Josh Hamilton slipped. Monday night he had three or four drinks at a restaurant in Dallas. It's the news that no one wanted to hear but as always, Josh was very open and up front about his misstep.
In Friday's press conference Josh said the slip was due to "personal reasons with a family member." He drank at two different establishments and at one point, he called Ian Kinsler to come hang out with him. Josh said that he is good at hiding drinking. He said that Ian had no idea that he had been drinking and he did not drink in front of him. The two talked about baseball and their families until Ian had to leave. Then Josh drank some more. He said he didn't do any drugs and has taken two drug tests since Monday.
Josh was very humble throughout the press conference. He said he wouldn't elaborate on the personal reasons for drinking. He spoke of how his actions have hurt people and he apologized to his family, the Rangers and his fans. He was incredibly contrite and said, "I can't take a break from my recovery." He went on the say that if he does, it can lead to a moment of weakness. Josh said he needs to focus on his relationship with the Lord as much as he focuses on playing hard on the field.
This is the second time that Josh has slipped. Both times it was during the off season, when there is less structure in his life. Johnny Narron has been Josh's accountability coach for the last four years but he was recently hired as the Brewers hitting coach. Josh's father-in-law was set to take over that role but he had to withdraw "due to family considerations." The Rangers were in the process of hiring someone at the time of relapse. Rangers GM Jon Daniel said "Josh has an addiction, he has a disease. It's something that needs to be dealt with, and he needs help from the people around him. Not just me, but everybody in the organization, when we heard about this, the thought was not about how it impacts the club but our thoughts were about his wife Katie, his daughters and how he was going to get through this. That's where we are. We want to make sure we support him on this." Everyone knows that Josh cannot handle his sobriety alone. Even with the strong support system that surrounds him, Josh faltered.
I can't imagine what it's like to be Josh Hamilton. He should have what would appear to be the perfect life. A professional baseball player with amazing talent, a beautiful and devoted wife and children, an organization and a city that cherishes him. But the other side of Josh is that he is battling his demons every moment of every day. I have friends who have similar battles, some have succeeded in finding a way to break the grip of addiction and abuse. Others have paid the ultimate price. We all want Josh to succeed. But we must remember even someone with super powers on the baseball field is still very, very human.
If you'd like to see the press conference, here's a link to the Rangers site: