Nearly all of us are familiar with the story of the Wizard of Oz…Dorothy gets whisked away from her farm in Kansas by a powerful tornado and she finds herself trapped in the magical Land of Oz. From there, she sets out on an adventure with her new friends to meet the wizard and find her way home.
Pat O’Brien, New York Times best-seller and former sports broadcaster, recently keynoted Rosecrance’s second annual Launch to Life Benefit on September 26, where he compared his battle with addiction to the classic film— Wizard of Oz.
“I thought ‘My God, I am Dorothy,’” said O’Brien. He, like Dorothy, was lost, trapped, isolated and alone.
“Of course, clicking my heels together wasn’t the answer to get out of alcoholism,” he added, “but I realized you can always come home again.”
As O’Brien shared the mic with the world’s rich and famous, he battled an infamous public scandal, addiction and demons that nearly killed him. He revealed the highs and lows of his recovery with nearly 200 attendees who gathered for the benefit, including Rosecrance staff and board members, community leaders and donors.
When talking about addiction, he said: “It’s a disease. It’s an obsession, but it doesn’t have to just be the way it is… all this treatment works, if you do the work.”
Now, after nearly nine years of sobriety, O’Brien attends five AA meetings a week. He serves as a reminder that getting help and seeking treatment truly can make all the difference.
In addition to hearing speaker Pat O’Brien, benefit attendees gathered for a luncheon, a raffle drawing with prizes ranging from private airplane rides to Cubs tickets, and the opportunity to network with other professionals in Chicago who support behavioral health services.
Greg Orput, Rosecrance Foundation Chicago board member, said: “We tend to do what we do in a vacuum because people are afraid to talk about it. Events like this bring the topic out of the darkness and into the light. It allows for the opportunity to give a face and a voice to addiction.”
The benefit raised money to support young adults in early recovery accessing life-saving programs at Rosecrance Lakeview Recovery Home and Facility in Chicago.
The care that Rosecrance provides is truly a gift,” said John McDonough, chairman of Rosecrance Chiacgo Board, “a gift of recovery and of hope.”
Stephanie Van Vlerah, Rosecrance board member, described the benefit attendees as the connection that helps sustain the miracle that is recovery
She added: “The people you help may never know your names, but in their hearts they will be forever grateful.”