The Josh Hamilton Press Conference

I really don’t know how I feel about Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers holding a press conference to talk about the events that transpired on Monday evening that led to Hamilton’s relapse with his alcohol addiction. On one hand, he has embraced his public role as a recovering addict, rarely missing an opportunity to promote his beliefs as a means for dealing with his addictions. On the other hand, such things are a deeply personal matter, and certainly not in the purview of people who write about baseball for a living.

Nonetheless, he spoke with an assembly of media members just minutes ago, and revealed the events that led to his relapse.

Hamilton has been having trouble with a family matter and went out for dinner to a restaurant by himself. While eating, he had a drink, which led to a few more. The Rangers outfielder contacted his team mate Ian Kinsler who arrived later, but wasn’t made aware of Hamilton’s drinking. They hung out at another establishment after the restaurant had closed and after thirty minutes, Kinsler drove Hamilton to a destination that he requested. After getting dropped off, Hamilton returned to the establishment that they had just left and continued drinking.

Whether necessary or not, full credit should go to Hamilton for publicly taking responsibility for his actions. He went on to say the following:

  • I had a weak moment on Monday night.
  • Anytime I drink, there’s a point where the switch flips. You never know the point where that’s going to be reached.
  • It was just wrong. That’s all it comes down to. I needed to be in a different place. I needed to be responsible … I was not responsible.
  • As far as baseball and the Rangers, they’ve shown nothing but support and will continue to support me.
  • I’m getting to the point where I understand I can’t take a break from my recovery.
  • I’ve put my wife through a lot in our marriage. She’s a very strong woman. It’s about time I become the strong one in our relationship.
  • For everybody who I’ve hurt, for everybody, fans, kids, people who have addictions and look up to me, I apologize.
  •  Sorry it had to be this way. It would have been nice if we were talking about a contract. That will have to go on the back burner for a little while.

Comments (23)

  1. Geez, you gotta feel for the guy, my wife makes me wanna drink all the time!

  2. Of course he has to have a press conference. As I commented on in the original piece, Americans love a redemption story more than anything. Its 100x better to fuck up, find god, and ask for forgiveness then just be a straight forward good person right from the start.

    Murikahhhh Fuk Ya

  3. I respect that you’re trying to be sensitive about this, Parkes, but I really don’t think “relapse into alcohol addiction” is the right phrase to use. Addiction is a lifelong disease and it isn’t transient.

    • “Addiction is a lifelong disease and it isn’t transient.”

      Is that truth though? I’m not trying to be difficult. But things like that get said all of the time regarding addiction and I’m not convinced about it at all. Its certainly the line on addiction from sources such as AA (not the GM, the other one).

      My experience is a lot different. I’m lucky not to have really struggled with addiction in my life but my brother has had an incredibly difficult time, including being homeless, addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, cocaine and then crack as well as all manners of criminality. Now he’s a Grad Student who works with a youth organization for those who are at risk, and young offenders. He never bought into the AA philosophy when he was in treatment (even though he was taught all manners of recovery ideology).

      These days (5 years clear of treatment and 7 or 8 years “clean”) and he’s more than capable of going out with us to a bar and having a couple beers or three without ending up robbing people and sniffing coke in the bathroom. He’s the most self-aware and controlled person I’ve ever met in my life. He doesn’t treat his addiction as a life-long struggle and he certainly stopped blaming himself for his past long ago.

      My question is a genuine one – because my experience is those that treat addiction as a life-long disease often fall in love with being the drug-addict (or alcohol) martyr. They accept their fate as an al-the-time thing that could pounce at them at any point.

      My bro is the type of person that if he feels as though he is pushing his limits he stops – which is what most people do with alcohol etc. I guess ultimately, no two people are the same.. but I wonder how much we set people like Josh Hamilton up for failure because we make it such a big deal if he “falls off of the wagon” – or that he can’t even have one drink without feeling like he’s done something evil. If he needs to go straight edge – that’s totally something that I think he should do – but I’m always wary of the idea that addiction is always, forever and not some middle ground.

      • As you said, everyone is different. Some alcoholics can go out and have a few drinks and be fine, others can’t.

        Addiction is a mental illness; that might be a better way of characterizing it than calling it a disease. Sometimes that disease can be completely overcome and other times it’s not that simple.

        To say that some addicts fall in love with being a martyr is inaccurate of most of the people I know who’ve dealt with addiction. A recognition that it’s something that has to be controlled rather than defeated can sometimes very much help people get better.

        Ultimately, I think it’s important to defer to the experts regarding addiction. People who’ve studied it have found incredible things like a genetic component to addiction and a strong connection to other mental illnesses such as Social Anxiety Disorder, OCD and depression.

