Josh Hamilton – From Athlete to Addict to Recovery

Published On: October 2, 20165.7 min read1141 wordsCategories: Addiction Treatment And Rehab, Recovery

When you’re in recovery for an addiction, it is the main focus of your life at that moment. That is because addiction is a condition that has an underlying cause, which can be managed and maintained.

However, when you’re a famous athlete, many people choose not to see your addiction and focus on what makes you famous and that can push you towards relapse. Just ask Major League Baseball star, Josh Hamilton. At Freedom Detox, we specialize in helping people with drug rehabilitation in Charlotte NC. Keep reading to learn more.

From Athlete to Addict to Recovery

Josh Hamilton was born and raised right here in Charlotte, North Carolina. He played little league baseball growing up and his career took off in 1999 when he was chosen as the number one overall draft pick by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Hamilton reportedly never touched drugs or alcohol during his youth and teenage years. Before the 2001 season, Hamilton was involved in a car accident with his parents. Because of the need for medication for the injuries he sustained, he started experimenting with drugs. He attempted rehab once during this year while still playing ball.

In the two years following, Hamilton used drugs on and off before his team, the Devil Rays, noticed a change and sent him to the Betty Ford Center for rehab. Hamilton failed his first drug test during spring training in 2003 and after being late to practice quite a few times, Hamilton was reassigned to the minor league camp of the Devil Rays before finally taking off the rest of the season for personal reasons.

During the years from 2004-2006, Hamilton failed many drug tests for MLB, which was against their drug treatment and prevention program. He ended up completely suspended from his team in 2004. Although Hamilton was in and out of rehab during this time, being completely cut off from baseball, the thing he loved, pushed him deeper into what he later described as the “hellhole” he lived in. Hamilton’s drug of choice was crack cocaine and he says the lowest point of his life was waking up during a binge in October 2005, which was his last.

With the love and support from his grandmother and wife and some time in rehab, Hamilton was able to get clean and stay clean. Hamilton also became a Christian and developed a strong relationship in his faith. During his first years of recovery, Hamilton attempted to play baseball on independent minor league teams, but the MLB always stepped in and disallowed it. Finally, in June of 2006, Hamilton’s MLB eligibility was reinstated and he was allowed back to work with the Devil Rays. Hamilton eventually emerged as a five-time all-star player for the Rangers.

Hamilton suffered a relapse in early 2009. Photos were released of Hamilton drunk in a bar with multiple women, and it was reported that he asked many people where to find drugs. These claims were denied for a few months, with a coach backing up the denials, stating that the photos could have been taken during his drug addiction in previous years. Eventually, Hamilton revealed these photos were from a relapse and that he told his wife the day after it happened. He was drug tested and passed and came forward with a public statement apologizing and explaining himself. Hamilton supplies urine samples for drug tests up to three times a week now for MLB. Some may think having to prove yourself multiple times a week for so long would be annoying, but Hamilton thinks otherwise. For Hamilton, the drug tests are a reminder of all the struggles he’s been through and he looks forward to knowing he will pass each test and delights in knowing he overcame his challenges.

It is speculated that many of Hamilton’s fans weren’t very concerned or impressed with his recovery because they were more worried about his baseball stats. Instead of being worried for Hamilton’s personal health many people, during his up and down battles with addiction, were more concerned about how much his penalties would be, or if he’d even be allowed to play ball during a season. Many people felt he wasn’t ready to come back to baseball because he was out of practice, not because his health might still be suffering. Everyone seemed to see Hamilton’s story of addiction through the filter of baseball and not as a real person struggling with a terrible condition.

Hamilton’s story is so inspiring because it shows that addiction and relapse are something that can happen to anybody and without the right kind of focus and drive to help it get better, it won’t. Hamilton didn’t have an easy road to recovery just because he’s a famous athlete. He had to actively work on becoming and staying sober, just like he had to practice to become an all-star baseball player.

Hamilton realized his story was inspirational and that he has the power to help many people struggling with addiction, so he began traveling all over speaking about his struggles and how his faith helped him get sober. He also wrote an autobiography called “Beyond Belief” which details his struggles and how he quit drugs and alcohol.

Hamilton still speaks of the urges and cravings for alcohol coming to him in a dream, in the form of a devil. However, instead of letting that get the best of him, he fights back. “It’s like someone who is missing a limb— it’s not there anymore, but every once in a while you feel like you have an itch,’ he told the Los Angeles Times. “The thing is, you can’t scratch it.”

Would it be easier to become clean if you were a celebrity? Every move you made would be documented and reported to the public. Or maybe it’s easier for just a regular, average Joe to get clean because there’s a level of privacy to it. There is no right answer to this question. Addiction is a condition that spreads across age, gender, social class, race and more. Josh Hamilton is a great example of someone who never quit on himself because of his addiction, and eventually, he came out on top.

Affordable and Dependable Drug Rehabilitation in Charlotte NC | Freedom Detox

Would you like to learn more about drug rehabilitation in Charlotte NC? Give us a call at Freedom Detox of Charlotte. We have admissions counselors who can answer your questions about addiction and treatment programs. We offer customized treatment plans that meet your recovery needs. We know that the programs that benefit someone else may not work for you, especially if you work in the medical field. You won’t find a more comprehensive rehab program in North Carolina. Call us today to learn more.

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