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Macklemore and CLEAN Cause's "Drink to This" video series supports addiction recovery.

When visions align, partnerships become powerful catalysts for change.

Grammy award winning musician Macklemore (Ben Haggerty), a long-time advocate for recovery, has teamed up with CLEAN Cause, a beverage company dedicated to helping individuals find freedom from substance abuse.

CLEAN Cause donates 50% of its net profits (or 5% net revenues, whichever is greater) to fund sober living scholarships.

This type of financial support helps rebuild stability, something that's crucial during the recovery process. And as the second ranking yerba mate beverage company, that’s no small sum.

Nearly 3,000 scholarships have already been financially backed, amounting to close to $1.5 million.

Stepping into the role of CLEAN Cause’s new creative director, Haggerty will lend not only his artistic vision, but his own personal mission to raise awareness.


CLEAN Cause's first bit of content with the Macklemore stamp will be a touching series aptly titled “Drink To This,” where real people share their unique (and yet universal) stories of recovery.

Though the series has not dropped yet, you can get a taste for it in the video below:

In the video, we see people raise a glass (or can, rather) to things both simple and profound, and often taken for granted: family, health, peace of mind, second chances and healing, to name a few.

And of course, there's a heartfelt nod to the clarity of sobriety. All set to Haggerty’s distinctly soulful piano music.

The real triumph of this piece is that we see the road to recovery does not have to be a bleak, arduous task. And it is not reserved for the lucky few.

The people in this video come in all shapes and sizes. But one defining trait is shared: They all carry a sort of heroic grace, the kind only possessed by those who truly journeyed through darkness into light.

That kind of transformation is nothing short of inspiring.

The video ends with voice of Macklemore saying:

"To anyone in recovery ... to anyone who loves someone in recovery ... to anyone who needs recovery ... to anyone, anywhere, on the road to recovery ... to anyone who wants to help those in recovery ... drink to this."

It's simple, powerful and moving. And I cannot wait to see more.

In a recent press release, Haggerty shared his own motivations behind the partnership:

“I chose to align with and endorse a Brand that is at the forefront of creating awareness for addiction and actively supporting the recovery community. As Creative Director and a new investor of the already impactful brand, I am excited to combine my creative passions with a great product in an effort to save lives. Together, our goal is to inspire and educate individuals on addiction and support those who are in recovery.”

The famed rapper has been candid about his own journey with substance abuse, not only through his music, but in interviews as well. He even recently opened up about a relapse during the pandemic on an episode of Dax Shepard’s podcast, “Armchair Expert.”

Haggerty is not an isolated case of relapse. The American Medical Association reports that every state in the U.S. has had an increase in overdoses and drug-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Addiction is already closely linked with loneliness, only to be exacerbated by stresses of the pandemic. Now more than ever, hope, support and empowerment are vital, making this new collaboration incredibly timely.

If you are wanting to help support CLEAN Cause, you can find their beverages at multiple retailers.

And if you’re currently in recovery and seeking support, you can apply for a scholarship here.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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