      • Personally, I think the A.A. framework is mostly bullshit because it’s based on a theist worldview, although I will acknowledge that many people succeed with it. The idea that alcoholism (or really any chemical dependency) is a chronic disease is widely accepted in medicine and public health, though. As with any disease, how it affects each person is different. In fact, old studies conducted before we really cared about research ethics showed that a small percentage of recovering alcoholics can take part in controlled drinking and be just fine, thank you very much. That doesn’t mean that these people are the norm and that we should hold everyone else to that standard, though.

        Anecdotally, addiction is a theme in my family. I have two family members who have died from cirrhosis of the liver as a result of chronic alcoholism, and another who is currently recovering (I don’t know if that’s the right word) from a prescription drug addiction. I don’t like to medicalize and trivialize the effect of free will, but, having seen their struggles, it would be extraordinarily hard for me to say that if my two dead family members had wanted it bad enough, they could have gotten ‘clean’.

  4. Is it bad that I PVRd this and was going to make it into a drinking game when i get home? (kidding!!)

    For serious though. Hope the guy can keep it clean this time around.

  5. If he keeps drinking, some Europeans are going to travel over here by boat and steal all his property…

  6. As one of the few who took issue with parts of your last post on Hamilton and addiction, props to you on some solid reporting here. I think this piece handles the situation very well.

    • What did you take issue with?

      • I just like that someone named Scott hall is posting comments in reference to alcohol/drug addiction

      • It came across as douchy, judgmental, and seemed to underestimate the power of addiction and thereby trivialized Hamilton’s struggle. Saying that it was unreasonable for a grown man to require an accountability partner, etc.

  7. Kudos to Josh, using the public to be accountablche is a bold move. I can’t help but cheer for this guy.

  8. Who wants to go rip some lines and Jack Knife PowerBomb some midgets?

  9. As a recovering alcoholic, I can tell you that your brother is an extremely rare exception, and not the rule. I have spent several days a week for the past 2+ years with fellow alcoholics/addicts, and I see their struggles mirror my own. There is no martyrdom going on – these people just want to live a normal, healthy life.

    Alcoholism is both a mental illness and a physical malady. Once you start, reason is out the window because your thoughts are dominated by getting more. The shame of one’s transgressions are dominating, furthering the skewed and unsound thinking. It’s the downward spiral.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be) only an alcoholic can understand what it’s like. I wouldn’t expect someone free of this burden to understand. Mentally, my mind always tries to convince me that I can safely drink, and control it. Experience shows that I have lost all control, and will never again achieve that. I don’t believe in “God”, but I have to believe in a higher power of my own understanding – to me, this reminds me that life happens, and things are out of my control – that I myself am not “God”. I don’t understand why it works, I just know that it works for me.

    The irony of it all is that I frequent and comment at Drunk Jays Fans!

    • “As a recovering alcoholic, I can tell you that your brother is an extremely rare exception, and not the rule.”

      That’s my entire point. Why do we treat addiction as if there is a rule?

      The rule states that once addicted – always addicted which is clearly not the case. I’m not trying to be insensitive to those who struggle with addiction – my question was about how we make it worse for those addicted to substances by speaking in absolutes – that they must live every day through the lens of an alcoholic or drug abuser – even years after they’ve stopped abusing substances.

      I also find it interesting that my brother’s experience (and this is almost always the case when I bring him up) is disregarded as being an exception? Isn’t it entirely possible that the very actions he has taken, to live a balanced life of moderation and self control are the exact forces that have facilitated his re-integration into society? That his approach to recovery was different and led to better results?

      Its not as though some mystical force got him into drugs in the first place. It was his inability to live a life of moderation, and an inability to see all of the reasons he had NOT to be an addict. Its not some power handed down by God that has facilitated his recovery – its been hard goddamn work to change his life in a myraid of ways – strengthening his resolve and self-awareness. To the point that he is not a drug abuser – he’s a man… Just like me – who faces challenges, and hard-ships but has the skills to go through them without drugs or alcohol.

      • Anecdotal evidence is not evidence at all. Furthermore, it’s a bit sanctimonious (not to mention demonstrative of a fundamental misunderstanding of individual differences) to imply that if all addicts treated their addictions like your brother, they could get ‘clean’.

        Josh Hamilton has every reason to keep clean and every support mechanism in place to help him, yet he claims to still struggle.

  10. Wow…these comments suck. What a self-righteous lot we all are. Can we stop trying to educate people about God and alcoholism and get back to talking baseball please? This is like sitting in the hallway outside a first year humanities course.

  11. Agreed that this is a baseball blog, but I think there are so few opportunities to discuss mental health, addiction, stigmas etc. that for the very few times the venn-diagram of baseball and addiction intersect, it’s not a negative thing to debate this stuff. These are difficult issues, with no clear solutions.

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