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NFL Hero, ALS Fighter Steve Gleason Receives Congressional Gold Medal

Our greatest strength as a species has been our ability to bravely share our weaknesses and vulnerabilities with each other.  Some incredibly powerful words from Steve Gleason, a former NFL hero who is currently battling ALS, as he accepted his Congressional Gold Medal earlier today.

If you are unaware of the incredible story, Steve became a hero for the entire city of New Orleans as member of the Saints during the 2006-2007 season. Following 21 months of no football in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina, the Saints played a home game for the first time in front of their loyal, beloved fan base.  Steve famously blocked a punt, which led to a Saints touchdown- their first in front of the hometown fans in nearly two years.  The play did not only change the game, but Steve literally ignited a city that had been without hope for so long.

Goosebumps.

Steve retired from football in 2008 to spend time with his loving family. Tragically, in 2011, Steve announced that he would begin his battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  The disease is devastating, and once diagnosed, the results are soon to be fatal.

Steve has transformed into a beacon of hope for those struggling with ALS, and for the families of loved ones who are crippled by the disease.  He created Team Gleason, an organization that provides community support and awareness for those struggling with ALS.  For his incredible efforts, the US Government recognized him today with the Congressional Gold Medal.

We wanted to recognize Steve for his incredible accomplishment to those who are suffering. In particular, for those in recovery, a quote from the award ceremony really hit us hard.

Our greatest strength as a species has been our ability to bravely share our weaknesses and vulnerabilities with each other.

Addiction brings loneliness, pain, and suffering to all that are involved.  We can’t possibly fathom that one day, if we learn to live sober lives, we could actually be of service to our fellow man.

We don’t have to become saints.  Often, the first step in helping others is being honest and sharing our story.  As addicts and alcoholics in recovery, we have the opportunity to reach and help a segment of the population that no one else on the planet can help.  Our stories, no matter how painful and chaotic they are, can help the next guy persevere through his struggles. Our message carries depth and weight because we have been there.  We can bring hope to those that have none.

No matter how far down the scale we have fallen, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

If you or a loved one are struggling please do not hesitate to reach out.