Former addict helps others get sober - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Former addict helps others get sober

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Country singer Mindy McCready died Sunday of a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Over the last decade she was known more for her substance abuse than her voice. The body of the 37-year-old singer was discovered on her front porch in Arkansas, in the same spot where her boyfriend committed suicide last month. According to People Magazine, McCready tried to commit suicide four times, was arrested several times and made at least three trips to rehab.

As you know McCready's story is an all too familiar one. Substance abuse is a pervasive problem around the country and right here in our backyard. A local man who was a substance abuser for more than a decade has not only turned his life around, but he's helping others battle their addictions

Todd Crandell says he was a hard core addict, on some days downing two bottles of whiskey along with cocaine and heroin. He hit rock bottom 20 years ago after his third drunk driving arrest and for the last 12 years he has been helping others.

Crandell is the founder of Racing for Recovery, a non-profit that helps addicts and their families. He says he began abusing drugs and alcohol when he was just 13 years old. Crandell says during his battle for sobriety he realized the traditional rehabilitation programs weren't enough for him.

So he chose the grueling Ironman triathlon to help rebuild his life. He has competed in 23 full length Ironman triathlons across the world. He uses fitness and health to help rebuild shattered lives, "The pain doesn't always go away, but you learn that you don't have to use drugs and alcohol to deal with it and that is the victory of sobriety. I got there by the grace of God, persistence, commitment and a lot of support. Our meetings are geared toward everybody affected by the addiction. They are unique, cutting edge. We are here to find the reasons why people are hurting."

Crandell has helped thousands of people with their battle back to sobriety.

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