Have you ever had a moment in your life where you wish you had a time machine so you could go back and change a life altering decision? One that would no doubt result in making your life and others’ lives better? If you answered yes, then you and I have something in common.
I remember that day vividly. It was July 18th, 2009 and I was a Baltimore Oriole attempting to pull it together for our 1pm game against the Chicago White Sox. We were in the middle of the dog days of summer and we were getting our asses kicked on a daily basis. It was the second game of a three game weekend series, and the aches, pains, and mental grind of the game were starting to mount. I was also feeling the full weight of the debauchery from the night before. The last thing I wanted to do was play a fucking baseball game. All I wanted to do was lie down and sleep.
Still dressed in my party clothes from the night before, I sought out an overtly secret and dark part of the visiting team locker room. It came equipped with my own personal, decrepit throne; in the form of a leather Lazy Boy recliner that smelled like ass. Eyes closed, I began to drift in and out of a single thought. I had visions of me as a kid in Texas, kicking dirt on my home town Little League field, dreaming of when I would make it to the pros. Simple enough, but a reminder of better times that allowed me, if only for a few minutes, to forget where I was and how I arrived here. As that thought and the excitement I used to feel about the game washed over me I was quickly pulled back into reality and the rank chair of doom. My hangover wouldn’t let me continue to drift. I wanted to fucking puke.
Nine years prior I had realized my dream. That kid kicking dirt on the field in Texas had made it. I spent 6 years with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and was now in my 3rd season with the Baltimore Orioles. That dream was quickly losing its luster 9 years and One Thousand Four Hundred and Fifty Eight games later. The aches, pains and mental grind of the game were beginning to poison me. Not to mention the fact that I had basically been getting my ass handed to me over the course of those One Thousand Four Hundred and Fifty Eight games playing in the American League East. I was sick of baseball, sick of losing, and sick of being shit faced choosing dark corners of locker rooms and leather lazy boys to hide out in.
A teammate of mine crossed into my seemingly secluded corner of the locker room blocking out the one minuscule ray of light that swept across my closed eyes. I could almost see the smirk on his face and definitely felt his energy. He sarcastically laughed, “Tough one last night Huffy?”
That was an understatement.
Thirty thousand screaming Chicago fans were waiting to rip me to shreds in a matter of hours and I was in no shape to shake that shit off, let alone charge towards the field leaving behind my perfect seclusion.
“I’ve got something that will make you feel invincible.”
I perked up, attention grabbed, eyes suddenly able to open. “What you got man? I’m desperate.” In true infomercial style he replied, “I got an Adderall, and in thirty minutes you won’t be hungover anymore and you’ll feel like you’re twenty.”
Snap! Just like that, my journey with Adderall began. It was that thoughtless, that desperate, that mindless and that instantaneous. I never gave it a second thought.
Major League Baseball tests for Performance Enhancing Drugs and Adderall is definitely considered a PED. All drug tests are random. After any game of choice an MLB drug tester could show up, unannounced and select a handful of players to randomly piss in a cup. If a player failed a drug test the first offense was a slap on the wrist. The second offense… a fifty game suspension with no pay, and a 3rd offense basically pulls the sheet over your career. I had never been tested positive for any PED in my career and at that moment I was feeling lucky.
At the time my attitude was toxic. The way I saw it, I was really getting fucking sick of baseball, so if somehow I got caught and was kicked out of The League for taking drugs, I really wouldn’t have given two shits. The beer and booze filled nights along with the physical grind of the game, the constant travel, being away from my family, and a long losing streak were taking a toll on my body and my mind. I clearly was troubled and was no doubt numbing myself from deeper seeded issues that I was unaware of at the time. I felt numb, I didn’t care…I was drifting. And I was about to embark on using pharmaceutical drugs to help me function.
As I reached for that little orange and white 20 milligram capsule it never occurred to me that something so inappreciable and insignificant would turn out to be so considerable within the course of my adult life. I just wanted a quick fix for the torment I was feeling.
Thirty minutes later the dark corner of the locker room I had exiled myself to began to open up. The dim lit room I was hiding in began to get brighter and brighter, mimicking a perfect sunrise. My senses were firing on all cylinders. I noticed every stain on the carpet, every imperfection in the ceiling, even the offensive smell I had been drenched in all night seemed to emit a hint of crisp mountain air after a fresh snow fall.
I felt like Bradley Cooper in the movie, “Limitless” when he took his first pill of NZT.
Hangover?? What hangover?!
