PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A former professional baseball player who overcame addiction and turned his life around was given a special honor in New Jersey on Monday.
Officials in Paterson honored substance abuse counselor Michael Jackson with a Key to the City.
Jackson was a pitcher in the '70s for the Phillies, Cardinals, Royals and Indians.
Off the field, Jackson struggled with alcohol and drug abuse. His addiction cost him his career and landed him in and out of prison.
Now he is 36 years sober and works as a drug counselor for men battling substance abuse.
"Receiving this Key to the City was totally a surprise to me, in all sincerity, walk with god, the maker and giver of all good and perfect gifts, because what I went through, he was preparing his purpose for me," Jackson said.
Jackson works for the Straight and Narrow, the Catholic Diocese of Paterson's substance abuse program, the same group that helped him recover and get his life back on track.
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