Powerlessness of Addiction: It Will Never Discriminate.
Found in The Doctor’s Opinion of the AA Big Book, it is highlighted that “frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices” when it comes to staying sober. What exactly does that mean? In simple terms, no person or external motivation will be enough for lasting sobriety. No matter how much loved ones beg, no matter how many employers threaten termination, alcoholics and addicts will continue to use unless they find a solution; this is the powerlessness of addiction. Unfortunately, in the case of one NFL star, a multi-million dollar contract didn’t suffice when it came to his sobriety.
On Tuesday February 26, the NFL announced that Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory is suspended indefinitely for once again violating the league’s substance abuse policy. This is not Gregory’s first time offense. Since entering the league in 2015, and throughout his time in college, Gregory has has demonstrated the powerlessness of addiction for a long time.
After a standout career at the University of Nebraska, Gregory was considered by many NFL scouts to be a first-round pick in the draft, potentially even a top-ten pick. There was no doubt about his talent. He was on the edge of signing a multi-million dollar contract as a rookie.
As he approached the Draft Combine in 2015, there was considerable concern around the NFL about Gregory’s substance abuse and his struggles with addiction. He even failed the mandatory drug test administered to rookies at the scouting combine. He became a risky pick, but the Cowboys selected him in the second round of the draft. This ultimately cost him millions of dollars, simply because he could not stay sober.
During the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Gregory missed 30 out of 32 potential games due to suspensions of violating the NFL’s drug policy. He became subject to regular drug tests, and even met with the league’s medical team to discuss treatment options. During his year long suspension, Gregory spent six months in a treatment center and sober living home in California, where he was expected to maintain a “regular” job and participate in a 12-Step Fellowship.
In 2018, Gregory was able to stay clean and play fourteen games for the Cowboys. He proved that talent was never an issue, as he consistently put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and was a versatile threat for the Cowboys defense. During the 2018 season, he underwent upwards of ten drug tests per month.
With his sights set on the 2019 season, all of the chips were in Gregory’s basket. If he put together another solid season, he was looking at a size-able contract extension with the Cowboys and on his way to being a multimillionaire. Unfortunately, the prospect of substantial financial gain was not enough to keep him sober, due to the powerlessness of addiction, Gregory again found himself suspended. With this violation, it is very likely that Gregory’s NFL career is over.
Although many alcoholics and addicts are not on the verge of being millionaires, Randy Gregory’s story exemplifies the powerlessness of the disease of addiction. From the outside, we scratch our heads when young addicts/alcoholics have so much going for them, yet they cannot stay clean for any extended period of time. For many young people struggling with addiction, the obsession of temporary relief can blind them for all the long term benefits of a life of sobriety.
If you or someone you know is struggling from the powerlessness of addiction please reach out for help. Hope is available! Please call 609.709.4205 for info on addiction treatment or resources in your area.