When you’re an athlete, everyone wants to be the best; and turning to steroids is always an available option. And if they can’t be the best, they at least want to be better than they have ever been before.
In the middle of his professional baseball career, Lenny Dykstra felt physically weak and small. Motivated by competition and the promise of more play time—and therefore bigger paychecks—he decided to give himself an advantage over other players in the only way he knew how: steroids. This is how addiction often begins. You set yourself a goal you are physically or mentally incapable of reaching. The fear of what will happen to you – or won’t – if you don’t reach your goal clouds your thinking. You tell yourself you will do whatever it takes to make sure you succeed. Even if it means taking illegal drugs, for instance, to make it happen.
In the early 1990s, steroids made Dykstra one of the best baseball players of his time. That fame and competitive edge, falsely obtained, of course did not last. He eventually ended up with a DUI and, later down the road, jail time and hundreds of hours of community service. And no more professional baseball. Performance enhancing drugs may give you the temporary physical strength and psychological confidence to be the best player on your team—for now—but they don’t come without side effects. Mayo Clinic warns that prolonged use of performance enhancing drugs can eventually lead to hypertension, heart problems, aggressive behaviors, depression and more.
It goes without saying that out of all the negative consequences that come along with steroid use, addiction is one of the most destructive. An addiction to any kind of drug, even steroids in the sporting world, more often than not results in a chain reaction of poor health, bad decisions, shattered relationships and hitting rock bottom … exactly the opposite of being the best, where this all may have started. Recovering from addiction has even more benefits than you realize. Dykstra told Scott Miller of Bleacher Report that his experience with steroid addiction as a major league baseball star prompted him to spend an entire year with his teenage son, teaching him the “right” way to play baseball.
He blamed never learning the “right” way to play baseball was one of the major factors that led to his steroid use. He also started a magazine designed specifically for baseball players. Not only was Dykstra able to use his dark past to improve the life and future career of his son; he was also able to touch the lives of many players around the country through his magazine.
Everyone wants to be the best. When it comes to handling addiction, it’s okay if you aren’t at your best right now. You can, and will, get better.
Lenny Dykstra overcame his addiction, mended ties with some of his family members and recently published a book, meaning he will impact even more people by sharing his story with the world. He went from the best, to the worst, and is once again climbing the ladder toward a new definition of success. If he can do it, so can you. Start the process today.