Retired soccer superstar Abby Wambach released her memoir titled “Forward” on Tuesday, September 13 where she detailed her career, starting from the beginning of her rise to glory all the way up to her most recent peak when she helped her team win gold at the 2015 World Cup. Along with all of her triumphs and heartbreaks, Wambach told the tale of her struggles with alcohol and drug addiction, including her DUI arrest in April of this year. While preparing to go on her book tour, she spoke to the Associated Press about that night:
“That night getting arrested was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Because if I don’t get so publicly shamed and publicly humiliated, I don’t think I wake up. I think I was asleep for a lot of years. Asleep to the pleas from my family and friends, and even myself, to get help. So that night I was humiliated enough to wake up.”
Wambach spent 15 years playing on the United States Women’s National Team before her retirement last December, setting the standard with 184 career international goals – more than any other man or woman in the history of the sport. She won two Olympic Gold Medals, one from the 2004 games in Athens, and the second from the 2012 games in London to go along with her World Cup hardware, but that fateful night mere months after her triumphant retirement tour marked one of the lowest points of her life. She detailed her struggles hiding her addictions, which developed over several years, in her book:
“Not only was I hiding this secret from the world for so long, so were the people that I loved – they loved me so fiercely they wanted to protect me as much as possible, almost from myself. Sarah [Huffman] was definitely one of my saving graces because she was one of the first people in my life who made me aware of the problems that I was having. And this was years ago. This isn’t something that just snuck up on me when I retired from soccer. This is something I’ve been dealing with for years now.”
Following her arrest, Wambach pled guilty to the charges and entered a diversion and treatment program designed for first-time offenders which has helped her fight back against her addictions and recover from her years numbing herself to the outside world with alcohol and pills like Adderall, Ambien, and Vicodin.
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