Success is Addictive

By: Ned Wicker

By Rev. Ned Wicker,

Editor: Drug-Addiction-Support.org

The starting of Spring Training activities in Florida and Arizona were over shadowed by the recent testimonies before a congressional committee by Major League Baseball superstar Roger Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee concerning the Mitchell Report findings of steroid use. We don't always think of steroids as being addictive, but addiction takes on many faces and professional athletes are lured by the potential upside of using an illegal substance.

Whether a player took steroids to gain a competitive edge, or recover from an injury, the craving or need for success and financial gain is very powerful. In the case of the players the drug is not so much steroids as it is fame and fortune.

From the time they are small boys, professional baseball players are told how good they are, how great they are. They are set apart. Even high school players are all too often playing by a different set of rules, because they have that potential for greatness.

Somehow it's ok to get the edge, especially when everybody else is doing it. Fathers live vicariously through their sons and turn the other way, even though steroid use may inflict serious health consequences on their sons. They aren't thinking about the potential for liver cancer, heart attacks, or the premature stopping of bone growth in teens. Hepatitis and HIV are also serious risks, as are depression and suicide. It's all about success and getting to "the show."

The experience of professional athletes, who use steroids to gain an edge or recover from injury, despite the health risks, is very similar to any addict who uses to feel better or remove the pain. I am reminded of the 12-Step process as I comb through the media coverage of the hearings. When it comes to drugs, has Major League Baseball gone through the steps as an organization? Has MLB "made a fearless and moral inventory" of itself? I doubt that MLB sees steroids in terms of addiction. They see it as a mark on the sport, a public relations problem. Would baseball even be able to go through the steps at all? Even when players admit they took steroids, in most cases they fall short of really sincere apologies, so how could they navigate through Steps 8 and 9, making a list of persons they harmed and be willing to make amends?

Steroid use in sports is another indication of our inclination, as a people, to abuse drugs and avoid the responsibility of our actions. There may be no legal or health ramifications, but our addictive nature sits there, waiting for another opportunity. We need to deal with our inclination towards drug abuse, long before we take drugs. While this latest chapter is about baseball players and a trainer, if you take a step back and see the broader picture, it's about human nature. It's about all of us.

Self Improvement and Motivation
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