Josh Chandler | October 20, 2015

Lamar Odom: Athlete to Addict

The recent hospitalization of two time NBA All Star, Lamar Odom, serves as a harsh reminder of the never ending battle addicts face with substance abuse. After being discovered unconscious at a Nevada brothel, Odom was rushed to a nearby hospital to be treated for organ failure and what appeared to be strokes as the result of substance abuse and/or an overdose.

Lamar was one of the most well liked players in the NBA, earning sixth man of the year honors only four short years ago. Once being dismissed from the Los Angeles Lakers, his life seemingly spiraled out of control with reported bouts of drug use and irrational behavior. Odom never truly made it back to professional basketball as his life and struggles were well documented in the media. Luckily, his most recent hospitalization only lasted a few days, and he is now on the mend hoping for a full recovery, though nothing is guaranteed due to the severity of his breakdown. His story, though sad, can be a powerful reminder of the control drugs and alcohol has of an addict. Despite the allure of playing his favorite sport professionally, and the money that comes with it, he was left powerless over his addiction and could not get his life back on track even with every reason to do so.

Reports surfaced of Odom’s crack and cocaine use following the end of his NBA career and as a result his chances of returning to the league vanished. Lost and without guidance, Odom appeared to be on a fast track to overdosing if not death, and we can only hope that this recent hospitalization serves as a wakeup call.

From athlete to addict, Odom was one of the most physically gifted players to enter the NBA. Hailed as the second coming of Magic Johnson when drafted, his illustrious career was cut severely short because of substance abuse and a general insulation from the real world as the result of extreme wealth and poor social circles. In just the past year, two of Odom’s closest friends passed away from drug overdoses which undoubtedly left him feeling alone and terrified. Unfortunately, the fear was not enough to overcome the addiction and his harmful behavior culminated on a three day bender at a famed brothel.

A father and husband, Odom was left powerless over his addiction and it ended with him in the hospital, organs failing, and his family by the bedside. He appears to be making a recovery as he’s traveled back to Los Angeles to continue his medical treatments. Lamar Odom’s most recent tragedies as the result of drug use rings true for addicts and those in recovery. It is a stern, scary and all too real reminder that if left alone and untreated, drug use will damage if not take someone’s life. And while he was lucky to make it out alive, this could have very well been an article remembering Lamar as another life lost to substance abuse.

Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

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