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Here’s Hoping Lamar Odom’s Story Becomes One of Inspiration

NBA star and husband of Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom is reportedly struggling with a drug addiction that is putting his marriage in jeopardy and threatening to put an end to his career. His drug of choice is said to be crack cocaine, and the last two years have seen him spiraling deeper into his addiction. Recently, he was reported missing after being thrown out by Kardashian, but Odom is now back with his wife, according to TMZ.

Although it appears that things have gotten markedly worse over the last two years, there is evidence that Odom has been struggling with drugs for a long time. In 2001, he was suspended by the NBA for violating their drug policy twice in eight months, later admitting to having smoked marijuana. At the time he commented, “I hope everyone doesn’t pass judgment on my mistake. I’ve made a couple and I may make a couple again, but hopefully they won’t be as big as this one … This will never happen again.” It might seem that smoking pot more than a decade ago isn’t indicative of a problem, but things have undeniably escalated, potentially related to Lamar’s work-hard-then-party-hard attitude.

Relationship Problems

He married Khloe Kardashian in 2009, but things have gotten gradually worse for the couple. Although it’s not clear exactly how long Lamar Odom has been using crack-cocaine or harder drugs, it’s been at least two years, with Kardashian trying to help him the entire time. She pressured him into going to rehab in 2012, eventually convincing him to attend a facility in San Diego. However, he was so opposed to the idea that she reportedly hired private investigators to stand guard outside the facility 24/7. Despite these efforts, Lamar was only in rehab for about three weeks. He reportedly stayed clean after he left, but it was only a matter of time before things changed.

A Destroyed Career?

While his relationship may still be salvageable, the same may not be said for his career. Odom has a history of disappearing in times of difficulty, having taken an unscheduled leave of 10 days’ absence while playing for the Dallas Mavericks in 2012. This obviously coincided with his drug problems—being the same year as his stint in rehab—and ultimately led to him leaving Dallas.

Things were looking up after he left rehab. Clean from drugs, he played for the Los Angeles Clippers and had a promising season. But after the season was over, he slipped back into his old habits and reportedly started using drugs again. This may be why around that time he had a run-in with a photographer, trashing his equipment but ultimately escaping without charges.

His wife recently staged a last, desperate intervention, but after it failed he was kicked out of his house and went missing again. It was assumed that his was spent on a crack cocaine binge as he refused help when confronted by his family, but according to initial reports he was later found in a hotel room.

However, his career prospects may have been damaged irrevocably. Both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Clippers have declared him a “liability,” which is understandable from their perspective, given the unexpected leaves of absence and days without contact that are seemingly commonplace. What was once a promising career now seems to be dying a slow death, with Odom  a free agent.

Is He Ready to Get Better?

Somewhere during the course of this tragic story, you would assume Lamar Odom recognized that he’s hit rock bottom. It’s tempting to believe that he has indeed decided to make a change—and of course, everybody hopes he has—but after refusing calls to attend rehab and going missing for days, there is little evidence to suggest it’s actually true.

Odom should focus on how he deals with times of stress if he hopes to recover. Before he went missing in 2012, he suffered from a string of personal tragedies, and his ex-coach Jerry Degregorio commented, “Lamar, in crisis situations, he has a tendency to want to get away and hide.” Rather than seeking the help he needs he hides, undoubtedly easing his rallying emotions by smoking crack cocaine. If he truly wants to kick the drugs, he needs to focus on how to healthily deal with problems. In this way, his story is a warning to addicts, and depending on how things go with his latest attempt to get clean, it could turn into a story of hope and triumph over personal demons.

Photo by Michael Sandoval from Pleasant Hill, CA, USA.

There is still hope.

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