GREAT FALLS - Darryl Strawberry was known for his legendary moonshot home runs but throughout his life, the four-time World Series champion battled a relentless opponent — drug and alcohol addiction.
“Addiction is very hard. It’s not one of the overnight miracles that you just get out of. It’s a process,” said Strawberry. “You’ve got to go through a process. I ended up in five treatment centers. My wife didn't give up on me. I stand here today because she didn’t give up on me.”
Strawberry says an abusive father was what triggered his addictions. He said he was a womanizer, drug addict, and alcoholic. He had two failed marriages before meeting his current wife Tracy — who also struggled with addiction. The two have been married for 15 years.
Strawberry said he later made amends with his father and forgave him for being absent for much of his life.
Tracy Strawberry recalls beating down drug house doors to drag her husband from the grip of addiction.
The couple — who operate Strawberry Ministries — shared their message with others in recovery at an alumni event for Rocky Mountain Treatment Center.
“To let go, we let go with boundaries,” said Tracy. “This is how you show somebody true love. I am no longer going to participate in your death, your dysfunction or your defeat. I’m not going to do it.”
It’s a message that hit home for Jacque Kost, who works at Rocky and has been sober for more than three years.
“It’s a beautiful thing to watch people go from death to life again,” said Kost.
Admitting a problem is a courageous first step. Jacque says knowing that you are not alone helps in the journey.
“When I was out there I felt like I was alone, that nobody was like me, that I was unique,” said Kost. “Being able to come here and experience those things with people that go through the same thing. You just feel like you’re at home.”
At the height of his game, Darryl Strawberry thought he had it all.
“I’ve had homes, money and everything else. I played major league baseball for 17 years, achieving all these great things but I was broken on the inside,” said Strawberry.
Strawberry, a two-time cancer survivor, finished his career with 335 home runs and ranks as the all-time home run leader for the New York Mets, the team that drafted him. He won his first World Series ring with them in 1986.
He also played for his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. He was a three-time World Series winner as a member of the New York Yankees.
While the fame and accolades were nice, Strawberry says they weren’t everything.
“At the end of the day, it’s like, ‘who are you?’ and that’s what we have to discover of ourselves,” said Strawberry. “I think that was the most important thing to discover about myself, that I was greater than what I was doing. And I was a greater person inside than when I was playing major league baseball.”
When the curtain calls ended and the cheering stopped, he realized it was time to change who he was — especially his behavior.
“I see so many people who are still in recovery, but they still have the behavior and wonder why I live such an abundant life and free life is because I got rid of the behavior and went into new things,” said Strawberry. “When I talk about new things, I’m talking about getting outside of yourself and you go back and give it back and help somebody else.”