As told to: Greg ThomasAlcohol is a disease. If you have it, you have it. It doesn’t have to happen right away. It happens over years. Once you’re made aware you have this problem, you must accept it. I am grateful I have it, because I know can’t do anything like that ever in my life. It is much easier for me to accept that and I know who I am.
With drinking and alcohol and going out and other things, some guys don’t realize that they just can’t do it. There are a lot of them in sports, but every family has one addict. It’s sad, but it doesn’t matter if you are an athlete or not. One thing I learned in life is that I don’t have to drink and play. In 1994, they told me not to drink anymore and I said okay. I really had no choice. I was underage when I was arrested for drinking and driving. As part of my sentence, I had to go to school for four hours a week, see a therapist and not drink.
“Every family has one addict.”
I didn’t take it seriously at the beginning but I remember on May 9th, 1994, I decided not to do it anymore and I didn’t do it for a long time, until now. I had some issues in the past, but they’ve been taken care of. So I have been on the right path for almost four years. I had some issues with other things like opiates and stuff but that was long ago. It takes time, but at least now I feel very fortunate that I was introduced in the early years in my career to alcohol awareness. I only have what I accomplished in my career because I did not continue to go crazy with going out. We all miss the game but you can’t play forever. Jaromir, God bless him. He is holding up incredibly well but for most of us, when it is time to go it is time to go. For some guys, it is hard to do that. For me, it was easier because I had a family. You close one door and open another one. It’s tough to change because it takes time. I think hockey teaches you a lot of discipline when you are part of a team and you apply it other aspects of your life after hockey. Hockey or recovery or whatever, I cannot do this alone. I need people to help me. We all need people to support us because being alone is very hard.
GREG THOMAS is an accomplished actor and playwright from Nipawin, Saskatchewan.
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