Not many people consider an arrest for driving under the influence “one of the best things to ever happen” in their lives, but Abby Wambach does…
In an interview with the Associated Press, the retired U.S. national team soccer star has admitted to abusing prescription drugs and alcohol for years until her DUI arrest last April; an incident she believes put her on a path to sobriety.
“I was stubborn and I was in denial,” soccer’s most prolific international goal scorer told the AP in the interview. “I didn’t want to face the truth. 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.”
In Forward, her memoir released on September 13th, Wambach recounts some of her highs (winning the Women’s World Cup in 2015) and some of her lows (losing her high school championship). She details her high-profile marriage to fellow soccer player Sarah Huffman and the difficulties they faced and she delves into her struggle with vodka and pills, including Vicodin, Ambien and Adderall. Even though Wambach had the love and support of her family, friends and fellow teammates, she hid her abuse from the public.
“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.” ~Abby Wambach
Wambach, who despite her struggles scored 184 goals in international soccer, the most ever by a male or female player, admitted her problem is one she’s been dealing with for years and if it weren’t for the DUI arrest, she might not have been able to open up about it.
“It’s really hard to talk about things when you’re ashamed,” she said “and I’m not ashamed about what happened to me anymore because it led me to where I’m at right now. I’m proud of where I’m at.”