Even the most talented and admired athletes can become vulnerable to the disease of addiction in spite of their professional sports careers.
Addiction is a problem that can affect anyone in spite of their status in life or what they have already accomplished.
Addiction hurts everyone no matter who they are but professional athletes who begin to develop addictions are in a position that can be especially difficult for them in terms of their careers and their public image.
Pro athletes can be under scrutiny for their actions and they may be humiliated publicly before they finally make the choice to get help for their disease. There are programs specifically created to help pro sports stars to recover from their addiction like Athlete's Recovery which provides a safe space for them to resolve the unique issues contributing to their substance abuse.
Addiction and the Mindset of an Athlete
The trigger for getting help for many professional athletes like Michael Phelps or Johnny Manziel who both recently received treatment is often any public humiliation that tarnishes their reputation. When their addiction problems are exposed to the public they find it hard to handle the negative opinions that might be associated with that.
It can take extra time for athletes to reach rock bottom because their competitive mindset can make it difficult for them to admit they have a problem. They don't want to lose their fame or their position in their career so they might be more inclined to hide their difficulties or even injuries resulting from their addiction.
Athletes also don't want to appear weak or deal with the stigma associated with addiction. The athletic mindset can make it hard for these sports stars to admit that they are powerless over their addiction because they have an attitude that they can control everything.
Specialized Treatment for Pro Athletes
Because professional athletes or sports stars have a unique situation, it can be more effective for them to enter a specialized treatment center like Athlete's Recovery rather than a more general rehab facility. Athlete's Recovery is one of many ideas for professional athletes to help the recovery process. Diamond Dallas Page also started a similar business with the hopes of helping former Pro Wrestlers recover from addiction.
Athletes need to be among other athletes of a similar status so that they are in an environment that caters to their individual needs and takes them out of the experience of being a celebrity.
Athlete's Recovery was founded by Kenny Greene, a former NFL cornerback who witnessed too many of his teammates struggling with substance abuse. He and his wife Tina, a healthcare professional decided to open a recovery facility that is specifically geared toward sports stars who are dealing with a substance abuse problem.
The recovery center is partnered with a performance sports facility so that athletes can continue to train or rehabilitate an injury throughout their addiction treatment.
Athletes at the treatment center can feel the comfort and security of being around other athletes so that they can better relate to one another in group therapy. Many of the sports stars are dealing with the same type of pressures and stress no matter what sport they may be involved in.
Everyone in the facility from staff members to other patients is involved in sports and understands what each person is going through. Patients can be surrounded by a network of support from people they can relate to and understand their need to remain competitive and be able to perform.
Coaches and teammates can also get involved in treatment to help the athlete through their support and compassion. The facility staff members can stay in contact with athletes after they have completed the program to ensure that they are effectively maintaining their sobriety. After treatment athletes can return to the game but are advised to avoid hanging out with the types of people that still engage in substance abuse.