PODCAST: This triathlete beat addiction. Now he’s set on helping others cross the finish line, too
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When triathlete Todd Crandell covered the course at the Honu IRONMAN on the Kohala Coast, his thoughts turned to people trapped by alcohol and drug addiction.
He carries that mindset into every triathlon he enters.
“I think of the people that are struggling, and I think of the people that didn’t make it,” he said.
His reasoning is deeply personal.
Crandell’s own addiction to alcohol began when he was just 13 years old, trying to drown the trauma of his mother’s addiction and suicide.
“For the next 13 years, my life consisted of all the horror stories that addiction brings — jails, homelessness and all that stuff,” he said.
In 1993, Crandell hit rock bottom with a third DUI arrest that he calls “God’s gift.”
“Ever since that day, I’ve been on a physical, spiritual and emotional quest to improve as a human being. Forming Racing for Recovery in 2001, I decided to give my blessings back in service to other people,” he said.
Through his Ohio-based non-profit Racing for Recovery, Crandell and a team of licensed clinicians help people find sobriety through in-person treatment and online counseling.
IRONMAN events enable the 55-year-old to spread the word.
“I’m using the IRONMAN as an awesome platform to share the message of recovery and hope for everyone,” he said.
Crandell’s addict to IRONMAN journey has been covered by ESPN and news outlets all over the U.S. It’s the subject of a book and a documentary film.
The publicity opens doors.
“I’ve spoken to thousands of kids, and I will meet each one individually. Some of the stories that these young kids share with me about what’s going on at home are horrific,” he said.
Crandell believes anyone facing addiction can find help at his website RacingforRecovery.org, where they can join a weekly support group.
“That’s one of the things that Racing for Recovery was the first one to do, was not only have a support group meeting format for everyone, but now livestream that broadcast on our YouTube and Facebook pages,” he said.
Crandell has done 94 triathlons on his road to 100, which will be in Kona in October.
He enjoys the physical challenge of pushing his body to the limit. He especially appreciates the time it gives him to focus on his mission to end addiction, and to help as many people as he can cross that finish line.
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