April 19, 2015

Josh Hamilton, divorce and relapse — chicken or egg? And ixnay "divine plans" and AA

Josh Hamilton, neither
'good' nor 'bad" but possible
'ugly' of addiction.
Troubled Los Angeles Angels player and former star outfielder Josh Hamilton and his wife, Katie, are reportedly divorcing, in the latest update related to his alcohol-and-cocaine relapse this February.

The "trigger" for the relapse, reportedly, was a fight between the two.

Chicken or egg? Were they at the point of breakup before his binge a a Super Bowl party, and he decided to try to medicate his sorrows? Or, did he just lose control, and the divorce filing followed? That said, Katie claims she was "blindsided" by his filing. That, in turn leads to ...

At the same time, I sure hope Josh knows what he's doing. Per that story link, it was him, not her, that filed for the divorce.

It seems clearer than ever he needs team support, and not owner Arte Moreno and general manager Jerry Dipoto trying to kick him under the bus, since an arbitrator has ruled Hamilton did not break league drug policy. Teammate C.J. Wilson, who joined the Angels as a free agent a year before Hamilton, and is also the team's union rep, knows that. And, without antagonizing the higher ups, manager Mike Scioscia also does, as he said last week:
It’s a unique situation,” Scioscia said. “As an organization, first and foremost, we want to make sure Josh is getting the help and support he needs. That’s important for Josh to get back to where he needs to be and getting on the field and playing baseball. Things are open-ended, and there’s a natural frustration I think that goes with uncertainty, and that’s kind of what we’re dealing with.”


That's even truer because the explicitly religious restructuring of Hamilton's life, going beyond the 12-step movement's injections of god to overcome an alleged "powerlessness" that addicts supposedly (but not actually) are inflicted with, is connected with his current father-in-law. So, if he's choosing to "bail" on that, I sure hope he finds some alternatives for support and structure. On the other hand, per the language of the filing, he may have gotten tired of this.

It notes:

“The marriage has become insupportable because of the discord or conflict of personalities … that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation,”
So, apparently the conflict had been ongoing. Suffocating, maybe? Especially since it seems that Josh's parents, per the story of how he became addicted, may also have been smothering or suffocating? Yet, maybe Hamilton thought he needed some "liquid courage" (or a powdered version) before pulling the trigger on the filing.

And, I'm not going to berate him for that. As noted, this — his wife and even more his father-in-law Michael Dean Chadwick  — were his most basic part of his sobriety support structure.

That said, their Christian-based ideas on this are ... well, as if they've been tooting some of Josh's coke.

Start with this:
“God told me he was going to give Josh baseball back, but it wasn’t going to be for baseball,” Katie Hamilton said in a public talk in 2005. “It was going to be for something much bigger. He was going to give Josh a platform to help others. It’s not by accident that all the things that have happened in our lives have happened.”
So, Katie, God told Josh to relapse so that he would have a bigger platform?

Uhh, you need to read your own bible: 
Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:1-2)
So, no, Josh doesn't need a yet-bigger platform. Beyond that, isn't that self-righteous, and just generally egotistical, to think that Josh Hamilton was somehow specially called, chosen, or anointed?

Survey says yes.

Besides, related to that, Alcoholics Anonymous says, in its "big book" and elsewhere, that "ego deflation" is key to sobriety. (It actually may be for a certain percentage of Type A male alcoholics, like Bill Wilson, but for many people, healthy ego building, not ego deflation, is key to sobriety.)

That said, if you have a god powerful enough to overcome your "powerlessness," then why didn't said deity keep you from being addicted in the first place?

Well, that's because, even though AA sprung from semi-Calvinist background, it doesn't believe in double predestination. Rather, like Lutheranism, it believes in single predestination. If it's good, then it's all god, and god chosen. If it's bad, then it's all your or my fault.

Again, nobody is "powerless" over alcohol or other addictive substances. One may become close enough to powerless after starting addictive use again to never quit for good, but that's why this has more than two sides.

And, Katie Hamilton sounds a bit whack in other ways, with her "dating other teams" as the analogy for Hamilton looking to leave the Rangers in free agency, as he eventually did.

Let me take this as a chance to say that AA and NA, and the 12-step movement in general aren't the best answer for many, and, as we enter into the world of evidence-based medicine, aren't the scientifically proven be-all, on average, for anybody.

There are secular — non-religious but NOT anti-religious — options out there. I recommend one called Lifering Secular Recovery.

As for Hamilton? Besides sobriety itself, he may need to find a balance point, getting support, structure, and perhaps another family in the future, but without being "smothered."

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