It literally rained on their parade, but about 1,500 people from across the state still participated in the eighth annual Big Texas Rally for Recovery on Saturday, September 29, in San Antonio.
“The rain probably kept us from reaching 2,000, but it was still a good turnout,” said Amelia Reed, co-chair of the 2018 event. “We had participants from all over the state, with nine charter buses from cities including El Paso, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, and Amarillo.”
The highlight of the morning activities saw celebrants defy a steady downpour to ride in the Recovery on the Riverwalk Barge Parade on the San Antonio River. One barge, sponsored by La Hacienda Treatment Center as part of its support of the rally, carried Business Development Representative Jeremy Sosa and several alumni.
“I’ve never seen a group of people so excited to float down the river in a rainy parade; laughing, whooping, and celebrating the gift of life,” said Jeremy.
The rain forced organizers to postpone some events scheduled for the Arneson River Theater—including Tejano singer/songwriter Patsy Torres—and move others inside the nearby La Villita auditorium.
Keynoter Trejo 50 Years in Recovery
That’s where keynote speaker and actor Danny Trejo entertained a full house with stories of his youth, addiction, prison time, and entry into acting in more than 300 movies and TV shows. He’s 74 and been in recovery 50 years.
In his concluding remarks, he emphasized the promises of recovery and the pitfalls of relapse.
“If you’re new to recovery, I promise you have absolutely no idea where your life is going,” he told his audience. “If you stay clean and sober, I guarantee you it will get better day by day. If you go out and get loaded, there are only three alternatives: dying, going insane or going to jail.”
The San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Awareness hosts the Big Texas Rally for Recovery. It began in Austin in 2011.
The rally is part of the annual Recovery Month celebration promoted nationally by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). That observance is designed to increase awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use issues and honor those in recovery.