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Giving Back | Don’t Throw in the Towel

Here is the third part to the “Giving Back” blog series.

Continued from: The Pieces Come Together.

By the end of our informal pre-intervention we decided a few of us would approach him and ask him to use his time wisely and to seek treatment. I strongly urged everyone to keep quiet until after we spoke with him. It’s often best not to prepare the addict for an ‘intervention type’ meeting. Unfortunately, one player, thinking he was helping told the addict. Our ship was sunk, but thankfully I’ve been part of something like this before and told the team what to expect. He’d be irate, betrayed, hostile, and hurt. He did exactly what he said I said he’d do.

Our work wasn’t done, though. If you want to help an addict you can’t just throw in the towel. At least not right away. He needed to be confronted. He needed to know how he was hurting people that cared about him, and who he cared about as well. It didn’t take us that long to figure out when that would happen. We had an upcoming practice and since he loves softball. Thankfully he wasn’t so far gone into his addiction that he wouldn’t show up for a practice that starts at 11am as opposed to 9am.

The following week, he showed up. It was a gray and heavily overcast morning. He was wearing sunglasses and he was jumpy and skittish with me. After a good two hour practice I pulled him aside as the rest of the team was leaving. We sat and had our discussion. He hemmed and hawed about how hard his life was; how bad he had it. As a recovering addict I get that. I truly understand how awful, and out of control life can be when I used alcohol and drugs. My life was a mess, and I told him that. I explained that I knew excuses when I heard them, and then laid out the plan. He was being given a choice by the team. He was to seek drug treatment, but if he didn’t go to treatment he would be held accountable to the team and to me as his coach. If he failed to hold to the guidelines I was laying out – be on time and show up sober and focused – then he could continue. But, if he couldn’t show up in that manner we’d ask him to leave the team.

He agreed to think about it, and get back to us. Our next set of communications came via text messages. These are those text messages:

ME: “Hey, how are you doing? Are you having a good week so far?”

HIM: “I slept a big long nap yesterday, then shopped, and had dinner with a friend. Today is contemplative. I will talk more this week. Thanks for the talk on Saturday, as it is making a difference inside.”

ME: “I am here for you, and so is the team. I wanted to also follow up regarding the deadline date we need to know for sure if you are going to the World Series. I also believe we talked about you possibly going into drug treatment. That date is this Saturday, so let me know THIS Saturday what you’ve decided. If you decide you want to go to the World Series instead of treatment then please be at the Saturday practice no later than 30 minutes prior to that practice. If you remember, we talked about holding you accountable. Sadly, if you show up late that’ll convey your inability to want to help the team at the Series. We will then ask you not to come. We all want what’s best for you and for you to take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually. So, please remember we ALL care about you.”

Three days passed before the next set of messages were exchanged. In fact, they were exchanged at 8:30am on the day of the first pre-World Series practice.

HIM: “Hi Coach. I want to thank you for your support, and I don’t have a clear game plan for exactly what I want to do. However, I do think I should not go to the World Series. I thought about it and tossed and turned last night as I was coming to a decision. It wasn’t an easy call, but I think I need to put priority on getting better, and leave the team to go and win regardless of my efforts. Thanks for your efforts for they are making a difference in my life. Much Love.”

ME: “Thank you for your text regarding your decision. I wish you the very best. Just so you know I am still here for you. I will check in with you from time to time, as we care for you and only want the best. Please let us know if there is anything we can help you with to get you on the road to recovery.”

Honestly, this is the part that scares me the most, as I just don’t know what the next step is for the addict. You lay it out the best you can and hope for the best result. Sometimes the addict will spin out of control until they are slammed hard to the ground. They either eventually use until they die or they may have possibly heard something about their addiction and get moving in the direction of help.

As for this case, it seems like he’s left us hanging, but he hasn’t actually. I asked each of the players to send him a text, email, or to pick up the phone and offer support in whatever way felt best to them. They did and as I write this post, HE has entered drug detox and is finding his way.

Recovery Rob BIO

Recovery Rob is a 48-year-old man who has been sober since August 23, 1992, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs. Rob has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 30 years. Rob is the main contributing writer for Pat Moore Detox, and he hopes to reach out and continue to help others who work through their process of addiction and recovery. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third.