Monday, August 10, 2009

Relapse and Addiction in the news

Lots of addiction and drug use in the news as of late: of course the biggest story was Michael Jackson; his death, and the long history of addiction, will rival Elvis's in history I imagine. And if it doesn't, then we should make sure we as a people and a media are looking at it honestly. That, of course, was a huge splash and brought about a new wave of awareness about prescription pain medication.

A couple of months ago, the "Shamwow guy," Vince Shlomi, was arrested for being in a drunk fight with a hooker. And this past Friday, news about Billy Mays (pictured above) and a history of cocaine use breaks across the wire. Then over the weekend, Josh Hamilton, a darling of the media for his miraculous comeback from drug addiction (see a great article on his comeback from ESPN the Magazine here and I mentioned his comeback in my blog earlier this year), had pictures posted on, a sports media blog, of an obvious relapse during spring training in January.

A couple of thoughts here: first and foremost, it's hard to be in the public eye. We've seen tortured artists, athletes, and successful people for centuries-- some of the most powerful people in the world have been the most troubled (see Howard Hughes, Elvis, Michael Jackson, etc. etc.). The list goes on and on. And when people who have any sort of issue- a drug problem, depression, anger management issues and the like- get into the public eye, the odds of a slip being exposed to the media are increased tenfold. For someone like Mays, whose persona was one of an over-the-top pitchman for various products on late night television, cocaine seems like a natural fit. For Hamilton, who had completely lost everything and built it back up, a relapse (for someone not as popular) may have been a tiny setback. However, in Hamilton's case, his entire season is being scrutinized for evidence of drinking or drug use, and whether or not his lack of performance this season is tied into that.

As we know, addiction is a chronic and fatal disease, as we've seen with Jackson and Mays. What we also need to remember is that sometimes people slip, like Hamilton did in January. Instead of making snarky remarks and making life more difficult, we as a group need to support Hamilton and his recovery. One can only hope that the Rangers will allow him time to find his way back to a recovery program-- and that Hamilton will make that decision as well.

Here's a video of the Josh Hamilton story, previous to his last relapse:

Hope: The Josh Hamilton Story - More amazing video clips are a click away

Here's a clip of Hamilton talking about his relapse:

Blitzcorner | Josh Hamilton Speaks about Relapse Video

Here's something funny.

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