When I got traded to the Detroit Tigers about a month after I was introduced to Adderall, my downward spiral to rock bottom was in motion.
Addies are an amazing high… one I couldn’t believe I had ever lived without. If my transparency can save one life from falling into the abyss of addiction, then the embarrassment of my tales will be well worth it.
It was Monday August 17, 2009, in Baltimore, and about a month after I swallowed my first Adderall. At this point I was perfectly addicted. I woke up once again beyond depressed yet slightly hopeful knowing I was about to head to Camden Yards and pop my 20 milligram partner in crime. I slowly dragged myself down the stairs of our quaint, four story town home. My wife had been up since 6:00 am taking care of my one year old baby boy and in no mood for my bullshit. I decided to hop on my bike and ride the two miles through the city to the clubhouse where I could eagerly await the coming high.
When I walked into the locker room I spotted our manager Dave Trembley sitting in my locker chair.
“Follow me Huffy,” he said.
I thought, “Oh fuck what did I do this time?”
He swung his office door open and I spotted Andy MacPhail the GM of the Orioles sitting in a chair. I knew immediately that I had been traded.
The question was…where?
When Andy told me Detroit I was a bit disappointed as I wasn’t too fond of the city. At least the Tigers were in a playoff hunt. One that I had yet to be a part of during my 9 year career.
It’s always an exciting but nervous time arriving for your first day on a new team not knowing what to expect. I decided to kill my nervousness by popping my invincibility pill in the cab on the way to Tigers stadium from the airport. By the time I arrived and hit the clubhouse the high was at full tilt and I felt like I was already the best thing the Tigers had ever invested in.
Keep in mind this was a team that had Miguel Cabrera on it.
After all the pleasantries with my new teammates I was called into Jim Leyland’s office, the manager of the Tigers. Jim was in his 23rd season as a big league manager. A three time MLB manager of the year, and a World Champion Skipper with the 1997 Florida Marlins.
When I walked into the office Jim was pulling down a cig, and since my high was hitting really hard, I felt like lightin’ up myself.
I called out, “Hey skipper, mind if I light up as well?” He laughed, and in his deep, raspy, I’ve been smoking since I was in diapers voice said, “Absolutely! You’re my kind of player!”
I thought for sure I’d fit right in. I asked him what he expected my role on the team to be and he said, “I see you hitting fifth behind Cabrera every day, definitely playing some first, designated hitter, and some outfield. Regardless, you’ll play every day.”
I walked out of his office thrilled to be playing every day and hitting in the middle of a lineup expected to go deep into the playoffs.
My first game as a Tiger I did hit 5th as the D.H. We were facing the Seattle Mariners and staring down Felix Hernandez on the mound…arguably one of baseball’s most dominating right handed pitchers. I was undaunted as the Adderall did its little dance in my head. We won the game 5-3 and I finished a modest 1 for 4 for the game.
Two games later we faced Mariner left-handed pitcher Ryan Rowland Smith. To my surprise, when I checked the lineup, I was on the bench. I didn’t read much into it as I must have struggled in the past off of Ryan.
The very next game we were playing the Oakland A’s and once again I was on the bench as left handed pitcher Gio Gonzolez toed the rubber. At this point I was beginning to get pissed and confused. Just three days ago Jim had told me I was going to play every day. My teammates began asking me what I did to piss off the manager. I did the only logical thing I could think of to cure my embarrassment.
I started upping my dosage of Adderall from 20 to 30 milligrams.
I had been an everyday player my whole life and now it looked like I was permanently etched into the dreaded “platoon player” role.
As the days and weeks went on my confusion and bitterness grew. When I saw my name on the bench once again in Anaheim going up against Joe Saunders (whom I saw the ball well off of in my career) I knew it was time to chat with Jim.
I headed full steam into Leyland’s office clearly perturbed.
“Can we chat Skip?”
The look he gave me had every indication this was going to be awkward.
“Jim, what the fuck is going on? I thought you said I’d be playing every day?”
He forcefully responded, “I don’t remember saying that.”
I was dumbfounded. He was lying or losing his memory in his old age. We went back and forth as the conversation ended up going nowhere. I walked out of his office even more pissed and confused than when I walked in.
Why the hell was I traded here in the first place?
