Darryl Strawberry, Former MLB Star, Shares His Journey To Sobriety

By McCarton Ackerman 11/09/16

“I completely surrendered and my life has been transformed by the power of God. I found my purpose.”

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Darryl Strawberry, Former MLB Star, Shares His Journey To Sobriety
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After highly publicized addictions to cocaine and alcohol that hindered his legendary pro baseball career, Darryl Strawberry is now sober and preaching about what helped him turn his life around.

These days, the former MLB star is an ordained minister. He launched Strawberry Ministries in 2010 with his wife, Tracy. He speaks regularly to congregations around the world and motivates people to change their lives in the same way he did.

“I was a heathen. I was a liar. I was a cheater. I was a womanizer. I was an alcoholic. I was a drug addict. I was a sinner,” said Strawberry during a recent speech at Camarillo Community Church in California, according to the Ventura Star. “I completely surrendered and my life has been transformed by the power of God. I found my purpose.”

Strawberry played professional baseball for 17 seasons, concluding his career in 1999 with the New York Yankees. But he was also suspended three times for substance abuse during his career. Post-retirement, Strawberry bounced in and out of jail and court-ordered rehab, with his longest stint being an 11-month sentence in 2001 for violating probation on cocaine possession charges. He also found himself $3 million in debt and didn’t even have a driver’s license.

“I had everything that a person could want. I had plenty of money, but I had nothing because I was empty inside. I was miserable because my marriage was falling apart and my life was unraveling,” said Strawberry.

The baseball star got sober in 2003 after becoming a born-again Christian. He credited former New York Mets teammate Gary Carter, who passed away from brain cancer in 2012, with providing the positive influence to help turn his life around.

“Here was this guy, he was a great player, and then you see the way he conducted himself. Deep down inside, I know I really wanted that. I wanted to be a man that lived right,” Strawberry told Newsday in May. “I had an opportunity to see a man that I didn’t see in my home because I didn’t have that. I didn’t have a father figure. I didn’t have anyone like that to admire.”

Strawberry has come full circle by opening up two drug and alcohol treatment centers with his wife in Florida, continuing their mission to touch as many lives as possible.

"The spikes are in a box, the bat is retired but the true passion and purpose for my life is just beginning," he wrote on his website. "That passion is being able to make a difference in the lives of others. Today I have hope, a hope I want to instill in others."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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