Darryl Strawberry is a very well known and well-respected baseball player, with a large number of homeruns, intimidating presence, and illustrious, 17-year career that included four World Series championships and eight seasons in the All-Star Game. However, a great deal of fame and success in his field did not protect Darryl from struggles with substance abuse and depression.
Issues with cocaine abuse and jail time for driving under the influence were quickly tarnishing the legacy of a widely admired ball player. However, what could have been one of many tragic stories of a gifted person’s life destroyed by addiction turned into a hopeful testimony, as Strawberry was able to enter into a recovery program. He credits his new found Christian faith with being the main thing enabling him to heal from addiction, and now preaches and supports others seeking hope for recovery from addiction.
Struggles With Drug Addiction
Darryl Strawberry grew up with an alcoholic and abusive father, and Darryl grew up sometimes admiring and learning from his father’s great softball skills, but other times fearful and the target of drunken rage. Darryl had to cope with a hard childhood while at the same time excelling as a baseball player, being drafted by the New York Mets in 1980, almost immediately after graduating from Crenshaw High School.
As is sometimes the case with professional athletes, his fame and wealth brought many harmful behaviors along with it, as Strawberry and his teammates drinking heavily and abusing drugs. After moving to the Los Angeles Dodgers, he moved on to even harder drugs, saying he needed relief from all the internal pain he was feeling.
In 1992, he converted to Christianity under the influence of evangelist Morris Cerullo, and hoped that would be the end of his addiction. Unfortunately, like many addicts entering recovery, he discovered that maintaining sobriety was a hard choice, requiring a moment-by-moment commitment. He relapsed after dislocating his shoulder, beginning a cycle of excelling as a baseball player, then getting dismissed due to health and legal troubles, and turning back to heavy use of alcohol and drugs.
After many times in rehab, followed by relapse, and amid a very stressful treatment for colon cancer, Darryl Strawberry’s life has completely transformed since his release from prison in 2003. At the encouragement of his sister, he studied the Bible and committed himself to complete trust in God, not giving up hope in spite of his many relapses. He returned to the Mets as an instructor, but has otherwise avoided any direct references to his illustrious baseball career.
Working To Lead Others To Both Faith and Addiction Recovery
Today, Darrell Strawberry has committed his life to helping others who also need recovery. He is an ordained Christian minister, and has used the pulpit to speak openly about his struggles with drug use, urging people to have hope to know that recovery is possible.
He has lent his name and experience to the Daryl Strawberry Recovery Center that uses Christian faith alongside a holistic detox program and long-term sobriety program to help people recover from substance abuse. On his web site, he speaks eloquently about how his faith has encouraged him on his path to sobriety. “Much of my life has been filled with the battles that have left me without hope….But today I have hope!”
Darryl Strawberry has had a very difficult pathway towards sobriety, but he has now discovered a way to use his experienced to encourage, challenge, and help others. He is living out the true meaning of the Christian concept of “testimony,” of allowing what he sees as God’s work in his life to encourage others to pursue a thriving life as well.