Actor Danny Trejo – who just reached 47 years of sobriety – says that he is thankful for the blessing and responsibility that recovery has given him.
“What a blessing [God has] bestowed upon me,” Trejo says, speaking in an AARP video. “I love that responsibility of helping people do right. I was an addict and an alcoholic and I know that road. That road leads to death, institutions or insanity. I've been sober for  years and I've had a great great life.”
Trejo began acting out when he was young.
“My parents didn't really have enough time for a wild kind of kid, so I was left to run wild.”
He spent lots of time in juvenile institutions and eventually jail, until he realized that it was time to change his life.
“I thought that drugs were my answer – as long as I stay loaded I'm ok – but my life turned into choas,” he said.
Throughout his life, he had excelled at boxing, and even in prison he repeatedly became a boxing champion.
When he got out of prison for the last time, Trejo says that he knew where he had to focus his attention.
“I dedicated my life to helping other people,” he said.
Trejo became a drug counselor, and one day visited a young man he was mentoring, who was having trouble staying sober around lots of drugs at work. That man's job was on set for the film “Runaway Train.” While Trejo was there someone recognized him as a boxing champion, and asked him to teach the actors how to box. Trejo ended up staring in the film, which kicked off his Hollywood career.
“Everything good that has happened to me has happened as a direct result of helping someone else,” he said.
“My passion is talking to young kids who want to stay out of trouble. My message is that staying away from drugs and alcohol and education is the key to anything that you want to do.”