(BPT) - Sponsored by Alkermes, Inc.
By CC Sabathia, former professional baseball player
When I decided suddenly, during the professional baseball playoffs in 2015, to go to rehab — right in the moment — to get treatment for my alcohol dependence, many people were surprised. For years, I worked to hide my disease. Alcohol is a widely accepted part of our culture and was an ever-present part of my personal and professional life.
It took a long time for me to get to the point of rethinking my relationship with alcohol and deciding to commit to my recovery journey. But it’s never too late. That’s why I have teamed up with Alkermes on the My Relationship with Alcohol campaign — to encourage people to consider their drinking patterns and relationship with alcohol and talk to a healthcare provider now to learn more.
By going to this website, you can learn more about alcohol dependence, watch personal stories, take an interactive questionnaire to help assess your drinking patterns and explore a discussion guide with ideas for starting a conversation with a healthcare provider.
For me, I never hit what people might think of as rock bottom — to the outside world, my life looked great. I was playing some of the best baseball of my life, I had a beautiful family, but behind the scenes, the consequences of my drinking patterns were piling up. My alcohol dependence affected my relationships with my family, wife and friends. There were nights I couldn’t remember what I’d done, and there were things I wish I hadn’t done or said. And for me, that was my rock bottom.
I knew the negative impact my drinking was having on me and those around me. But it still took me three years after I was diagnosed with alcohol dependence by a healthcare provider to get the help I needed. There were hurdles I had to overcome. The stigma associated with the disease and seeking treatment was tough for me. Especially as a Black man and a professional athlete, raising my hand to ask for help just wasn’t something I felt comfortable doing.
Despite the challenges, on a Sunday morning in October 2015, I made that commitment to myself. It wasn’t easy to walk away from my team at the start of the playoffs, but getting help for my alcohol dependence was the right decision for me. And what I realized, as I was making this difficult decision, is that so many people had my back.
My family was always behind me, and that day, my two best friends gave me their full support without hesitation. Quickly, the media, other players and many fans all came out to say it was the right decision to put my health first. Now sure, there were some critics. I just blocked out the noise and committed to my recovery journey.
Everyone’s journey is unique, and a healthcare provider can help you determine the right path for you. Everyone’s rock bottom is different. If your relationship with alcohol is causing problems with work, family or friends, or if you are choosing drinking over other things you used to enjoy doing, it may be time to rethink your relationship with alcohol. Visiting myrelationshipwithalcohol.com is one place you can start.
This article is sponsored by Alkermes®, and CC Sabathia has been compensated. His story is personal and does not represent all people living with alcohol dependence. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your healthcare provider.
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