This is just as unpleasant as the nearly identical post I had to write about a year and a half ago, if not moreso. By now you know that Miguel Cabrera was arrested last night on DUI and two charges of resisting arrest. You also probably know all the details, so I won’t rehash them. I would prefer to wait until we get more information before posting, but I will be unavailable most of the day due to a death in the family, so this is the only chance I’ll get to comment.
My tendency is to withhold judgment until I know more about what happened, and for all I know, my next post may be full of bitterness and wrath. It’s a natural response to feel angry and betrayed, especially since it looked like he had beaten back all his demons. And after all, driving under the influence and resisting arrest are very irresponsible and dumb things to do. However, I’m not so much angry as I am disappointed. Not necessarily disappointed IN him, but disappointed that he couldn’t overcome his problems, although in some ways, this was to be expected. The odds were always that we would be reporting on a story like this someday. Alcoholism is a disease that is very difficult to overcome (Pat Caputo has an excellent post on this issue). I don’t have an exact figure, but relapse rates are very high. Some studies put the relapse rate as high as 90%. This incident unfortunately makes Cabrera the rule and not the exception. And relapsing doesn’t necessarily come from stupidity, lack of commitment, immorality, or conscious choice, although sometimes it does (and if that is the case in this situation, I will be very disappointed). However, relapsing does not mean you’re a bad person and it also doesn’t necessarily spell doom. John Parent at Motor City Bengals points out that Josh Hamiltion, whose struggles with substance abuse are well-documented, also relapsed and is now sober (by the way, go and read John’s post if you haven’t already; it’s written better than this one and I agree with a lot of what he has to say), and I hope Cabrera can follow in his footsteps, so to speak. I’ve come to care about Miguel Cabrera as a person, and so what’s most important to me is that he realizes that he still has a problem and he continues getting help for it. It would be a tragedy for someone so gifted to fall down that dark path. I’ve seen some of my own family members be destroyed by alcoholism. I have cousins who are drinking themselves to death right now. I do not want this to be Miguel’s fate. And so for his sake and for his family’s sake, I hope to God that this time he can beat back his demons for good.