A Conversation with Dan Cartwright, Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award

Since our founding in 1946, The Council has been able to continue and expand upon our mission because of the incredible individuals who have stepped up and supported us. For three decades, Daniel S. Cartwright has been one of those individuals. Dan began serving The Council as a volunteer shortly after starting his recovery journey, and throughout the years, he has become one of our most committed and generous leaders. He served on various Council boards for more than a decade, including serving as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, before joining our Honorary Lifetime Board in 2008.

Among his many contributions, Dan served on the steering committee for The Council’s Restoring Hope, Rebuilding Lives capital campaign, which raised $11 million for the construction of our beautiful campus. He received The Council’s Jay Waggoner Service Award in 2005 and is also a devoted supporter of our annual Holiday Party, which delivers gifts and seasonal cheer to families in a safe, sober environment. He is a steadfast supporter of our Speaker Series luncheons, and through his influence, has helped open the door to recovery for an untold number of lives.

For his unwavering support of The Council and Houston’s recovery community, Dan will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at The Council’s 2023 Fall Luncheon with Craig Ferguson. We sat down with Dan to talk about his recovery journey and relationship with The Council.

Dan Cartwright with Lauren Anderson at The Council's 2022 Fall Luncheon.
Dan Cartwright with keynote speaker Lauren Anderson at The Council’s 2022 Fall Luncheon.

Tell us how you first got involved with The Council.

After I first went through the steps, my sponsor suggested that I get involved on several different levels in recovery, and that I be of service to the community in some way. I asked around, and several people mentioned The Council. I went over there, sat and talked with the director, and I liked what they were doing.

What about our work initially drew you in?

The director shared their vision on how they wanted to grow The Council and reach not hundreds, but thousands of people. At that time, there weren’t a lot of organizations in the community doing what The Council was doing. I’m one of those people who likes challenges, so to be of service at a very grassroots level and to help expand The Council’s work resonated with me.

What do you think the biggest change in the landscape of addiction treatment has been since you’ve been involved with The Council?

There have been more and more opportunities for The Council to be of service, for instance, getting involved in the court system. And to have these other programs, like for ladies that are pregnant and want to get sober, I think is just an amazing development. Thirty years ago, there was no such thing. There’s also been a considerable reduction in the stigma associated with addiction. There is hardly a family that isn’t affected in one way or another by addiction, depression, and other disorders.

What message you would share with people who are actively affected by addiction currently?

I always ask people three questions: Do you think you have a drinking problem? Are you ready to do something about it? And if they say yes to that, I say, are you ready to do something about it right now? If so, let’s get you to a treatment center. Our best thinking got us here, so your thinking’s just not working anymore, and there is a better way.

Is there anything else you want to share with us about your time in recovery and with The Council?

The old saying is, “To keep it, you’ve got to give it away.” I’ve given it away through The Council and other recovery efforts, and I get back tenfold. It is a spiritual journey, and it’s hard to explain that. It makes people recoil sometimes when you talk about God, but it’s God of their making. It’s not necessarily a religious explanation. And if a person is defeated by alcohol, there is a better way.

Help us honor and celebrate Dan’s lifetime of service by reserving your spot at The Council’s 2023 Fall Luncheon with Craig Ferguson.

“Full House” star Jodie Sweetin Helps The Council on Recovery to Raise More Than $460,000

Star of the hugely popular 90’s sitcom “Full House” Jodie Sweetin inspired a crowd of more than 800 Houstonians at The Council on Recovery’s 38th Annual Spring Luncheon on Friday, April 21, 2023. Co-chaired by Kim and Kevin Boone and Matthew and Meredith Goldsby, the event raised more than $460,000 to help individuals and families impacted by substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions.

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Board of Trustees Chair Amanda Polich opened the luncheon with a warm welcome and highlighted the Speaker Series’ legacy of education and awareness. Reverend Cindy Cline of Unity Church provided the invocation. Polich returned to bestow the Community Champion Award to the Halliburton Charitable Foundation, which has given nearly half a million dollars in support of our services for children and youth through their annual golf tournament and employee matching gifts.

The Council’s President & CEO, Mary H. Beck, LMSW, CAI, highlighted the direction and future of The Council, and emphasized the need to normalize conversations on substance use and mental health at home, in schools, workplaces, and beyond.

“Recovery shouldn’t have to be hidden,” she said. “It should be ok for people to ask for help when they are struggling with substances. It should be ok to ask for help at school. It should be ok to ask for help at work. It should be ok to ask for help from your doctor or clergy. It should be ok to ask for help from your family.”

