Sean Sutton wants to give hope, encouragement to those affected by addiction

Three years sober, Sutton will speak at “Night of Hope,” an event designed to encourage those who are in need of recovery, those who are in recovery and those who are helping with recovery.
by Berry Tramel Modified: August 15, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: August 14, 2013
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Sean Sutton was stubborn. Competitive. He kept thinking he could handle addiction by himself.

“I don't have to do this the way everybody else does it,” Sutton kept telling himself. “Time and time again, I failed.”

Sutton needed help. Which is why he'll be at Quail Springs Baptist Church on Thursday night. Not to get help. This time, to give it.

To give hope and encouragement and a helping hand to anyone affected by addiction. Addicts, people in recovery, family members wounded by a loved one's demon.

Three years sober, Sutton will speak at “Night of Hope,” an event designed to encourage those who are in need of recovery, those who are in recovery and those who are helping with recovery.

“The best way to maintain sobriety is to reach out and make a difference in other people's lives,” Sutton said. “Help other people.

“I let a lot of people down. I promised myself at that time I was going to try to make a difference. Hopefully I've been able to help some.”

“Night of Hope” is being hosted by Hope is Alive Ministries. Director Lance Lang is a recovering addict himself.

“I want it to be a celebration of recovery, and a celebration of hope,” Lang said. “Celebrate those who have changed their lives. We want to provide them the hope they can find sobriety.”

Lang's champion is Jim Riley, who also will speak on the program. The former Sooner and Miami Dolphin player, a recovering alcoholic himself, has run Jim Riley Outreach since 1986.

“Jim intervened on me, changed my life, changed my heart,” Lang said. “Jim's been an integral part of my story.”

That's the kind of role Sutton now hopes to play.

He squandered his OSU coaching career; fired in 2008 after three years as head coach and 12 as an assistant at his alma mater.

Sutton began taking painkillers in 2002 and became addicted. In 2010, he was charged with four felony drug counts relating to illegally obtaining prescriptions. Sutton eventually pleaded guilty, and his record was expunged because he completed the requirements of his probation. Which included rehab.

Sutton spent 115 days at Cirque Lodge, a Utah drug rehab center, and says he's been sober since two days after his arrest.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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