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Does Doc Gooden Need Rehab?

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Doc-GoodenDwight “Doc” Gooden, known best for his time as a pitcher for the New York Mets and New York Yankees in the 1980s and 1990s, has had his share of legal troubles and addiction problems. In late August, his one-time friend and teammate Daryl Strawberry publicly urged him to get help for his addiction, telling members of the press that he believes Gooden has recently relapsed.

Doc Gooden

A decades-long struggle with addiction

Doc Gooden’s sometimes-public battle with drugs goes back to at least 1987. That year he tested positive for cocaine during spring training and was ordered to go to rehab, which he did, and ended up missing his first scheduled start of the season.

He stayed out of the headlines for the most part through the 90s, but in 2002, he was arrested for DUI. And then he was arrested again in 2003 for driving with a suspended license. In 2005, things were still going poorly: Gooden was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges for allegedly hitting his then-girlfriend. Later that year there was another alcohol-involved traffic stop, but this one resulted in Gooden leaving the scene, only to turn himself in three days later.

In 2006, Doc showed up for a probation meeting high on cocaine, and was subsequently arrested. Though he could have chosen to have an extended probation, he instead chose prison, which some people speculated was the only way he knew to avoid the temptation of drugs. He was released after serving seven months, but a few years later found himself in trouble again. He was arrested in 2010 for leaving the scene of an accident, and found to be under the influence of “an undisclosed controlled substance.” He was sentenced to more probation and outpatient drug treatment.

Friends worried

As recently as this past May, things seemed to be looking up for Doc Gooden. In a candid interview with the New York Daily News, he opened up about his struggles with addiction. He said it was an ongoing battle, but said he had been sober since 2011, and felt good about his career and his life.

Fast forward a few months and his friends are worried. After Gooden failed to show up for an appearance with his former friend and teammate Daryl Strawberry in August 2016, Strawberry had enough. He called the papers.

“I’ve been trying behind the scenes to talk to him and get him to go for help, but he won’t listen,” Strawberry said to the Daily News. “His son called me to beg me to help his dad before he dies.”

Strawberry put the reporter in touch with three other people who corroborated the story, each saying Gooden was out of control.

Gooden has denied the relapse, but has lost a considerable amount of weight, and according to those close to him, exhibiting erratic behavior.

Some people have criticized Strawberry’s public approach to the issue, saying friends should try to help him away from the spotlight. Others, including Gooden’s former drug counselor Ron Dock, said it was the right move.

“Darryl absolutely did the right thing by going public,” Dock said. “We’ve tried to help him privately. I asked him again at his mother’s funeral service (in July) to let me help him. But he’s in denial, and now is angry because the disease is angry.”

Upon hearing the news, even the Yankees organization has gotten involved, committing to pay for treatment, should Doc Gooden choose to get help.

Finding help

Unfortunately sometimes the disease of addiction blinds its host. While everyone else around an addict can see the sharp turns of a downward spiral, the addicts themselves can’t see beyond their next high or drink.

If you’re looking for help for an intervention for someone you love, The Watershed can help. If you’re ready to talk about your own addiction, we’re here to listen. Call us, any time: 1-800-861-1768.

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