Danny Trejo Believes He Would Be in Prison or Dead if He Didn’t Get Sober

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Danny Trejo was honored by Los Angeles drug and alcohol treatment center CRI-Help Friday night during its 50th anniversary drive-in celebration at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

The “Desperado” actor, who has been sober for nearly 53 years, was presented with the inaugural Vanguard Award for his work and advocacy of the recovery community by his filmmaker son, Gilbert Trejo. “Everything from Aug. 23, 1968 to now is just like a dream,” Danny Trejo told Variety, referring to his sobriety date. “I’ve got nothing to complain about. I’ve got nothing to fix.”

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He has been involved with CRI-Help since it first opened. “You get to see moms who should never be near a kid become soccer moms and drive a minivan,” the actor said. “You see dads who you’d think would still be in prison coaching little league baseball teams. CRI-Help is really one of God’s tools.”

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Trejo’s children, Gilbert and Danielle Trejo, both got help at CRI-Help when they were struggling with addiction. Gilbert Trejo has nearly seven years clean while his sister has almost eight years. “My kids are my greatest accomplishment,” Danny Trejo said. “I just adore them. But I wouldn’t have them if I didn’t get sober. If I didn’t get clean and sober, there’s no doubt that I’d still be in prison or dead. It’s that simple because that’s the train I was on. The only thing that stopped it was the program.”

Also honored during the event were CRI-Help’s Jack Bernstein and Marlene Nadel. The evening included dinner from Trejo’s Tacos as well as a screening of the Brett Harvey-directed documentary “Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo.”

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