By: Tim Myers

Dear Josh Gordon,

I get it. I understand. I’ve got your back. There’s not a lot of that being said to you right now, in any of the media. There’s not a lot of anything except projection, advice, and doomsday scenario banter. Oh, and all the should of, could of, would of’s. “He should of done this,” “I wish the NFL would of done that,” and “The Browns could of done this.”

Dear Josh Gordon

I get it, Josh Gordon. I understand and I’ve got your back. You’ve got a problem, Josh. I don’t mean to judge, but based on the staggering facts alone, I’m pretty confident I’m right. Multiple substance abuse violations in college, drug arrests and citations involving marijuana, codeine cough syrup, and alcohol in just the last eighteen months. You’re the premier NFL wide receiver. Yet your substance abuse stats fill the back of your trading card more thoroughly than your career numbers. You have a life and a career anyone would die for, yet you’re dying to give it all away.

I get it, because I did the same thing. So did my best friend, and my uncle, and my grandpa, and my aunt, and millions of people all over the world. We gave up everything so we could have one thing – drugs. Then, one day we decide to give up one thing to have – everything.

Josh, I have the greatest family in the history of the world. I have a college degree, a car, and a great job, but three and a half years ago I decided that snorting cocaine, smoking pot, drinking ‘till I blacked out, driving drunk, and having guns pointed at my head were the most important things in my life.

They were. People like you and I, Josh, have a mental illness. We have a disease. It makes us do crazy things. It makes us feel so incredibly alone and scared that we keep using because no one will ever make us feel as loved and appreciated as drugs do.

That was my life, until one day a man named Chris told me, “Tim, I don’t even know you, but I love you because you’re just like me.” He got me, understood me, and had my back. He told me that I was still alive so I could get sober and help other people stay sober. He showed me how to stay sober and unlocked the enthusiasm, excitement, potential, love, compassion, and determination that drugs and alcohol had held captive for ten years.

Josh, I live in Delray Beach, Florida, a city known to have more residents recovering from drugs and alcohol than any other city in the country. Everyday I see people as lost and hopeless as I once was. Within a few months, I see them alive, laughing, joking, happy, and free! Yet sometimes, I get the tacky, insensitive, sad and all too frequent Facebook notification saying, “RIP Jane Doe, this disease claims another Angel.”

Don’t become one of those angels, Josh. Don’t become another celebrity to shine a light on the death toll of addiction. Become a warrior of recovery! Become the man you were always meant to be.

I was in rehab when Josh Hamilton entered the home-run derby at Yankee Stadium. His long history of crack use had been exposed and talked about in the media for years. In rehab that night, they let us watch the home-run derby. Ball after ball after ball went soaring over the fence as Josh set the single round record for home runs in a home-run derby, at the most historic ballpark ever built! I cried. A lot of the men in my unit cried. It gave us hope. It gave us someone to look up to. Not for what he was doing on the field, but for what he’d off the field.

You can be that guy, Josh. Hell, you already have the same first name so you’re halfway there! You can change other peoples’ lives, Josh, but first you have to change your own. I want to see you in the playoffs. I want to see you catch a touchdown in the Super Bowl. I want to wear your jersey and get your autograph, but not because of what you accomplish on the field. I want to be your biggest fan, for what you achieve off of it. I love you Josh Gordon, because you’re just like me.

I get it. I understand. I’ve got your back.

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