Danny Trejo Talks About His 48 Years of Sobriety
Author: Justin Mckibben
Danny Trejo is a Mexican- American actor born on May 16, 1944 who has one of those faces almost anyone who has ever seen a movie should recognize, because he has been in so many! The 72 year old celebrity has made appearances in a vast variety of Hollywood blockbusters. He showed up in Heat, Con Air, Desperado, and countless other films. He’s even been in children’s stuff like Spy Kids, and wowed audiences with performances on hit shows such as The X-Files and Breaking Bad.
From video games, music videos and even comic books Danny Trejo is truly a man who has put in his time in the entertainment industry with just about any household name you can think of.
But one of his most courageous adventures has to be his 48 years of sobriety! Trejo says his life actually began in prison, when he finally stopped drinking.
Now, after 48 years of sobriety, Danny Trejo talks about how serving time in the 1960’s has helped make him a rock star in his early 70’s.
Danny Trejo grew up getting into trouble. As a teen Danny was in-and-out of juvenile detention and prison, but it was in his mid-20’s that he made a decision to get sober after being released from prison. At one point the actor and activist stated,
“Everybody asks me, how do you stay so young? I consider myself 48-years-old. That’s when my life started,”
Now, Trejo walks a very different path with a mindset of mentorship.
In recent interviews Danny Trejo got personal about his time spent behind bars in the 60’s. Specifically he talked about one day in 1968 which would change his life forever. Still, 48 years of sobriety later, it is a powerful story.
Trejo was in prison at the time, and had gotten in trouble in the aftermath of a prison riot he and his crew were accused of starting. As he told the story he said,
“We went to the hole and were facing the gas chamber,”
“And I remember asking God, ‘Let me die with dignity. Just let me say goodbye, and if you do, I will say your name every day, and I will do whatever I can for my fellow man.”
Luckily, or maybe it wasn’t luck at all, Trejo didn’t end up in the gas chamber. Instead he was placed on the path that would eventually lead him to making a successful statement as THE Hollywood tough guy who went straight. When he escaped the fate of the gas chamber, he kept his promise and has since devoted his life to acting and coaching troubled youths.
The crazy part is how his moment of clarity in prison ultimately brought him to celebrity status. His prison revelation led him to a career as a drug counselor. During this time Danny Trejo ended up on a Hollywood movie set while helping one of his clients, who turned out to be an actor. Next thing you know, he was hired as an on-set boxing coach. Then suddenly he was cast as an extra in the film.
That small role jumpstarted his acting career, and he has since appeared in up to five movies… a year! His co-stars include actors like George Clooney and Robert De Niro. So the path of a man in recovery working to help others took him to a place where he could experience a whole new lease on life, while continuing to help others.
“I don’t think I am a big Hollywood star. I won’t let myself. I can’t, because I’ve seen too many actors with the feeling of entitlement, and I want to slap the s–t out of them.”
“I help at-risk kids, I go to high schools. I do whatever I can.”
Trejo gratefully acknowledges that having a familiar face through his career as a total bad ass in films… such as the movie Bad Ass he starred in… has helped him communicate with the teens he counsels, and takes his message to a bigger audience.
Tuesday August 23rd, Danny Trejo took to Twitter to announce his 48 year anniversary. Today he continues to push the message that if he can do it, anyone can! With over 4 and a half decades of time in recovery while playing a villain, anti-hero and all-around brawler type macho man, Danny Trejo is one of those gentle giants in his own way.
Many celebrities have found their way to recovery from addiction. Others have tragically been lost to their fight with addiction. Both kinds of stories paint a very powerful picture of how addiction can impact anyone, but also how recovery works for those who seek it.
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