Josh Hamilton’s fight against his addiction has unfortunately become news again, but not for a good reason. Hamilton has admitted he has suffered a relapse in his fight against his alcohol and cocaine addiction. Every day is a battle to stay sober, and Hamilton unfortunately lost that battle for at least one day this off-season. When he is winning his battle against his addiction, Hamilton has the ability to be one of the best hitters in the world. However, this latest relapse reminds us all of how unimportant baseball is in terms of leading a heathy and productive life.
When I first heard Hamilton had relapsed, I did not think of what it meant for him or the Angels on the field, rather I was simply sad for the man. I do not fully understand the power of addiction to substances like alcohol and cocaine. I do not have to fight those demons. We all have our own struggles to wrestle with, often on a daily basis. The last thing I would do is judge Hamilton for the ongoing battle he is going through. Everyone is far from perfect, so all those who are casting aspersions on him should take the time to look within their own lives to recognize their own faults. It is easy to sit behind a keyboard and teardown a man for losing his fight against his addiction. However, would it not be better for Hamilton and society if instead these same people offered their support and encouragement to him?
Hamilton has already lost so much to his fight against his addiction. He was suspended from all baseball for three years due to multiple failed drug tests. He has fought to stay sober and to resurrect his career. I believe Hamilton has the power to stay sober, but the constant fight to do just that has worn on him, as it would everyone. It only takes a moment to give into that urge and revert to those demons that have been kept in check for years. Unfortunately, for at least one day and one moment, Hamilton was unable to summon the strength to fight his addiction.
Addiction is a disease. The desire to regain the high, whether it is drug inducted or gambling or some other addiction has the power to make rational people do something, which they know is not beneficial to them. Addictions are powerful and do not go away. The urge to fulfill that addiction will always be there, whether you have been sober a day, a year, or 30 years. It only takes a moment for all the hard work to go away and to have to start over. I do not look down upon people who are fighting addictions. We all have our own personal battle to fight, some more destructive than others. It has taken an extraordinary amount of strength and courage for Hamilton to speak publicly about his fight with addiction. Speaking public has meant showing the world the worst part of his private life and letting people know that he has been vulnerable in ways many of us are not even willing to share with those closest to us.
I do not care about Josh Hamilton the baseball player. I do not care if he ever steps on a baseball field ever again. I care about Josh Hamilton the man. I care about all those Josh Hamilton’s that do not have the gift to hit a baseball with a bat better than 99.99% of the world. Hamilton has become the face of addiction and recovery in baseball, and most likely beyond. He has shown that having millions of dollars does not change how they fight addiction. Everyone fights their addiction one day, one hour, one moment at a time. Hamilton has a family who need him, they need their husband and their dad to be there for them and they want him there to walk with them through this life. Hamilton has fallen down, but I hope he gets back up and starts again and keeps fighting for his sobriety and his life one day, one hour, one moment at a time. For all the Josh Hamilton’s out there, keep up the fight, you can make it. You may not be perfect, but neither is anyone else. Keep fighting the good fight.