Josh Hamilton, a professional baseball player and former Major League Baseball MVP who has a highly publicized drug addiction, reportedly suffered a relapse and will face league discipline. This is a sad blog for me to write as Hamilton is one of my all-time favorite baseball players and role models. As a hopeless drug addict several years ago, I read Hamilton’s autobiography detailing his addiction and recovery and immediately connected and gained a ton of hope for someday finding recovery for myself.
Hamilton was the number one draft pick in the MLB and was one of the most highly sought after high school baseball players of all-time. After he was drafted, however, he got involved with the wrong group of people and eventually got addicted to crack cocaine. His addiction went very deep, ultimately resulting in him being banned from playing professional baseball and the sports world labeling him as one of the biggest disappointments ever.
Eventually, Hamilton had enough after several years of crack addiction and turned his life over to God. He gained some lasting sobriety and worked his way back into baseball and developed himself into a household name in the sport. That is when Hamilton wrote his book, inspired thousands with his story of recovery and turned into a role model for thousands more. He eventually signed a contract with the Angels that will pay him a total of $125 million dollars when it’s all said and done.
And now, after he relapsed-reportedly on cocaine and alcohol-we see how powerful the disease of addiction really is. Addiction does not discriminate! It doesn’t care if you are homeless and living on the street or a professional athlete making millions of dollars every year. An addict is an addict and we all deal with a progressive (when not treated) disease that never truly goes away. Oh, how much I wish I didn’t have to write this blog! Writing on the relapse of one of my role models in recovery is not something that excites me. However, when I heard of his relapse, I immediately thought, “Wow, this is one powerful thing we deal with.”
Addiction is so cunning. If we don’t treat our disease every single day, anything can happen. It is so important to deal with this 24 hours at a time because when we don’t, well, this is what happens, even if you’re a famous millionaire. A condition of Hamilton’s reinstatement into baseball was that he be drug tested three times a week. That means Hamilton knew how big of a risk it would be that he would get caught if he ever used, and he still got high. That just shows how fierce of a grip this disease takes on those who battle it.
If something good can come of this story, I hope it’s, one, that Hamilton comes back from this relapse even stronger, and two, that people will realize that recovery needs to be taken serious and treated one day at a time.
One can only hope that Hamilton gets back on his recovery program, whatever that may be, and that the world stops judging him. So many people on social media are ripping him apart, which is a tragedy in itself, to know how far society still has to go to realize what addiction really is, not being a moral deficiency.
If you are reading this, I pray this touches you in some way down deep in your heart. A man, struggling with his addiction, the whole sports world watching him, many trashing him. Say a prayer for him, and say a prayer for you or anyone else battling this disease. It does not ever go away, and we can never, ever, take our guard down.
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