Abby Wambach is a U.S. retired soccer champion, coach, double Olympic gold medalist, and champion of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She is also a recovered addict and is using her experience to inspire people around the globe.
Prior to her arrest for DUI April 3, 2016, Abby Wambach reported that she misused prescription drugs and alcohol for many years. According to Wambach, until the DUI, she was in denial due to her obstinate personality. She did not know how to cope with her dependence prior to her arrest when she took complete ownership for her mistake, and apologized to her family, friends, and fans.
Her memoir, “Forward”, depicts her experience of everything from losing her high school soccer championship, to winning the Women’s World Cup. She includes details of her marriage to another high-profile soccer player and even recounts her struggles with addiction. The chapters of the memoir were titled names she’s been called over the years, including: addict, captain, lesbian, and tomboy.
Abby labels the arrest as “humiliating”, and says that the DUI was “one of the best things that has ever happened to me”. This became her rock bottom, as her mug shot was everywhere to be seen the following day.
As she had not pictured her legacy to end with a DUI, she took action to change course and released her book of memoirs just over a year later, on June 13, 2017.
In Abby’s experience, that night was just a glimpse of the pressure that was taking place in her life at the time. She was deliberating whether or not she should retire, her marriage was failing, and she had recently accepted a position with ESPN.
Many individuals who have struggled with an addiction have noted that their dependence began gradually. Abby does not list one moment in particular that drugs and alcohol began to take a greater part in her life, and notes that the addiction grew as time went on. She regretfully recounted that she was hiding this part of her from the world and those she loved most. This tendency to suppress feelings can contribute to addiction and the cycle of dependence.
Numerous people harmlessly partake in a drink or two with dinner, and some are aware of the fact that the alcohol may be a solution that makes them feel less anxious, fearful, or simply more comfortable overall. However, the danger can occur when people begin to rely on always having alcohol, and they find themselves trapped when they may not have their crutch nearby.
When people address their feelings on their own, they are actually avoiding addiction and choosing the high road. They are being honest with themselves and are strengthening their own ability to cope. Abby is a role model, champion, and advocate for fighting for health and achievement, and her story should be an example for those who may struggle with addiction. Alcohol dependency can be overcome.