When I heard the news last night that Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton had a relapse in his fight with alcohol addiction, it saddened me tremendously. Hamilton, who has has the assistance of an accountability manager in the past, did not have one recently when he apparently had a few drinks at a Dallas area bar. The previous accountability manager had joined another organization. To see that the Rangers even hired such a person says volumes what the Rangers think about Hamilton. Oh and the millions they spent on him. For his part Hamilton came out today and said he was wrong. No doubt. It wouldn’t be called a relapse if it was right. I’ve seen what alcohol addiction can do to a person first hand, so take away baseball all together and it is still a very disappointing story. It is one the Arizona Diamondbacks and Major League Baseball should pay more attention to.
Alcohol addiction is everywhere. It is a little surprising to be honest we don’t have more Josh Hamilton stories in professional sports. I do like the fact Hamilton is facing this issue head on. It will be one though he fights the rest of his life with. Some people relapse. Some don’t. I watched my father go through this struggle, but had some of the best years of his life after his initial treatment and admission of addiction.
Hamilton to his credit has tried hard. He stayed away from his team celebrations because of the alcohol involved. His team thought so highly of him, they decided to have an alcohol-free celebration in the playoffs last season. That’s class. Team before individual. Alcohol addiction though gets the best of the best. It does not discriminate. I would love to believe had the D-backs had a player in a similar situation, they would have the compassion, forgiveness, and patience that the Rangers have shown and will need to show once again.
While it is disappointing to hear about Hamilton’s relapse, I think it once again serves as a reminder to all of us that addiction is real. It can hit anyone and if you lose your focus for even just a short time, you can fall back into the evils of addiction. We could be talking about anything though. Alcohol is not illegal though. It is accessible to any adult. Thus it makes it much tougher to hold someone accountable for their actions if they aren’t caught.
I wish Hamilton nothing but the best. He is a good guy. He is a good player. He has a bad disease and he has a good organization that will continue to support him on and off the field.