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Former pro baseball player opens up about life after addiction

Apr 2, 2019, 4:39 PM | Updated: 4:53 pm
baseball addiction dustin hawkins...
Dustin Hawkins, a former pro baseball player, is shown here hiking with his son, Bodee, in Island Park, Idaho. This is the type of practice Hawkins would consider to be spiritual work -- walking in nature while working on gratitude for the many blessings he has, including the blessing of spending time with his son. (Photo credit: Autumn Hawkins)
(Photo credit: Autumn Hawkins)

SALT LAKE CITY — An Ogden native who was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2002 before his star came shooting down to earth in the wake of addiction to drugs and alcohol is opening up about his story on the Project Recovery podcast.

Dustin Hawkins was a standout at Bonneville High School, earning a scholarship to Wichita State University to play baseball and earning a degree in exercise physiology there.

Just a few years later, however, Hawkins’ performance on the field was declining, he failed a drug test, and he got injured. Hawkins says he wasn’t surprised when the team cut him.

“They put a note on your locker, and you go in and they give you a plane ticket and fly you home,” Hawkins recalled.

At first, Hawkins wasn’t honest with friends and family about how and why he was released from professional baseball, saying he was relieved that an injury gave him an excuse to mask what was really happening.

“I had an excuse now to tell my hometown. ‘I got hurt.’ You know what I mean? ‘I got hurt. That’s the only reason I got released,'” Hawkins remembers saying. “And that’s not why I got released, you know? I was a drug addict. I was going to get released anyway… That’s what I believe.”

“Hawk,” as he is known to friends, tells KSL’s Project Recovery podcast that he had fooled himself into thinking he was doing great by using drugs to go both “up” and “down.”

“When you’re up and down like that, and your mood — it’s almost like you’re a different person in the morning and at practice, then at night, you’re a different person, leaning on alcohol and six Tylenol PMs,” Hawkins said. “Looking back, for sure – could I have been a much better baseball player? Absolutely.”

Hawkins says it took him a few more years to fully regain control of his life, with help from his family, his faith and a workout philosophy he calls WAR: Workout Addiction Recovery, which he launched in 2010.

Learn more about WAR, Hawkins’ own road to recovery and other resources for people looking to break the addiction cycle on the Project Recovery Podcast.

Resources for those suffering from addiction

Download Project Recovery Podcast

Project Recovery - Apple Podcasts  Project Recovery - Google Play

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