For many, music is a transformative passion. One of the oldest forms of art, music is a transcript of the soul. Whether consuming or creating this artform, it allows one to find themself. Unfortunately, finding oneself can sometimes be a dark path, wrought with mental health and addiction issues. A fact Austin O’Meara knows all too well. With little to no guidance, Austin navigated the music industry as best he could, but women and drugs were practically thrown at him. Those that surrounded Austin just thought he just enjoyed drugs, they didn’t realize he was actually an addict—a secret he kept between him and his substances.
A resident of multiple treatment facilities before finding Beit T’Shuvah. Austin was lost. He’d been a successful artist in the music industry, producing popular songs, and playing in front of thousands. Unfortunately, he made one too many mistakes in his addiction and his record label dropped him. No longer able to fall onto the cushion of his parents’ help, he entered Beit T’Shuvah in 2019 out of necessity. Setting him up to walk a path he’d never expected.
Austin’s path was an endless cycle of using his father’s insurance to enter a rehab facility, leave, get high, rinse, and repeat. He spent his time at these rehabs just resting before re-entering his addiction in the outside world. Treatment facility after treatment facility did little to help Austin. His life was going nowhere, fast. A tragedy for anyone, whether or not they were as musically talented as Austin. Inevitably he aged out of his father’s insurance and had to find a new nesting ground for his wheel of addiction. Learning of Beit T’Shuvah and their new Medi-Cal program, he quickly signed up for the state insurance and started the admissions process.
Austin hadn’t even known about the music department when he first entered the doors of 8831 Venice Boulevard. He just needed somewhere to get his life back together, and BTS was there for him with open arms. He soon found the band and the recording studio, breaking the chains of his addiction for the first time. Having the ability to make music in recovery really struck a chord with Austin. Before long, he started interning for the music department, playing in the band, running the sound board, and helping other residents record their music. He inevitably graduated and moved on to other opportunities, but Beit T’Shuvah is, as we all know, “The House of Return” which Austin quickly took literally.
In late 2021, after falling on hard times, Austin returned to the house. Just as before, he pulled himself back together and returned to his passion: music. Soon, he reclaimed his position as a music department intern. He made it his mission to dedicate his free time to every musical aspect of our sanctuary’s services, and the spiritual elements of our musically inclined residents. Austin made an impact on those he worked with, and not long after graduating the treatment program, was asked to return as our new Audio Manager.
Now a fully fledged staff member of the Beit T’Shuvah team, Austin is excited for his new career. He relishes the opportunity to help residents in their recovery through recording their songs and working to make services a spiritual experience every week. A career in music has always been the path he expected, but, after his bumpy road, he had long given up on that dream. He certainly never expected to have the opportunity to manage a recording studio at a Jewish treatment center. Whatever directions his life unexpectedly took, he’s extremely happy with the destination he’s finally had the honor of reaching. Every note, every chord, every song, has led him to this…to recovery, to passion, to himself.