'Doc' Gooden's New Book Helped Him Battle Drug, Alcohol Demons

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Tuesday, 04 Jun 2013 06:21 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Former major league pitcher Dwight "Doc" Gooden, known for his 98 mph fast ball, is clearing the air with his new book, “Doc: A Memoir.”

Considered one of the top pitchers in the 1980s, Gooden’s career spiraled into trouble as he battled drug and alcohol addictions, Gooden told Steve Malzberg on Newmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.”

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"I just chose to medicate myself," he said. "I was just a people pleaser in a situation where I didn’t want anybody to think I was weak. Plus I was in denial. I thought 'a little bit of drugs ain’t gonna hurt, a couple of drinks, I’ll be fine.'"

But his drug and alcohol usage quickly became out of control, and Gooden was arrested in December 1986, although those charges were cleared. Then in 1987, he went to rehab, although he later returned to using.

“It was a problem from the beginning, when I first picked up that drink,” he said.

Writing the book was part of the process of dealing with his addictions, Gooden said.

“I thought the time was right, where I’m comfortable in my own skin,” he said. “You’re only as sick as your secrets. I feel a lot better. I got it all out there. The book was coming clean on everything, this is who I am, this is what motivated me to be who I am today, this is what I’m doing about it.”

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Gooden said he’s moving forward after finally forgiving himself, and still putting in the work he has to because “the disease never sleeps.”

In his book, Gooden goes into detail on his addictions, as well as talking about his career and the game of baseball. He talked about the volatile ’86 Mets, and his move to the Yankees with George Steinbrenner, who gave him a chance to make things right with the fans, Gooden said.

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