South Mississippi Strong: Todd Trenchard opens up about addiction and second chances
Bacot McCarty Executive Director enjoying success after more than 20 years sober
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - For many, the struggle with alcohol and drug dependency is a battle they think can’t be won. The Bacot McCarty Foundation Executive Director Todd Trenchard is an example of how a life can turn around. Todd went from the rock bottom of addiction to the heights of fundraising and philanthropy.
Born in New Orleans, Trenchard appeared to be off to a good start after graduating from college and heading into the world, but it wasn’t long before his life began to spiral.
“I found out, you know, that I had this thing that when I took a drink, I couldn’t stop,” he said. “And then it sort of sneaks up on you. And it takes a little more and little more, and when you think it can’t get worse, it gets a lot worse.”
Todd's addiction nearly took his life.
“Eventually, I squandered a very large inheritance and ended up really on death’s door,” he said.
He tried hard to kick the addiction, making his way to 40 different rehab centers across the country until finally, he landed in South Mississippi.
“My mother had given up on me, and in an act of desperation, found a place over here in Mississippi called the Home of Grace,” said Trenchard. “My mother and her maid brought me over here one day, and she drove off. And it was many years before I got to see her again. I like to say when she brought me here it wasn’t to get sober. She was bringing me here to die.”
He remembers seeing her drive away vividly.
“I know it had to be hard for her to drive away,” he said. “When we finally did reconnect, I was able to spend, I guess, the next decade showing my mother that a life could change. I eventually moved my mother over here to the Gulf Coast, bought the house next door to mine, and took care of my mother until the day she died.”
Through a long stay at Home of Grace, Todd was able to get a hold of his addiction. It was that drive that got him back into the business world and eventually with an opportunity to give back.
“I ended up leaving the Home of Grace and going to Ocean Springs, ended up getting involved in my community. Some doors started opening that, you look back on, you think are a coincidence. It’s not,” said Trenchard. “God was literally opening doors. I guess was fortunate in some ways to come up with an idea, along with Royce Cumbest, to start a foundation that we could honor Jolly McCarty.”
Fifteen years later, the Bacot McCarty Foundation has raised nearly $10 million and helped numerous other organizations raise even more money on the Coast. Todd believes, after more than 20 years sober, the demons he faced down and the milestones he’s achieved show just how much can be accomplished, no matter how low you go.
“I look at it like an awesome responsibility. Anytime I’m asked to talk about it, I try to say yes because you never know who you’re going to reach out there,” he said. “It’s allowed me to show, or for God to show through me, what you can do if you do address those demons that you might have in your closet.”
And it's a responsibility he accepts if it means someone else can find their way back from addiction.
“It’s never too late, and again my life is just one of many examples of that,” Trenchard said.
Copyright 2018 WLOX. All rights reserved.