In case you pay no attention to anything related to baseball you knew that Josh Hamilton is an alcoholic and a drug addict.
To let you know how far I've come, let me tell you where I've been.
Not that long ago, there were nights I went to sleep in strange places praying I wouldn't wake up. After another night of bad decisions, I'd lie down with my heart speeding inside my chest like it was about to burst through the skin. My thinking was clouded, and my talent was one day closer to being totally wasted.
I prayed to be spared another day of guilt and depression and addiction. I couldn't continue living the life of a crack addict, and I couldn't stop, either. It was a horrible downward spiral that I had to pull out of, or die. I lay there — in a hot and dirty trailer in the North Carolina countryside, in a stranger's house, in the cab of my pickup — and prayed the Lord would take me away from the nightmare my life had become. — Josh Hamilton
This was written in 2007 and it's a story that is very similar to that of most addicts. For those of you who aren't aware, I'm also an alcoholic and drug addict. Like Hamilton, my drug of choice was crack cocaine. I never prayed the Lord would take me away, but I did pray someone/something/anything would take my life. Perhaps I prayed to Joe Pesci. He looks like a guy who can get things done. Death was easier than living, but the crack runs out when you're dead. So living was my only option because there was no way I was giving that up.
For those wondering, this type of feeling isn't a once a month type of things for addicts. It's every single day. The only time you don't feel like that is when you're high.
I know what Hamilton has been through. I never slept in a hot and dirty trailer in North Carolina, but Hamilton probably never woke up in the middle of the woods without any clue as to which direction to go to get out of it. I never walked down the middle of a highway at night when I high. Hamilton probably didn't stand on a 4th floor balcony ledge thinking he was invincible. I don't know if Hamilton hopped in his car and moved across country in the middle of the night with only the clothes he was wearing. Our stories are different, but they're much the same too.
We are both addicted to the same two drugs. We both put our body's through hell just so we could get high one more time. We both said each time would be our last. We each thought our life would get better and then later on didn't even give a shit if it did. We ruined relationships with women, our friends and family and lost jobs because of our addiction. We ignored others when they tried to talk to us about it. We did some remarkably stupid things. At some point we each realized where our lives were headed and made a change. We had support groups encouraging us along the way.
God didn't save my life like Hamilton says he saved his. My life was saved by the closest friend I've ever had. I had unbelievable help from my family and friends. My parents were and still are the most forgiving parents one can imagine. My friends and family rallied around me as I tried to get sober. They still rally around me as I try to remain sober every day of my life. I've had better luck than Hamilton, but we're both quite fortunate for the friends and family that helped us quit in the first place.
Josh Hamilton recently relapsed. It's not the first time it has happened and it may not even be the second time for all we know. There are those who want us to be outraged by these actions. There are those who feel morally superior to him because of this. There are some who view Hamilton with righteous indignation. The super human athlete has made a human mistake and it's time for these people to pounce on Hamilton.
By the way, I cannot possibly imagine publicly apologizing for this in the way that Hamilton did. I think we have a long way to go as a society if this type of action is necessary. I can god damn guarantee you that this was not his decision to go in front of the microphone and it never should have happened. It's difficult enough apologizing in private to the people who you actually hurt. Publicly apologizing to people undeserving of one is outrageous.
Hamilton apparently had some drinks on Monday. As an addict Hamilton cannot afford to fall into the same pattern that led to him abusing these drugs. It's a very easy pattern to develop. It's probably easier to allow that pattern to develop than it is to prevent it. Actually, I know it is.
As much as people want to be a part of Hamilton's life and inner circle, they are most likely not. As much as a Rangers fan or a baseball fan would like to think this might affect their enjoyment of the game, it probably won't. This is a personal issue for Hamilton, his family, friends and those others in his inner circle. While the Rangers did take a risk in acquiring Hamilton and paying him the kind of money they do, nobody assumes more risk than his friends and family. The ones he can help destroy are the ones who deserve an apology. Hamilton's risk is factored into his pay.
We've all done something destructive in our lives. Whether it's drinking and driving when you're young and stupid, abusing alcohol and/or drugs, committing crimes, smoking, eating too much or not getting enough exercise, itt's probably safe to say that nearly all of the American population has done something destructive to themselves or others. So Josh Hamilton has done something destructive again. Life moves on.
I hope Hamilton confides in those close to him and tries to get past this. If this is a simple relapse it's relatively easy to move on. You simply ignore those who feel superior to you, listen to those close to you and do whatever it was that led you to remaining sober in the first place. I hope it does not become a pattern. If it does it won't be long before he lay there — in a hot and dirty trailer in the North Carolina countryside, in a stranger's house, in the cab of his pickup — and praying the Lord would take him away from the nightmare his life has become.