Two days ago I received a text from one of my best friends. It was simply a link to a news report on one of the local tv channel’s website. I figured it would be something funny or weird. Instead it was the news of an underage prostitution sting that landed a local football coach in jail. That coach happened to be the guy who was my quarterback from high school. I graduated with him, his dad was the varsity coach and I would even run into him while traveling for college football as he played for a college not far from one of my college rival’s school.

More interesting yet is that his dad, my former coach, requested my facebook friendship a week or so prior to this stunning news. The reality is, should I be all that stunned? I do wonder if there will be more fallout, i.e. actual people coming forward, etc. Would this be an opportunity for me to do a little “12th step” work and at least anonymously send him a flier for my recovery group?

There’s a lot of social media badmouthing going on and I can see where it would be hard not to jump into the rabble. The reality is I see and live the struggle from his side of things. Unless the person is truly a sociopath I can go through the entire scenario. The excitement of the taboo opportunity turning to fear turning to self-loathing turning to ask “I need to stop, but something in me can’t or won’t” to what can be only explained as relief to being caught. To knowing you’re at a bottom or a breaking point where you can and do pull away for a while and get help while the cycle of habit comes charging back. Hopefully, something changed or is different lest he be swept away again to potentially worse fate.

Whatever the struggle, the ensuing damage and aftermath are hard to realize in the compulsive state. The bottom reaps remorse, but the pain of others isn’t often enough to counter the personal anguish and need for another escape, another fix. For some it’s only until the death preparation begins to happen, the stopping of eating, the stopping of sleeping, the wasting, the anxiety the wishing for death that a corner is able to be turned.

I pray for my former teammate and his family that the corner has been turned and hopefully the bottom is just that and not some other awful end.