After battling cocaine and alcohol addiction throughout much of his famed baseball career, Darryl Strawberry has now been clean and sober for the last 11 years. Not only is he now committed to helping others beat their own addictions, he’s even started a treatment center to help facilitate the movement.
Strawberry shared his story in front of 300 people during the annual Coastal Horizons Center luncheon in Florida earlier this month, which raised funds for the nonprofit organization. The four-time World Series champion attempted to motivate those in attendance and emphasized that anything is possible through willpower.
“Eleven years ago I stuck a needle in my arm for the first time and that’s when I realized I was really sick,” said Strawberry. “I used drugs and alcohol for a long time and it started when I was 21 years old… “It was about 11 years ago I realized that I could reach for something greater than myself and got well.”
Darryl Strawberry’s Story
Strawberry was suspended by Major League Baseball on three occasions for substance abuse. He was given a 140-game suspension in 1999 for possession of cocaine and soliciting sex from a prostitute. He then violated his probation from that charge in September 2000 after blacking out from taking painkillers while driving and causing an accident, which led to two years of house arrest.
Strawberry was also arrested and put in prison on several occasions for leaving court-ordered treatment centers to score drugs. After violating several non-drug rules at the Florida treatment center he was on probation in, he was sentenced to 18 months in jail in March 2002. Strawberry was released after 11 months and has reportedly been sober since then.
A New Hope for the Future
He has continued to work on the Darryl Strawberry Foundation, which supports children with autism. Last January, he opened up The Darryl Strawberry Recovery Center in St. Cloud, Florida and is looking to eventually open up two more rehab facilities. “It’s not about me,” he said. “Sometimes people too often think celebrities and athletes are all about themselves and I was at one point…I was a great baseball player and had a chance to do that. I just want to be able to help some of those that are less fortunate than me.”
The biggest lesson that Strawberry appears to have learned is that recovery is a journey. While he stumbled several times in his attempts to get well, his determination to succeed has led to his sobriety today. It should be noted that a relapse, even a significant one, does not mean that sobriety is an impossible feat.