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Confessions of a Baseball Junkie

Aubrey Huff is a two-time World Series champion, but that appearance of a ‘success’ was just a façade. Drug addiction, depression and insecurity pushed him to the brink. This is his story of redemption. Read Transcript


TOM BUEHRING: Aubrey Huff had it all--

at least, so it seemed.

But a curveball of circumstances before and during

his major-league career kept the left-handed hitter

seemingly left at a loss.

Look around.

You know, I have a great house, made millions

of dollars in baseball.

I have a beautiful wife, healthy kids, two World Series rings--

everything you could ever want.

But I was still miserable.

For me growing up without a father,

I was so insecure inside.

You lost your dad at the age of six.

What happened?

My mom comes walking in from Winn-Dixie.

She's crying.

She walks up to me and tells my father's

no longer coming back home.

He got tragically murdered in Abilene, Texas

by a lunatic madman with a gun.

I was six years old and fatherless.

I think, in a lot of ways, looking back at it now,

baseball became my father.

What did baseball provide for you?

An escape.

TOM BUEHRING: An escape that became an odyssey of 13 seasons

with five different teams, half spent with Tampa Bay, where

his career began.

AUBREY HUFF: It was a lot of losing.

I was having great seasons in Tampa.

I was team MVP a couple years there.

And I was just sick of finishing in last place.

And that love that I had as a kid slowly started to dwindle.

And that was starting to be a concern to me.

TOM BUEHRING: Aubrey moved on, signing

his first free-agent contract with the Baltimore Orioles.

This is really unique.

Yeah.

It's the cycle I hit for in Baltimore

there, very rare to do as a hitter.

And what's even more rare is I got every single ball from

my cycle-- the single, the double, the triple,

the home run--

the line-up card, the jersey, and the bat.

TOM BUEHRING: Despite his on-field success,

his restlessness grew, infringing

on his pre-game approach one day inside the clubhouse.

AUBREY HUFF: So we got a game in an hour.

And I did not want to be there.

I was tired of baseball.

And a teammate walked in and said, hey, man.

It looks like you're struggling.

He comes back with a little orange and white pill.

Without hesitation, I popped it.

Within 20 minutes, it's a euphoric feeling

I couldn't even explain.

I couldn't wait to get my spikes on, my uniform on, and hit

the field.

It was in that moment that I knew

I was never going to play baseball without the stuff,

on Adderall.

And I felt like a kid when you're eight years old

playing Little League.

How did it improve your game?

Well, baseball's a game of mental toughness, right?

And, you know, in a lot of ways, I

think Adderall's even more potent than steroids or HGH

because, in baseball, you need to be mentally strong.

And what Adderall does is it makes you feel invincible

in your head.

You're no longer afraid.

You're not nervous before a game.

I was the cockiest, most brash, arrogant guy you could ever

imagine being around.

TOM BUEHRING: When did you realized

you couldn't get off of it?

AUBREY HUFF: I had every intention

to quit it during the off season.

And I found myself going to the off season,

taking it the very first day.

When I didn't take in the morning,

I felt depressed, bored, anxious, irritable.

It made me a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, turned me

into somebody I hated.

TOM BUEHRING: In 2010, Aubrey signed with the San Francisco

Giants, finishing the season seventh in MVP voting,

leading the team to their first World Series title in 56 years.

This has got to be your most memorable moment.

Yeah.

When you're a kid, man, winning a championship

is a pretty special thing to do.

And I was fortunate enough to be able to do in 2010 '12.

TOM BUEHRING: Just months after the 2010 championship

and with his marriage suffering, Aubrey entered

alcohol and drug treatment.

But his Adderall addiction continued.

His wife, Baubi, filed for divorce.

Alone, Aubrey cried out for help.

AUBREY HUFF: And I remember getting on my knees

and praying and crying to God.

I've got to get off this stuff, Lord.

Please, Jesus.

I need you.

I cannot do this anymore.

I take the pills, and I dump them down the toilet at 4:00

in the morning and flush them.

And I woke up the next morning.

I thought for sure I'd want a pill.

I didn't want one.

The next day, I didn't want one.

From that moment on, I never had a craving

to take another Adderall in my life.

And you haven't since?

Never since.

How do you explain that?

How do you?

You don't.

You don't.

That's a God thing, 100%.

TOM BUEHRING: Without Adderall masking Aubrey's insecurities,

a growing anxiety emerged.

AUBREY HUFF: I always thought of people

that had panic attacks were mentally weak people that

can't handle the real world.

And I'm like, no, not me.

Sure enough, I go to the doctor.

And that's what I was diagnosed with.

The consistency of it and the strength of it

got worse once I retired out of 2012.

Not only the transition out of baseball but the panic

attacks that I had to deal with the transition was suicidal.

And you nearly played that out.

I did.

I did.

I went to my closet.

I opened up my safe.

I grabbed my 357 Magnum.

I hit my knees.

And I pointed it right at my head.

I looked in this full mirror.

Then, all of a sudden, I pulled the hammer back.

And it got real.

All I had to do was pull the trigger.

Then I realized my dad was murdered with this same caliber

weapon.

And I'm like, wow.

I put it down.

I started crying to God.

You're supposed to be here with me.

I thought you were in my life.

And this thought came to me.

It's like, Aubrey, if you want my perfect peace,

you have to give up control and have faith in me.

And it was that day where I realized

I've got to start living for Him, not just pretending.

How do you surrender control?

AUBREY HUFF: For a professional athlete,

you're taught to put on this warrior mentality,

to not let the other teams see any sign of weakness, right?

It's hard to take that guy on the field for all those years

and to transition that into real life.

And I think a lot of my anxiety stemmed from that.

TOM BUEHRING: How do you give up control?

I'm still learning how to do it.

To give up control is more about just being

at peace of where you are.

Read some scripture till something resonates with me.

And I try to apply that in my life every day.

TOM BUEHRING: Aubrey's marriage has been restored.

His perspective is grounded in the source of his restoration.

While painting collectible superhero baseball originals

for fundraisers, Aubrey's also authored

a book, "Baseball Junkie," to encourage those battling

anxiety and depression.

AUBREY HUFF: God had to break me down to build me back up.

Now, I know I never really needed an earthly father.

I had one the whole time--

Dad!

--my Heavenly Father.

Who is Jesus Christ to Aubrey Huff?

Well, He's everything.

He's my Lord, my Savior.

I mean, thank you so much for dying on the cross for me.

How could you ever forgive a guy like me?

I struggled with that free gift of grace and forgiveness.

And so, for Him to give that love back-- that grace,

that mercy--

that, to me, is Jesus Christ.

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