Lamar Odom opened up about his 2015 near-death experience in his own words in a piece he penned for the Players’ Tribune Thursday, and according to the former NBA player, even he was surprised that things had gotten as bad as they did.
“My dick and my habit took me down all the roads that you don’t ever wanna go down,” he wrote in the candid essay. “A lot of great men are fools to that. Fools to that. There are probably a lot of young dudes out there who hear my story and think that it could never happen to them. That they’re untouchable. Man … Nobody is untouchable. Nobody in this life is immune to pain.”
In October 2015, Odom made headlines after his unconscious body was found at a Las Vegas-area brothel following a wild night of partying. (Doctors later determined that his coma wa induced by a dangerous combination of drugs, including herbal Viagra.)
In the ensuing months, his then-wife, reality star Khloe Kardashian, became a frequent presence by his hospital bed, though Odom admitted in his Players’ Tribune piece that he was “surprised to see her” because the couple had been separated for over a year – in large part due to his drug use and infidelity.
“Honestly, that’s when I knew that I was probably in bad shape,” he wrote of waking up to his new reality. “I was in total shock,” he continued. “Couldn’t say any clever shit back. Couldn’t ask questions. It was the first time in my life that I felt helpless. I felt like I was two inches tall. It was just … it was real.”
Odom added that at that point in his life, he was doing cocaine “every day. Pretty much every second of free time that I had, I was doing coke. I couldn’t control it. I didn’t want to control it.”
The athlete noted that growing up in Jamaica, Queens, he never wanted to try anything stronger than marijuana; his first time doing cocaine was at the age of 24, at a party in Miami.
“I wish I could tell you there was a reason for it. There wasn’t. It was just an asinine decision I made,” he wrote. “If I knew that it was going to affect my life the way it did, I would’ve never even thought about it. Never. But I did it. It turned out to be a life-altering decision.”
The death of his six-month-old son and later, his grandmother and a few other close loved ones, spurred on his addiction – all the way until he got in way over his head that October.
“When you’re an addict, nothing can get through to you. I never thought I was going to die. I never thought I’d be in a coma. I didn’t think I had a problem,” he wrote. “But then I woke up in a bed with tubes coming out of my mouth — and it was real.”
These days, the retired basketball player says he’s been sober for the sake of his kids, though he still says every day is a “struggle.”
“I shook hands with death,” he concluded. “But you know what? Ain’t no coming back from that. Even though my funeral would probably be a good funeral, and there’d probably be a lot of people who hadn’t seen each other in a long time. But it ain’t time for that yet.”