In the 1990s, Todd Bird was a Hollywood nightlife mover and shaker and promoter. He opened Hollywood’s first mixed martial arts gym at the turn of the millennium. In the years that followed, he soared in the call-center business. However, Bird’s drug addiction ran concurrent with his work ethic, causing him to exhaust his financial resources, his family’s patience and his ability to buy insurance to afford treatment.
At his lowest point, Bird got a break when he found a spot at Beit T’Shuvah Los Angeles, a treatment center with full-service congregation offering religious services, holiday celebrations and study. With the spiritual guidance of Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff and a lot of hard work, Bird successfully completed the program in 15 months. Soon after, he was back on track professionally as a business and marketing consultant for a variety of startup companies and small businesses.
This past summer, however, he realized just how fortunate he was when he got to know a young drug addict who called herself “Allie McStruggles.”
“She had no money, health insurance or support,” he said. “I started making phone calls on her behalf to every treatment place I knew that had a subsidized bed. We ran into roadblocks with the free places I knew about, because a law had just been passed that nonviolent drug offenders were sent to treatment centers rather than jail. This meant all the places that would have taken her free of charge were filled. One place said they could only help her if she got arrested, and she did not want to get arrested.”