A former NFL star who fell into a pattern of drug and alcohol abuse before his recovery will share his story on Tuesday at A Chance to Change's Celebration of Recovery. Edmond resident Jim Riley played football for the Miami Dolphins from 1967 to 1973 after a playing for coach Bud Wilkinson at the University of Oklahoma. He was a member of the 1972 team that was the first in NFL history to go undefeated for an entire season. The Dolphins won the Super Bowl after that season and the next. But instead of Riley's outstanding football career, Tuesday's event will celebrate his victory over his addictions, which began while he played for the Dolphins and ended when his family and friends staged an intervention July 16, 1985. After that, he spent six weeks in rehab in Arizona. “I didn't grow up until I was 40,” said Riley, 66, in a phone interview. “That's when I went into treatment. ... There's a lot more to life than I thought there was.” Today, Riley and his wife, Robin, help run a separate addiction recovery outreach ministry that bears his name. They founded Jim Riley Outreach Inc. in 1986 to help families move into a life of recovery from addiction, with a focus on healing and hope. It offers support groups, sober living/mentoring homes, personal development classes and Bible studies. Riley also speaks to various groups on awareness and prevention. Riley primarily works with men; his wife, the women. Over the years of helping addicts, Riley said he has learned that addictive behaviors in men usually develop when they try to mask fear, guilt, shame and pain. They also use anger as a tool, which he acknowledges was a problem for him. “I was paid to be an angry person. Playing professional football is not exactly a normal lifestyle,” he said. “We were actually paid to act crazy, just to be nuts, and we thought that was normal.” Fostering recovery In addition to being the speaker, Riley is the honoree at A Chance to Change's celebration, for which University of Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops is honorary chairman and Jamie Reineke is event chairman. Each year, the organization tries to honor someone who has helped people with recovery, said Executive Director Jo Ann Pearce. And Riley has dedicated the 26 years since he became sober to doing so. “We think it's inspiring and it helps people to understand that people do recover from addiction and live great, full lives and are part of the community,” she said. A Chance to Chance was established 33 years ago as the first drug and alcohol treatment center in Oklahoma City, she said. The group started with adolescents but now has an outpatient center at 5228 Classen Circle. It offers prevention and education programs about substance abuse and other addictions, including gambling, sex and spending. Pearce said she looked forward to hearing Riley's story. “He's a guy with a lot of personality and he's had an interesting life, and he almost lost it,” she said. Tickets are no longer available for the Celebration of Recovery, but for more information about the organization, go to www.achancetochange.org or call 840-9000. For more information about the Jim Riley Outreach ministry, go online to jimrileyoutreach.org.