Friday, October 16, 2015

Lamar Odom Conscious and Beginning Recovery

Lamar Odom has awoken from his coma, even muttering words and responding to questions, according to multiple reports today.

This comes days after Odom was found unresponsive from an apparent overdose at a Nevada brothel.

Addiction is a serious issue. It is easy for us to joke about drugs and users. We do it all the time. It is glamorized comedy on television and in movies. The sad reality is, thousands of people overdose and do not get the coverage Odom got. Many celebrities overdose and do not survive. We feared this for Odom, who has gone through a very public spiral in the last few years.

While I want to talk about the beginning of his recovery, I first want to start by addressing a few topics.

I saw the below video from Scott Van Pelt yesterday, and it hit home for me:


I too, saw the Bun B Tweet. I heard the remarks from Nancy Grace well before I saw the Van Pelt video. I had the same reaction as both. Lamar Odom is not "a Kardashian reality star." Lamar Odom was famous before he was involved with Khloe Kardashian. He is a 2x-NBA champion, a sixth man of the year, and a human being. Above all else, Lamar Odom is a father.

There was not a single media outlet that is not known first and foremost as a sports-media outlet, that called Lamar Odom an NBA player first. All of those outlets (E!, NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, etc.) all called Lamar Odom "Khloe Kardashian's estranged husband" or "reality television star" or "former basketball player". There were sidebars or glossed over facts stating he was a "Los Angeles Laker" in the stories that were updated after Kobe Bryant showed up at Lamar's bedside.

I understand Lamar Odom has/had a relationship with Khloe Kardashian. I understand he was on their reality television show, and had one of his own with Khloe. But Lamar Odom is a man known for so much more. His greatest achievements weren't appearances on reality television. In fact, many of his appearances were of a shadow of his former self, cracking and becoming the man who was found unconscious earlier this week. Lamar Odom's accomplishments were being a better basketball player than most believed he could become, winning two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Being a father to his children (one of which passed away in the midst of his worsening addictions).

Khloe and reality television should be the sidebars in this story. That is not to say they are not important, but you are telling the world they should know him because of those things, and not because of the things he is truly known for. For the rest, he is now known as a junkie with a sex addiction, hiding in a brothel mixing a lethal cocktail of multiple drugs. Educate people on who this man was, and the high caliber of athlete and man he could strive to become once again if he is, with all hope in the world, able to overcome this horrible period of his life.

Addiction is a terrible thing, and while Odom is awake from a coma, that does not mean his demons have left his life. This is not guaranteed to get him right. Rehabilitation resorts are not proven, especially for a person who is not ready to give up their vices. We all know someone who struggles with addiction. It is a serious illness. We like to call addicts selfish, and in some ways, they very well may be.

Regardless of what he has gone through, what kind of human he is, we should all want a redemption story. This is a man who has battled adversity in so many chapters of his life, hopefully he can champion his way out of addiction and be an attentive, proud father to his children.

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