Former Packer Chester Marcol speaks about recovery at annual picnic

At one point in his life, Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Chester Marcol was on his way up….

packer-recoveryHe was a second-round draft pick for the green and gold in 1972 under head coach Dan Devine. He scored a whopping 128 points as a placekicker his rookie year and was named NFC Rookie of the Year and All-Pro.

He had a rough childhood — moving from Poland to the United States at age 14 after his father completed suicide. He knew little English.

Sports got him through, he said during a phone interview from his job as a counselor at Libertas Treatment Center in Green Bay.

But in 1980, it all began to unravel.

Marcol, 66, will talk about his years of addiction, 21 stints in rehab facilities, his suicide attempt and how he lives day-to-day during a recovery celebration in Chippewa Falls at L.E. Phillips-Libertas Treatment Center’s annual picnic on Saturday, Sept. 10.

The treatment center offers the celebration each year for those in recovery to gather, and for the public to become more knowledgeable about addiction.

Marcol spent time at the treatment center in 2004.

“I was only there for seven or eight days, if that,” he said. “I was coming off a big binge and things were going astray.”

Marcol may be best known for his blocked kick and subsequent touchdown to win a tied game against the Chicago Bears in September 1980. But that was the beginning of his career’s end. He admits that he was high on cocaine during that game.

 “It was no different than using pain killers,” he said. “I used pain killers for years. Nobody ever thought of that as a problem. People were taking pain killers like they were candy. It was normal behavior.”

A month after his win against the Bears, Marcol was cut by then-head coach Bart Starr.

“I was so scared because I needed to ask for help,” he said. “Little did I know that my job was going to be removed anyway.”

Marcol signed with the Houston Oilers for the rest of the season, playing in only one game, which was against Green Bay.

Six years later, in 1986, Marcol attempted suicide. He survived and has lasting health effects.

He skirts questions about his length of sobriety. The number of days, weeks, months, years isn’t important to him, he said.

“I respect recovery a huge, big deal. But to me, number in the long run doesn’t mean very much. I’ve seen some tragic things,” he said. “Regardless of how much respect I have for the number of years in recovery, I’m no further away than someone who has been sober for two months or two weeks.”

In his position as a counselor for Libertas in Green Bay – an adolescent alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility that provides outpatient treatment to adults – Marcol is able to use what he’s learned throughout his life, coupled with his education to make a difference in the lives of others.

He understands. That’s why he takes time to speak to the public about his life with addiction.

“When people come to recovery, most of the time they are hopeless,” he said. “We want to give them a different direction. It’s about providing people with hope.” Article Link…

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