Detroit Lions President Tom Lewand Opens Up About His Alcoholism

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Detroit Lions President Tom Lewand Opens Up About His Alcoholism

By Paul Gaita 02/13/15

Lewand opened up about his struggles and recovery during a candid speech that reflected his renewed faith.

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Tom Lewand, president of the Detriot Lions football organization, gave a candid speech about his struggles with and recovery from alcohol addiction, which he credited to a renewed sense of faith.

Lewand spoke about his past at the Orion, Mich., campus of Kensington Church, where Lions chaplain Dave Wilson serves as pastor. His dependency on alcohol began through experimentation in his high school days. By the time he was attending the University of Michigan, alcohol was “something I consumed that pretty quickly consumed me,” he said.

For a period, Lewand was able to balance his life and rapidly ascending career with his alcohol dependency, even as family and friends began to confront him about the issue. “I had a great job and by the standards that the world judges us, I was doing just fine,” he said.

Lewand’s ability to hide from his own issues fell to pieces on June 25, 2010, when he was jailed for driving with a blood alcohol level of .21. “I laid down on that hard, cold floor in that cell and had what was simultaneously one of the worst and one of the best nights of my life,” he said. “One of the worst, because I didn’t know what my future was going to be. One of the best, because I finally gave up. I knew that I couldn’t do it.”

Lewand credited his renewed faith with helping him get through the early days of his sobriety, when he was suspended from the National Football League for 30 days, fined $100,000, and sentenced to six months probation. And he continues to attribute his health and well-being to his relationship with the church, though in his speech, he was honest about the daily challenges of sober living.

“I’d like to tell you that everything since that day has been sunshine and roses the last four-and-a-half years,” Lewand said.

“It’s easy to get complacent, because while alcohol may not be a part of my life anymore, teenagers still are. My marriage still is. Stress at work, referees who pick up flags, all of those things. And I have to, on a daily basis, pay attention to my relationship to God, because my complacency shows up if I feel that distance between God and I starting.”

Lewand’s address to the church can be seen here beginning at the 38:30 mark.

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