Another High Profile Addict
Dustin Johnson, one of the best golfers playing today, is an addict.
Now, this may be a strong proclamation, hell it may even sound like libel, but it’s absolutely true. Johnson recently failed a drug screen after testing positive for cocaine. This is Johnson’s third failed drug screen in five years. In 2009, he tested positive for marijuana. In 2012, he tested positive for cocaine.
After this most recent failed drug screen, Johnson’s management company issued a statement that he would be taking a sabbatical from professional golf – “I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced.”
All of this is to say that addiction doesn’t discriminate. It affects those from the bottom of the barrel, right up to those at the very top. You could say it’s an equal opportunities offender.
Now, at this point, you still might not be convinced that Johnson is an addict. He’s a careless, professional athlete, you may be thinking. He screwed up a couple times, but who hasn’t, you may be saying. Let’s take a minute to define addiction, and look at how it commonly manifests.
What is Addiction? How Does it Manifest?
Addiction is defined as a chronic, progressive illness, characterized by an individual’s repeated use of a substance, despite negative consequences.
Okay, so addiction is chronic, or long-term. Three failed drug tests in five years sounds chronic to me. While he hasn’t been shot-gunning beers and doing blow for decades, five years of drug abuse is long enough to do major damage to one’s body, family, reputation, etc.
Addiction is progressive. This means that as time passes, it gets worse. In 2009, Johnson was smoking weed. By 2012, he had moved onto cocaine. Drug progression? Check.
Addiction is characterized by the repeated use of a substance, despite negative consequences. Well, Johnson continued to use despite failing drug screens. He continued to use despite knowing he’d be tested again. He continued to use despite being a high profile athlete. He risked current and future endorsements, not to mention his reputation. Sounds like there was repeated use, despite numerous negative consequences.
My Experience, Strength, and Hope
While I’m by no means a professional athlete, I certainly am an addict. Today though, I’m a sober addict. I’m in recovery and have been for quite some time.
There’s this tricky part of addiction, the part where the addict doesn’t think they have a problem. There are innumerable reasons for this. For me, it was the people I used with. They used as much, and as hard, as I did. They shot dope, smoked crack, and engaged in crime, right alongside me. This allowed me to trick myself into thinking everyone used like I did. Obviously, this wasn’t the case at all.
After years spent destroying myself, I realized that MAYBE, just maybe, I did have a drug problem. Then a funny thing happened, I realized I’d always known I was an addict. I’d just stuffed that knowledge down inside and covered it with a film of opiates and crack. This knowledge allowed me to come into recovery, which was only the start of my journey.
I relapsed a handful of times. Remember, addiction is chronic. It doesn’t just disappear overnight. Addicts need to do some HARD work to get better. In the beginning, I wasn’t ready to do this work. So, I got high. After enough pain, I did the work. I went to treatment, got involved in the twelve-steps, and attained peace of mind.
Listen, I’m not Dustin Johnson. That much should be obvious! I’m not a professional athlete and I’m definitely not rich. I don’t know who Johnson uses with, or how his loved ones feel about his use. I do know a few things though.
I know how Johnson uses. I know how much he doesn’t want to use. I know the lies he tells himself.
I know how baffled he is after he does get high. I know that feeling of complete disappointment with yourself. I know that self-hatred.
Hell, I bet I can even tell you exactly what he says after a binge – “That was f*cking horrible. I gotta do something…okay, no more hard drugs. Just booze.” I know all this because I’ve been there.
So, from one addict to another, get some help Dustin. You don’t even again have to feel this crappy. There’s another way of life and it’s so much better than active addiction. There’s hope, I promise you that Dustin, there’s so much hope.