By MARILYN TINNIN
Darryl Strawberry’s Major League Baseball career is one for the record books—eight times a Major League All Star, four-time World Series Champion, and one whose natural talent earned him descriptions like “dazzling” and “electrifying.” He should have been the picture of the American dream. Instead, his 17-year career was punctuated by substance abuse, rocky relationships, a prison stint, several half-hearted efforts at recovery, colon cancer, and a boat load of personal pain, much of it self-inflicted.
And then God intervened. Today he and his wife, Tracy, are ordained ministers who embrace a calling to speak the restoration, healing, and redemption through Christ to others who struggle with the burden of substance abuse. Darryl will be the keynote speaker for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, of the Central Mississippi Areas, on November 12 at The South Warehouse in Downtown Jackson. Visit ncaddms.org or call 601.899.5880 for ticket information.
Darryl grew up in Los Angeles, one of five siblings in a home with a loving mother and a very abusive alcoholic father. He calls his childhood a “disaster,” and the pain that resulted was something he could not escape even when baseball made him rich or the alcohol and drugs gave him a temporary reprieve from his emotional wounds. He had a bad attitude along with a host of destructive habits.
He had an anger that got him in all sorts of trouble. He remembers sitting by his swimming pool in the backyard of his lavish home and staring at all the things he had accumulated but asking himself, “What good is any of this?” He had every THING money could buy, but he had no peace.
Darryl’s story is replete with “do-overs,” as he says he surrendered to Christ on more than one occasion only to slip back into the substance abuse trap. “What was missing in those first failures,” he says, “was discipleship. To get free of the behavior, I had to come to understand discipleship.” That has been a daily journey for Darryl who says he found a new freedom and a fresh purpose when he began to really grow in his relationship with Christ. He is passionate about helping others who struggle discover the same grace and truth that have set him free.
He claims as his anchor verse Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” He says with conviction, “Don’t miss the ‘all’ word. We so often read over it and get to the ‘who are called’ part. ALL is pretty huge. Even our failures and our brokenness—He can use for his purposes.”
Whether you are one who struggles or one who loves someone who is struggling with addiction, Darryl Strawberry is someone you want to meet! Be there.