Staying Out of Josh Hamilton’s Relapse

Just yesterday I was talking about Dolly Parton songs along side a picture of a glitter guitar and today I’m talking about the world of sports. Go figure. Granted I’m more drawn to the former than the latter but this story about Josh Hamilton riled me and got me thinking about my own relapse.

Josh Hamilton from ESPN Magazine

Hamilton is well-known for his incredible talent and his long battle with drugs and alcohol. The Texas Rangers outfielder was allegedly seen drinking at a Texas bar causing “respected” news sites to print stories entitled “Josh Hamilton reportedly has alcohol relapse.” All I could think of when I saw these headlines was, “Ouch.” Having a relapse judged and put under the media microscope sounds horrific indeed. My heart went out to the guy.

Now I know nothing about Hamilton and his character. In fact, having me blog about baseball is a little like having a vegan describe the menu at Outback Steakhouse. But I do know about relapse. In 2008, I really tried to stay sober all by myself. Without any support or asking for help, I limped along in a state of miserable dryness. After 70 days, “I thought I got this.” Recently, I found an old journal from that time and I feel sorry for that guy. He was doomed to relapse. He was dry but he wasn’t recovering. I read this passage from the journal that nearly made me cry:

“I’m trying to dodge bullets, trying to breathe, trying to still love life, trying to meet my problems full on and all the while I’m trying to figure out ‘Now What?’ Drinking was an issue and addiction is an issue for me. I’m trying to take it easy but I fear I’m hiding out.” 

And I was hiding. I didn’t want to drink but I didn’t want to face who I was. I was terrified and naturally I relapsed two months later with a journal entry that begins:

“So I had a stumbling moment this weekend. I had too much wine.”

I write about it not being a big deal and that I could go back to being sober but as I read it now, the writing was clearly on the wall. I couldn’t stay sober after that and six months later my life truly imploded. It was humiliating and difficult enough relapsing in front of my circle of friends. I can’t imagine doing that in front of the  entire world.

The Los Angeles Times says that Hamilton has been sober since 2005 but later in the article also notes “The only other time Hamilton broke his sobriety was in 2009 when he said he questioned his Christian faith and it led to a night of drinking at a bar in Tempe, Ariz.” Huh? Most recovery people I know would say Hamilton’s old 2005 sobriety date wouldn’t count after the Tempe incident. And maybe the media’s ignorance is part of the reason we don’t have compassion for those who do relapse.  But who cares and the whole point I’m getting at is when or if Hamilton or Lindsay or anybody else has relapsed, it’s none of  my business. Part of not drinking the haterade anymore for me is not judging anyone else’s sobriety. Or weight loss. Or weight gain. Or relationship status. It’s a tall freaking order. Especially when we live around these kinds of headlines. But ultimately, I’m better off when I take care of myself and shut the hell up. And oddly enough, staying out of others’ business helps me get further away from another drink or a relapse of my own.

3 thoughts on “Staying Out of Josh Hamilton’s Relapse

  1. I was at a step study with some women from my home group recently, and one of the ladies there who has 25+ years under her belt (and has been around here for a good long while) said that in one of her previous groups, there was a famous person who attended meetings a few times. There was one regular who got all googly-eyed every time this famous person came. I feel sorry for celebrities in this regard. They can’t have sobriety the same way us “normal” (hah!) people can. I can only imagine what it would feel like to have my own personal shortcomings judged and misunderstood and blasted in headlines. Some people would say, “Well, that’s what they get for being famous, it comes in the job description!” but I disagree. I think we live in a world of nosey people who are constantly more concerned about other people, instead of their own damn selves.

    Myself included.

    Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    • Great reply, G. And tearing down famous people for me is proof that I’m living the cliche “hurt people hurt people.” Yeah I got sober in LA and we had some celebs at meetings. Sadly, their chances of sober seem even slimmer. The removal of ego is tough for talented folks who have people around them enabling and applauding their behavior. But it’s possible. One Oscar winner was the secretary at a meeting I used to go to and he was amazing but was the first to tell you how tough it was to stay humble. He’s been sober for decades and even picks up non-celebrities and takes them to meetings!

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