Audrey & Wes: Crafting a Clean Drink for a Good Cause
Dallas Doing Good Founder, Jan Osborn, is always on the lookout for someone in the community who has found a new way to help people. Even when she is grocery shopping! Today we are brining you a quick story about Clean Cause, a sparkling tea that is supporting the recovery community.
One afternoon last week I was making my daily run to Whole Foods to pick up groceries for dinner and ran across Audrey G. Audrey was working behind a stand in the beverage section and I couldn’t help but notice her happy personality. Even though I don’t care for sparkling water, I was intrigued by the sign that read “50% Profits Support Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Addiction.” So I stopped and asked Audrey her story. Audrey has been in recovery since October 24, 2018. She had lost her job in the travel industry after 30 years and a woman from Oxford House told her about a job opportunity with Clean Cause. Audrey recently accepted a new job in the travel industry but looks forward to working on weekends with Clean Cause. As soon as I got home, I googled Clean Cause and learned about Wes Hurt, the Founder, and reached out to him with some questions about how he got started. Here is what I learned:
Tell us a little bit about your story and how you came up with the idea for Clean Cause.
The reality is that my story isn’t all that different from most addicts and alcoholics. I began drinking and smoking pot in my teens - sound familiar? Shortly after high school I started experimenting with hard drugs. Daily drinking was already the norm, but my drug use started gaining momentum. For the next decade I used almost anything put in front of me. Let’s be honest, most people experiment in their younger years – but the difference between myself and “most people” is that once I started, not only could I not stop, I didn’t want to stop.
Throughout my late 20’s and into my early 30’s, I somehow managed to build a successful cupcake business (yeah, cupcakes!), under the influence of drugs and alcohol almost everyday.
During that time, what started as me popping a couple ‘innocent’ pills led to me to depending upon roughly 35 Vicodin daily. When opiates weren’t enough, I added smoking crack to the mix. My addiction was insatiable.
Negative consequences weren’t enough to stop it. Six stints in rehab, one in a psych ward; the deterioration of my marriage and complete loss of trust from everyone I loved; getting fired as CEO of my own company; rolling a car in Hollywood; two DUI’s; jail time, injuries and finally, sleeping on the floor in an office of a beat up warehouse – still weren’t enough.
So what was the turning point? It was in the wee hours of the morning. I was in that office, lying on the floor, staring up at the ceiling. My heart did something I had never felt before, an eery fluttering for some time. For the first time, I honestly thought addiction would take my life, that night or eventually.
The next day, I told my wife I didn’t think I was going to live much longer. She had taken the tough love position and had refused to watch me die around her…but that night, she asked me to come home “right now” if I wanted to get CLEAN. I’m not certain exactly why she did, but I feel as though she felt my desperation on a different level. And although the voice of my addiction screamed “no,” I knew it was time.
They say it’s darkest before the dawn. Cliché, but true. Through God's grace, my relationship with my best friend and amazing wife (Sheila) has been restored, I’m a father of two sons (Jude & Otis), and I’ve found purpose and joy in my work with CLEAN Cause.
Why did you choose to create a drink to represent your brand?
We started with the brand name. Beverages seemed like a natural fit for the name CLEAN and our drink is a clean source of caffeine using Yerba Mate.
What exactly is Yerba Mate?
Consumed for thousands of years in South America, Yerba Mate is a tea that that contains 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, and is packed with polyphenols. It's high in natural caffeine and is known to have a "smooth release of energy.”
We know your work started in Austin, how is it expanding into Dallas?
We have several key retailers that have a presence in Dallas and have expanded to those locations including Whole Foods, HEB, Central Market as well as several awesome independents such as JuiceLand.
How have you seen people in recovery impacted by your brand?
I think our brand inspires both folks in recovery and those cheering for them. That said, to date, we have granted over 500 sober living scholarships representing more than $250,000. Our giveback initiative coined "CLEAN Kickstarts" are 30-day sober living scholarships that allow an individual fresh out of rehab or jail the opportunity to focus on getting a job and establishing a recovery support system.
How can someone get involved with Clean Cause?
Spread the word! Buy a drink in the stores or online! Just send us some good vibes!
If you know someone who is Doing Good in Dallas, we'd love to hear about it! Share their story with us.
Story by Jan Osborn. Photos provided by Clean Cause.