Baseball star Daryl Strawberry conveys his message of recovery to Great Falls

Daryl Strawberry was known for his legendary companions. But all his life, the four-time world champion fought an uncompromising opponent, drug and alcohol addiction.

“Addiction is so hard. It’s not one of the overnight miracles I just got out of,” Strawberry said. “You have to go through a process. I ended up in five treatment centers. My wife did not abandon me. I stand here today because she did not abandon me.”

It was the abusive father who caused his addiction, says Strawberry. He said he was a womanizer, a drug addict, and an alcoholic. He had two failed marriages before he met his current wife Tracy, who also had an addiction. The two have been married for 15 years.

Strawberry said he later made amends with his father and forgave him for being absent for most of his life.

Tracy Strawberry remembers knocking on the doors of a drug house to get her husband out of the grip of addiction. The couple runs Strawberry Services and on Saturday, they exchanged their message with others in recovery at an alumni event for Rocky Mountain Treatment Center.

“To give up on that, we give up on boundaries,” Tracy said. “This is how you show someone true love. I no longer share in your death, weakness or defeat. I will not.”

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Baseball star Daryl Strawberry and his wife Tracy pass a message of recovery to Great Falls.

It’s a message that came home to Jack Coast, who works at Rocky and has been sober for more than three years.

“It is beautiful to see people go from death to life again,” Coast said.

Acknowledging the problem is a brave first step. Jack says knowing that you are not alone helps the journey.

Jack Coast

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Jack Coast

“When I was there, I felt like I was alone, that no one was like me, that I was unique,” Coast said. “Being able to come here and experience those things with people who are going through the same thing. You just feel right at home.”

At the height of his game, Daryl Strawberry thought he had it all.

“I had homes and money and everything else. I played Major League Baseball for 17 years, and achieved all these great things, but I was broken on the inside,” Strawberry said.

A two-time cancer survivor, Strawberry finished his career with 335 home runs and ranks as the all-time home captain for the New York Mets, the team that drafted him. He won his first episode with them in 1986. He also played in his hometown of Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. He was a three-time World Series winner as a member of the New York Yankees. While the fame and accolades were great, Strawberry says they weren’t all.

At the end of the day, it’s like, ‘Who are you?’ “And that’s what we have to find out about ourselves,” Strawberry said. “I think that was the most important thing to discover about myself, that I was greater than what I was doing. And I was a greater person on the inside than I was when I was playing Major League Baseball.”

When the curtain calls ended and the cheering stopped, he realized it was time to change his identity, and especially his behavior.

“I see a lot of people who are still recovering, but who still have the behavior and they wonder why I’m living such a life of abundance and a free life because I got rid of this behavior and went to new things,” Strawberry said. “When I’m talking about new things, I’m talking about getting out of yourself and coming back and going and helping someone else.”

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