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The Josh Hamilton Relapse Reaction

Josh Hamilton relapsed. There's little that most of us can add other than hesitant support for him and his family, restrained judgment, a panicked "what about my team?" that is natural but uncomfortable to feel, and the squeamish understanding of what it means to be an addict. Most people either love one, hate one, or are one.

I won't say which one I am, for personal and family reasons, but I will say I think I understand addiction. And by understand addiction I mean to say there's no understanding addiction. "Aren't you happy?" An addict might hear, whether he's a successful baseball player or she's a mom with beautiful children or he's a retired veteran living out his golden years. "Don't you care about us?" Fans, children, co-workers might ask. It's not about you! an addict might reply. "Then what's it about?"I don't know.

I don't know. You'll never know. Childhood stuff. Daddy issues. Chemical dependency based on trying it for fun one too many times. Pain. Too much/Not enough free time as a teenager. Depression. Too little money. Too much money. Stress. We'll never know.

Addiction is possibly the darkest disease other than cancer. Partly because it appears self-inflicted, partly because you can't really see it until it's too late. Perhaps it's mostly because an addict can go from perfectly fine to binging at the drop of a hat -- or a bad day or a bout of depression. I'm certainly no expert, nor is anyone that you'll read today about the Hamilton story, because addiction is a fight with oneself over an issue neither self knows.

However, I will say be wary of those suggesting they do understand, or empathize (either with the family or with the addict), or write nasty articles that have nothing to do with the disease (I will note I haven't seen many of these).

But also be wary of anything Hamilton says, not that you aren't already. He will say he's embarrassed, that addiction is a disease, that he's sorry to his family, to his friends, to his teammates, to his church, and to his fans. He'll say it's a struggle and that he's turning his life over to God (again) and he needs all of your support and that he can't promise it won't happen again. You should believe every word he says, even if he is lying.

Josh Hamilton suffers another very public relapse - Jeff Passan | Yahoo! Sports
Hamilton’s forthrightness about his struggles – his honesty about the night three years ago, about the depths of his addiction – means he almost certainly will talk publicly about this. And as he is so good at doing, Hamilton will placate the sadness that permeates his fan base today through words of encouragement and strength and hosannas to how through God’s help and his family’s love he’ll persevere and win this lifelong battle.

That’s all addicts can offer. There will be those who call them hypocritical or weak-minded or full of excuses. Such ignorance never ceases. Sobriety for those who struggle the most is merely a moment between relapses – hopefully a moment longer than the last, one that eventually lasts forever.

Rangers must decide if Josh Hamilton can be trusted | Randy Galloway | Sports News and Videos...
For the last two years, Hamilton has been involved with the Rangers in discussions over his contractual status. Last winter it was about a new $24 million deal for two years that covered him until free agency arrived. This winter it's about him entering a free agency season in 2012.

Hamilton repeatedly gives the hardball speech to the media of granting the Rangers no hometown discount in money because he owes it to the union to get all he can get to boost the contractual benefits of those players coming up behind him. Great.

So where was the union Monday night?

  • Friday morning Rangers things - Lone Star Ball
    "It's also interesting that this relapse, like his other publicly-acknowledged one in 2009, took place in January, towards the end of the offseason. Hamilton has said that his use of cocaine started when he was sidelined with an injury. Maybe an "accountability partner" is more of a need during the offseason than when Hamilton is playing."

The Spectrum Of Josh Hamilton Articles - Baseball Nation
"...And when it comes to writing about it, here's how it works: News of Josh Hamilton's reported relapse broke last night, and people had to form instant opinions on it. There's no time for nuance or reflection. This means that you'll get some great, heartfelt stuff. This also means that you'll get loathsome bleating from people who don't know how to turn off the bleat-o-matic when a situation requires it."

  • What Can We Really Say About Josh Hamilton? - Dave Cameron | FanGraphs Baseball
    "We don’t know any of that. In all honestly, we don’t really know anything. The only thing I’m comfortable saying about this news is that I hope Josh Hamilton wins his battle with alcohol and that the sport is better when he’s playing at a high level. Whether you root for the Rangers or not, Josh Hamilton is worth rooting for."

Feel free to add your thoughts below.