,000 to fund its critical programs and services. Continue reading “Rob Lowe Wows Record Crowd at The Council’s Fall Luncheon, Raises Over $600K”