Josh Hamilton suffers another very public relapse





The worst part about Josh Hamilton’s relapse is that he didn’t care. The most famous addict in sports does not go to a bar in the town where he is best known without full knowledge that his exploits will become public in a matter of hours. That it took three full days for Hamilton’s latest relapse to go viral – and that incriminating pictures have yet to surface – is something of a miracle.

What we know at the moment, from the Dallas Morning News report and confirmation by the Texas Rangers, is that Hamilton drank Monday. The particulars – was he drunk, why did he drink and was he really letting women at the bar grab his butt? – don’t matter as much as the act. With addicts they never do. Sobriety is black and white. Black won Monday.

That it prevailed in such open fashion is what should scare Hamilton’s family as well as the Rangers. Only Hamilton understands why he would choose such a setting to drink, whether it was the empowerment of doing what he wants, where he wants, when he wants, or if it was his way of asking for help as he floats about without an accountability partner. After his spectacular fall off the wagon in January 2009 that included pictures of him licking whipped cream off a woman’s fake breasts, Hamilton knew the second alcohol touched his lips he was vulnerable not only to its seductive ways but to the gossipy culture that is making secrets an anachronism.

Hamilton does care, of course, even if for the tiniest sliver of time it eluded him. He has said so to me and to his friends and to millions of people who see him for what addicts can achieve, and there’s no reason not to believe him. A temporary slip in that does not represent weakness. It is a symptom of addiction’s vagaries. And those moments are the toughest for every addict to confront. Some reach that nadir and stop. Others fight and claw and battle and cave. Hamilton has seen some lows. Falling asleep in a ditch whacked out on crack. Being immortalized in a Deadspin photo montage. The devil in him is strong.