ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said he has been undergoing counseling the past two weeks since his second relapse in his recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and is trying to focus on the reasons why he stumbled one night more than two weeks ago. Hamilton, in his first public interview since his relapse, said he understands that he is never going to be completely "fixed," but must continue to be vigilant in his recovery. He also said that in trying to maintain his sobriety as well as being the best baseball player and provider for his family, he lost focus in his faith, his wife, Katie, and his daughters. "It's going to be a process," Hamilton said Wednesday. "I'm not fixed but I'm trying to do the right thing one day at a time. ... The battle is not over. It's going to go on for a long time. It's a spiritual re-programming."
The live interview took place on GBTV.com, an online streaming video site founded by conservative political commentator Glenn Beck. The interview was conducted by James Robison, a Dallas-area pastor and televangelist, who has been ministering to Hamilton and his family. The interview focused on Hamilton's recovery and did not address specifics of what happened in his relapse. "For so long since I have been back in the game, I felt like I had my life under control," Hamilton said. "I was focused on being a provider for my family, not doing drugs or alcohol, playing baseball and taking care of my family. "That's a good thing but I let it disconnect me from my family. I wasn't focused on my relationship with my wife or my kids ... or my relationship with the Lord. So many things were keeping me from growing and I didn't realize they were holding me back. "When I was on the road, I felt like I had to be on all the time so it was easy for me to retreat when I got back home. I absolutely shut down. These were the strongholds inside me that I didn't realize were affecting my family." Hamilton said he and his family have been working on a variety of personal issues through counseling, prayer and other means since his relapse on Jan. 30. He said both he and his family are "doing great." "It has been a special time," Hamilton said. "The communication in the past 1 1/2 weeks has been more than there has been in the past eight years. I'm not saying I haven't been communicating but it has been more meaningful communication." Hamilton's relapse occurred at a Dallas restaurant and a bar. Four days later, Hamilton apologized for his actions at a press conference at the Ballpark in Arlington, but did not take questions from the media. Hamilton admitted to drinking alcohol that night but said he did not use drugs and has not tested positive in two drug tests. His first relapse came in January 2009 when he admitted to drinking heavily in a Phoenix-area bar. Again, he did not fail a drug test, he apologized for his actions and he was not suspended by Major League Baseball. Hamilton says now that he didn't do enough three years ago to understand why he had that first relapse. He said the focus at that time was getting through it and getting on with his life. Hamilton said he has been focusing the past two weeks on understanding why he has had these relapses. He said there are issues from his dark past still inside of him and he has not been able to let go of them. "When I had that relapse in '09, the main thing was to put it past me and move on," Hamilton said. "I was fine, just move on, everything is good. This time I'm not just moving past it. I want to find out why it happened. "There are just things in my past, whether it's my recovery or my childhood, I just came to realize there are a lot of things that I had put away, things that were hanging on to me and on to my mind. I didn't know they were there." Last week he flew to New York to meet with doctors from Major League Baseball and the Players Association. He was accompanied by Shayne Kelley, who has been hired by the Rangers as a special assistant. One of Kelley's duties will be to assist Hamilton in his ongoing recovery program. Hamilton is expected to report to Spring Training at some point next week and address the media. Major League Baseball has not come down with any disciplinary action and Hamilton said he remains committed to his recovery program. "I wouldn't be sitting here if I wasn't committed," Hamilton said. "That's the one thing that people closest to me see ... the commitment level that I have. I don't want to live on chance or happenstance. "I want to focus on what it is inside of me and why this happened, the things inside me that caused it." Hamilton, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft by the Rays, missed 3 1/2 seasons from 2003-06 because of his problems with drugs and alcohol. He was finally cleared to play by Major League Baseball on June 2, 2006, and was assigned to the Rays' Minor League system. The Reds acquired him out of the 2006 Rule 5 Draft and he played one season in Cincinnati before being traded to the Rangers in December 2007. He has played four seasons with the Rangers and was the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.