You can guess how the rest of that season went for me. The Tigers had spent 146 days in first place that season. But the magic wouldn’t last. The Minnesota Twins went on an absolute tear the final two weeks of the season and tied us on the last day for the division. It would come down to a one game, winner take all, contest in Minnesota. The winner would move on to the playoffs, and the loser would go home.
We landed in Minnesota the night before the big game and as we boarded the bus for the hotel we were told that the Twins would be starting a right handed pitcher, Scott Baker. I don’t think I slept the whole night I was so excited. After all I only played against right handed pitching. I was already picturing myself hitting a game winning homer to send the Tigers to the playoffs. I would forever be remembered in Tigers lore. It was my destiny. I had waited my whole life to play in a game of this magnitude.
I was one of the first players to race to the lineup card when I arrived in the visiting clubhouse. I looked at the middle of the lineup where my name would have normally been.
I looked lower, and lower… nothing.
I finally glanced at the bench players and there was my name, like a bright neon fucking light, HUFF.
Now I have been kicked in the dick before, quite literally, but this felt negligent. I was absolutely sick with anger. I stormed to my locker fucking hot, popped open my pill jar and threw down two 20 milligram pills. I had never taken 40 milligrams at one time before.
I didn’t give a shit, I wanted to escape the reality of my situation.
I sat in my locker not engaging anyone. I didn’t move. I sat there frozen until it was time for batting practice. It took everything I had to get suited up and go take BP with my teammates.
Nobody said a word to me that day. The expression on my face said it all. I was walking around pissed off, red faced, nostrils flared, mouth closed tight, and eyebrows pointed strait down. Not necessarily the attitude you would want to see from a player before a game of this magnitude.
The Adderall came into full bloom just in time for the first pitch. My rage lurked just beneath the surface, ready to blow at any minute. The atmosphere was electric in the Metro dome with 54,088 fans. Absolutely deafening! I was enraged I was missing out on such a big game. I sat at the end of the bench all game, arms crossed. I know this may sound fucking bilious but it’s the truth. As soon as I saw my name on the bench that day, I found myself secretly hoping we would lose just so Jim Leyland wouldn’t get the credit.
Looking back on it now, I realized how fucking childish this all sounds. I also now realize that Jim was no doubt doing what he felt was right for the team. I couldn’t have made his job any easier being the baby I was. But the Adderall had taken me over, giving me nothing but selfish thoughts.
I hate to admit this but as much as I wanted to play, Jim made the right call. The bench was where I belonged. Adderall threw any rationale I had out the window. My attitude was embarrassing and I still feel ashamed because of it.
The game went into extra innings. It was a fucking nail biter. Bottom of the 12th at five to five. The tension in the stadium was at a tipping point. Any pitch could be the final nail in the coffin. The Twins had one out…runners at first and second.
Alexi Casilla stepped up to the plate.
And just like that, after five tense hours, Alexi put an end to the game with a walk off single to right field, driving in the winning run from second.
The roar of the crowd in the Metro dome was deafening. My heart broke for my teammates, knowing how hard they had worked that season. However, deep inside my selfish Adderall fueled gut, I wanted to scream out jubilantly with the crowd. The Twins had just put an end to my misery in Detroit.
I must say, I’m so fucking uncomfortable telling you guys this story. Still, I feel it’s necessary to show you how powerful Adderall can be. Never in a million years would I be such a selfish pussy sober. On Adderall I wanted to be the guy who made it all happen. I wanted to be the hero. I wanted the fame and the adoration. Instead of handling my time with the Tigers like a man, I chose to numb my true self and take Adderall which convinced my mind that I was a fucking victim…and that simply wasn’t the case.
Yes, Jim did tell me I’d play every day. But that’s not the point. The point is when I got my opportunities in Detroit I simply didn’t deliver. I only hit .189 with 2 homers, and 13 R.B.I’s. I had no one to blame but myself.
This subject is so passionate for me that I’m dedicating a series of blogs on Adderall addiction and the hell it brought into my life. It truly transformed me into a person I couldn’t stand. I will continue to share with you in these blogs very personal, painful, even embarrassing truths, because I want everyone out there to know just how fucked up this shit is and how crazy it can make you.
If my transparency can save one life from falling into this sea of addiction then the embarrassment will be well worth it.