For the first time ever, Hall of Famer and one of the greatest Houston Astros of all time, Jeff Bagwell, opens up about his struggle with alcohol.
In a revealing interview with Paper City Magazine, Houston Astros Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell reveals his intense struggle with alcohol and how he hopes by opening up, he can help someone else with their personal struggle.
Bagwell played 15 seasons for the Astros in his Hall of Fame career, winning the 1994 MVP Award, and is the leader in home runs in franchise history. He was also a four-time All Star, a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, a Rookie of the Year and a Gold Glove Winner. He later served as the hitting coach for the Astros in 2010 before deciding to take a break after that season ended. He later returned to the franchise in 2015 after the hiring of A.J. Hinch as manager.
The impetus for Bagwell’s interview and his personal revelation was being part of the annual luncheon for Archway Academy, a high school in Houston that helps teens with addictions, whether it be with alcohol or drugs.
"“Addiction, whether it’s drugs or alcohol is just a challenge. Put it that way. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life. To have no control over yourself where alcohol, for me, controlled my life. Where from when you wake up in the morning to whenever I went to sleep, it was all about where’s my next drink.”"
He also spoke about almost losing hope with his addiction and how hard it was for him.
"At times you lose hope,” Bagwell says. “I think you don’t value your life anymore. I remember looking in the mirror in the morning, at seven o’clock in the morning, and saying. ‘What are you doing, man? You’re killing yourself.’ And still could not stop."
Bagwell leaned on his family who had several interventions with him to encourage him to get the help he needed. He finally did get help by going to AA meetings, saying that it saved his life and could save others.
"If every single person went to an AA meeting, the world would be a better place,” Bagwell says."
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While he hopes to inspire others to get the help they need, Archway Academy definitely left a deep emotional impact on Bagwell, who recalled attending a “Walk The Line” ceremony where a counselor or teacher would ask the group if they ever did something and if they did, they would cross a line with others who experienced the same hardship.
Bagwell is appreciative of the help he’s gotten, but knows that there is still a long way to go for him and others, but with the help of family and friends, he can have a better future.
"Obviously, we never overcome this disease,” Bagwell says. “People say, ‘Oh, you’re a recovered alcoholic.’ No, I’m in recovery. It’s always there. It’s always waiting. And for me, I was very, very fortunate to have people around me that loved me and supported me. And didn’t give up on me. That’s part of the reason why I’m here today."
I think the Astros should back Bagwell and take the lead in addiction recovery awareness as well as promoting programs like Archway Academy to help spread the word to those who might be struggling. I think it would also help restore the reputation of the Astros organization as a whole after the sign stealing scandal rocked the organization to its core.
If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, you can always get in touch with the SAMSHA hotline at 1-800-662-HELP, they are open 24/7, 365 days a year.