Drafted to a major league team almost immediately out of high school, Darryl Strawberry has enjoyed an extremely illustrious and noteworthy career as a baseball player. Unfortunately, like many professional athletes and other people who are extremely high achieving in their chosen field, an amazing amount of success did not protect him from the ravages of substance abuse and drug addiction.
Even a career with such high potential was eventually cut short as a result of drug addiction and related expulsions, arrests, and the loss of a marriage. However, after many hard attempts at recovery, he is now living a life of sobriety.
Today, Darryl Strawberry has mostly left the life of baseball behind him, choosing instead to dedicate his life to helping others along the path to recovery.
The life of a "high-functioning" addict
Darryl Strawberry grew up with an alcoholic and abusive father, and Darryl grew up sometimes admiring and learning from his father's great softball skills, but other times fearful and the target of drunken rage. Darryl had to cope with a hard childhood while at the same time excelling as a baseball player, being drafted by the New York Mets in 1980, almost immediately after graduating from Crenshaw High School.
In his 17- years playing with the New York Mets, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Dodgers, Darryl Strawberry was considered an extremely talented and intimidating ballplayer, leading his team to World Series Championships four times. However, he was drinking heavily and using cocaine throughout most of it.
After three drug-related suspensions, multiple times being off because of injuries, and many days of approaching the game with a withdraw-fueled lackluster attitude, led sports reports and fans to be saddened by his wasted potential.
Even as he enjoyed a successful career as one baseball's brightest stars, his substance abuse was taking a toll on his personal life. His first wife, Lisa divorced after several accusations that he was violent with her, leading to several arrests and time spent in rehab centers.
Like many addicts, he would go through periods of attempting to enter the recovery process, only to experience further legal problems for his alcohol and drug abuse. Abuse would lead to moments of suicidal despair, which made him more likely to continue down the cycle of drug abuse.
He was arrested the last time in 2002 for violating the rules of a treatment center he was staying in.
The Road to Redemption, and Working to Help Others
After a release from prison in 2003, Darryl Strawberry made a lot of progress in his recovery journey, and has been clean and sober since then. Although he worked some with his old baseball teams as a spring training instructor, he spends most of his time as an ordained Christian minister.
Much of his ministry is devoted to helping others find a journey of recovery from addiction. He has opened and given his name to The Darryl Strawberry Recovery Center in Florida, with hopes of opening up others as well.
He shares honestly about his personal struggles, and uses his faith as a way to give himself and others the strength to have hope that recovery is possible. He knows from personal experience that recovery is a long and hard process that often has a lot of ups and downs, and encourages people to not give up, but continue to pursue their healing.
On his web site, he speaks eloquently about how his faith has encouraged him on his path to sobriety. "Much of my life has been filled with the battles that have left me without hope....But today I have hope!" Like many former addicts in recovery, Darryl has discovered one of the best ways to pursue his own recovery is by sharing his story and working to heal and help others.