Overcoming Addiction With World Series Champion Darryl Strawberry

Darryl Strawberry

Verywell / Julie Bang

Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews authors, experts, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Meet Darryl Strawberry

Darryl Strawberry played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball. During that time, he played for both the New York Mets and the New York Yankees.

His many accomplishments in the major leagues include four World Series titles and eight All-Star Game appearances. In 2004, he was nominated to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

What Makes Darryl Strawberry Mentally Strong

Yet Darryl’s success on the baseball field didn’t make him feel happy. He had many unhealed emotional wounds from childhood that haunted him.

And so for many years, he struggled with addiction and legal problems. He began making headlines for all the wrong reasons and was suspended from baseball. He was eventually diagnosed with cancer and began feeling suicidal.

Fortunately, though, Darryl’s story didn’t end there. He got released from prison, returned to his faith, and quit using substances. Now, he spends his time inspiring other people to transform their lives as well.

He is the author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller, Straw: Finding My Way (with John Strausbaugh), and Turn Your Season Around: How God Transforms Your Life (with Lee Weeks).

What You'll Hear on the Show

  • His faith in God and the role his faith plays in his ability to be mentally strong
  • How to balance trusting God with personal responsibility
  • His struggle with addiction and what helped pull him out of it
  • How his pain led to his greatness and how his greatness eventually led to his downfall
  • Why he thinks so many people struggle with unhealed emotional wounds and addiction
  • The big misconception he thinks most people have about mental strength
  • How to deal with guilt, shame, and insecurity
  • The risk of having a big ego
  • The best steps to start taking if you’re struggling
  • How to stop punishing yourself for past mistakes
  • How to get back on track with your faith when you’ve stepped away from it for a while
  • How to set your life up in a way that helps you be mentally strong

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

What You'll Learn About Overcoming Addiction and Mental Strength

Spirituality and faith can play a huge role in mental strength. Some people believe that as long as they have faith, they don’t have to put in the time or energy to become mentally strong.

On the other end of the spectrum, are those who think that their actions alone are responsible for their mental strength. That faith doesn’t play a role. 

But Darryl makes it clear that you can have faith while also taking an active role in improving yourself. He said he believes in the power of prayer. But he also believes he has the power to create positive change—if he puts the time and effort into it. 

Quotes From Darryl Strawberry

Darryl Strawberry

My pain led me to my greatness. But my greatness would eventually lead me to my destructive behavior.

— Darryl Strawberry
  • "You have to get up and do your routine or enter in worship or reading and studying."
  • "If I don't safeguard myself, I'm going to go back to being what everybody else is, you know, just being a part of the party. And that's not something I wanted to do."
  • "Don't worry about what anybody else is going to think because I do know one thing. We all have problems, and we all will struggle with some things in this lifetime."

More About the Podcast

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Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.