I hopped out of the Lazy Boy and rushed with a surge of excitement to get my uniform on. I had always been the guy who hated going out early to stretch. I loathed hearing all the bothersome autograph seekers and asshole insults. Most days I’d be the last one strolling out from the locker room moments before the first pitch.
I bolted out of the visitor’s dugout and charged toward the right field line to get loose. I stretched. I did 30 sprints. I also did pushups, sit-ups, and hell I couldn’t even believe it, jumping jacks! Hardly exercises you’d see Major Leaguers engage in before a game. I must have looked like a fucking crackhead.
I remember at one point lying face down on the grass breathing it in for what seemed like hours. It must have looked like I lost my mind, but I didn’t give a shit. There wasn’t a more important, confident, or happier man on the planet than Aubrey Huff! Even the asshole Chicago fans firing insults at me entertained me as I began to taunt them in return. For every insult I returned fire. Ironically enough I could tell they were actually enjoying our back and forth banter. Filled with power, exuberance, and a newfound love for White Sox fans I even went over and signed autographs; and no doubt made some new fans that day. I couldn’t remember the last time I went over to sign autographs before any game.
Who the fuck is this new guy? I love him! How the hell have I played this game this long without this shit? How did I ever manage life without this?
We lost the game 4-3 and I went 0 for 4. I usually would have been miserable and pissed off, starring into my locker wishing I could ride off into the sunset. Today was different. I felt like I was 4 for 4 and wished we would have gone to extra innings.
It’s no secret I had always enjoyed a beer of two after a game, but the thought of having a beer on Adderall was the only thing on my mind. I remember popping open that first Bud Light, the angels singing, and the gates of heaven opening. It tasted like the nectar of the Gods.
After that beer and for reasons I still can’t explain, I wanted a cigarette. Not just any cigarette, a menthol! I found this odd as I was never really a smoker. Sure, every so often when I was shit faced I would suck one down socially, but I had never bought my own pack.
The clubhouse attendant scored me a Marlboro menthol and I retreated to the clubhouse laundry room and pulled down my first menthol ever. It was absolutely magical. The mix of the Marlboro menthol and Bud Light satisfied my deeply engrained white trash DNA.
That very first drag was spellbinding. Every major sense in my body was at euphoric levels. I had never felt this free. I thought to myself, “shit if every person on the planet was on Adderall the world would be a better place.”
I know many of you right now are probably reading this and about to make a call to your local shrink to try and score your own script.
It’s too easy to get. Doctors push this shit like Skittles. This is not a drug to be glorified as it has caused much destruction in my life. I want to give you a very intimate snap shot of what I experienced the first time I took this very addictive, and dangerous substance, so you can understand the allure and how easy it is to get addicted.
I abused Adderall from 2009-2011. I abused it while winning a World Series and ironically having one of the best seasons of my career.
But at what cost?
I have certainly paid for many of the mistakes I made on Adderall since my retirement. I lost my career as I felt I had more to give in the end. I am convinced Adderall was the sole reason for my crippling panic attacks in 2012 that drove the final dagger through the heart of my career. The searing and deep depression I came to grips with in my retirement was only amplified by my abuse of the drug. I lost my sanity, my wife, my faith at times, and my confidence to the point where I thought my life was worthless. I had suicidal thoughts because I started to wonder if perhaps those around me would be better off if I put myself six feet under.
I intend to cover countless stories of my abuse and destructive behavior with Adderall in future blogs. I’m not shitting you when I say, “I will have close to 10 blogs in the upcoming year that touch on how out of control this drug made me.”
If you are considering using Adderall, currently on it, or abusing it now, I hope my future stories scare you straight…or at least give you pause in order to reflect on how dangerous this drug can be.
DISCLAIMER REGARDING ADDERALL – (SHIRE PHARMACEUTICALS/TEVA): AMPHETAMINES HAVE A HIGH POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE. ADMINISTRATION OF AMPHETAMINES FOR PROLONGED PERIODS OF TIME MAY LEAD TO DRUG DEPENDENCE AND MUST BE AVOIDED. PARTICULAR ATTENTION SHOULD BE PAID TO THE POSSIBILITY OF SUBJECTS OBTAINING AMPHETAMINES FOR NON-THERAPEUTIC USE OR DISTRIBUTION TO OTHERS, AND THE DRUGS SHOULD BE PRESCRIBED OR DISPENSED SPARINGLY.
MISUSE OF AMPHETAMINE MAY CAUSE SUDDEN DEATH AND SERIOUS CARDIOVASCULAR ADVERSE EVENTS.***
***For people that actually have ADHD, Adderall may have benefits. But for a guy like me that doesn’t have ADHD, it turned me into a monster.