Luncheon Co-Chairs Kim Boone and Matthew Goldsby followed with moving testimonials on how addiction has impacted their own lives.

“As a parent of 2 middle school-aged girls, I am acutely aware of the pressures my kids will face that can too easily lead them to a pathway of substance abuse,” said Boone. “And that’s a huge part of why I am so passionate about my work with The Council. I want to ensure that my kids are armed with the right information and tools to make good decisions in the face of adversity.”

Keynote Speaker Jodie Sweetin then took the stage in an entertaining, thoughtful, and inspiring conversation with Dr. Sean Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of The Jung Center of Houston. They discussed her adoption and upbringing, acting career in “Full House,” and the years of struggle and recovery that followed.

Sweetin stressed the importance of prevention and education efforts for young people in her address, saying, “I’m so grateful that my daughters live in a time when conversations around addiction and mental health are easier to have.” She also praised the work of The Council, saying, “An important thing that The Council does is work with teens and their parents to address the family system.”

In her closing remarks, Sweetin said, “If you’re here today and you’re struggling, please know that it will change, and you can ask for help. It will be okay.”

Announcing Jodie Sweetin as Keynote Speaker for our 38th Annual Spring Luncheon

The star of the classic 90’s sitcom “Full House,” Jodie Sweetin, will share her story of recovery at The Council’s premiere fundraising event on Friday, April 21, 2023 at the Hilton Americas – Houston Hotel.

The Council on Recovery is excited to welcome Jodie Sweetin to Houston as the keynote speaker for our 38th Annual Spring Luncheon! Actress, producer, host, author and activist Jodie Sweetin garnered the love of millions in her role as Stephanie Tanner on ABC’s long-running, hugely popular sitcom “Full House” and the widely popular Netflix spinoff “Fuller House.”

She previously pulled double duty as co-Executive Producer and star in the rom-com Just Swipe and just wrapped production on “Craft Me a Romance” where she once again stars and serves as co-Executive Producer. Jodie also co-hosts the popular parenting podcast “Never Thought I’d Say This,” which is currently in its fifth season. She is a published author of her memoir UnSweetined, in which she chronicles her struggle with substance use disorder until becoming sober more than a decade ago. She is now a passionate advocate for substance use prevention among youth and young adults.

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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.

For more information about our Speaker Series, visit our speaker series website. Tables and individual tickets will be sold at a later date.

Event Recap: Lauren Anderson Inspires and Entertains at Council Fall Luncheon

Houston Ballet star Lauren Anderson inspired a crowd of more than 800 Houstonians with her reflections on recovery, parenting and the arts at The Council’s Fall Luncheon on Friday, October 21. Presented by The Moody Endowment and co-chaired by Chris Flood and Jenifer & Joseph Matula, the event raised $425,000 to help local individuals and families recover from the effects of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

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Mistress of Ceremonies Melanie Lawson of ABC-13 opened the program by welcoming the crowd of event sponsors, donors, community partners, and people in recovery. Associate Pastor Andrew Johnson of Neartown Church provided the invocation.

The Council’s Board of Trustees Chair Amanda Polich and President and CEO Mary Beck, LMSW, CAI then spoke on the impact of The Council and its speaker series on the communities we serve.

Said Beck, “Your presence and support send a message that the work of The Council matters – a message that substance use disorders are preventable and treatable and that recovery is not only possible, but that in recovery there is hope for renewal, and an amazingly fulfilling life.”

The event’s co-chairs, Chris Flood and Joseph Matula, then gave impassioned testimonies about their experiences with addiction and how The Council was crucial to their recovery journeys.

“I have found a new peace, a new freedom and a new happiness,” said Flood. “None of this would have been possible without the services of The Council on Recovery.”

The program continued with an emotional video featuring Council clients and their stories, as well as Lauren Anderson’s involvement with the Cradles Project, which serves new and expecting parents who are at risk of substance use disorders. Anderson and her longtime friend Lawson then took the stage for an entertaining and inspirational conversation about addiction, recovery, parenting, and the arts.

Celebrating 13 years of sobriety this year, Anderson said, “This disease can happen to anyone. Even a little black girl from the Third Ward in Houston who became the Sugar Plum Fairy. The good thing is that there is help at The Council.”

The luncheon also celebrated other artists in recovery by featuring an exclusive gallery in the foyer of the ballroom. Curated by Linda Moffitt of the Jack Meier Gallery, this gallery dazzled attendees with its eclectic collection of paintings, costumes, sculptures, photographs and interdisciplinary works.

For more information about the history of The Council’s speaker series and upcoming events, visit www.councilspeakerseries.org.

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.

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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.

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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.