Drugs, Dreams, Transformation - Josh Hamilton

Drugs and alcohol, I never used one without the other.

The drugs were the closest thing for that adrenaline rush for me of throwing somebody out.  When the ball is hit, you get under it, the crowd is starting to build, the guy is tagging, the whole play is being created in front of you.  And when he’s out, the roar of the crowd and that adrenaline rush you get…when baseball wasn’t there that’s what it did for me.  And that’s what got me addicted so quickly.

Growing up I was really good at sports.  That’s all I ever wanted to do.  That’s all my life was focused around; playing and being a part of a team.  I got drafted after high school to play professional baseball and did really well.  I had more money that I ever wanted to have.  My parents were there watching me play and it was a dream come true for me.

So my parents and I, on the way home from the spring training game, got in a car accident.  A dump truck ran a red light as we were turning left and plowed into us.  Two things that I really knew in life, baseball and my parents, were taken away from me at the same time.  So I had to find somewhere I could turn to be comfortable.  I started getting tattoos and hanging out at the parlor all day.  The people there were good people, they just made bad choices.  That’s where I was introduced to my first drug and my first drink.  I went down a path of destruction.  I actually got suspended from baseball.  It wasn’t because of anybody else, but because of the way I was living and the choices I was making.

Everything in my life up until this point I could do on my own.  I didn’t need help from anybody.  I was good at everything.  And this, the drugs and the alcohol, I couldn’t stop doing it.  I wanted to do more and it was just chaos.

There was this guy in a dark suit and I was fighting him.  I know it was the devil because I was fighting him and beating him and I kept knocking him down.  He had this cold smirk on his face and he just kept getting up and coming after me.  I was to the point where I was worn out and I couldn’t fight any more, and I woke up.  It scared me so bad, that I got out of my bed and went across the hallway to my grandmother’s room and knocked on the door and said, “Grandma, I had a bad dream.  Can I sleep with you?”  I was a 25 year old man asking if he could get in bed with his grandmother.  

The next night I asked God and said, “I need help.  I’ve been trying to do this so long and I can’t do it anymore. I can’t try anymore because I’ve failed on my own.  You do in me what you want to do with me, but I surrender.”  I noticed a Bible at the end of the bed and I started looking through it.  A verse that caught my eye was James 4:7.  “Humble yourself before God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  That’s exactly what I did.

Within six months I had the same exact dream again.  I was knocking him down and hitting him, and he stood up and just looked at me.  I looked to my side and I didn’t see Jesus, but I knew he was standing beside me, because we started chasing the devil.  I woke up feeling calmer and at peace more than I ever have.

After more than two years away from the game, Josh returned to minor league baseball clean and sober on June 2, 2005.  He was named an All-Star in 2008 and led the American league in runs batted in.



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