After a drunken incident at a Newport Beach hotel, Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte has announced that he will seek professional help for alcoholism. Jeff Ostrow, the swimmer’s agent, said this is Lochte’s response to a problem he has been struggling with for a long time.
Speaking to TMZ, Ostrow said, “It was a minor nothing. But what matters most is Ryan is getting the help he needs. Ryan has been battling from alcohol addiction for many years, and unfortunately it has become a destructive pattern for him.”
According to reports, the Newport Beach Police were called to the hotel at about 3 a.m. when an extremely-inebriated Lochte tried to kick down the entry door of his hotel room. No arrests were made.
Perhaps of special relevance, Lochte was involved in a car crash in Florida a little more than 18 hours later. After the Newport Beach incident, Lochte flew from Orange County to Gainesville. At 9:45 p.m., he was driving his Porsche and allegedly rear-ended another vehicle. He was uninjured, but the other driver was taken to the hospital.
Alcohol was not mentioned in the police report.
Unfortunately, this was not the first time that alcohol has gotten Ryan Lochte into trouble. During the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, he and some friends drunkenly vandalized a gas station bathroom. After a clumsy attempt at covering that incident up, Lochte was suspended from swimming competitions for 10 months.
How Can A World-Class Athlete like Ryan Lochte be an Alcoholic?
This news may come as a surprise to a lot of people. After all, Ryan Lochte is the second-most-decorated swimmer in Olympic history, trailing only Michael Phelps. Because he has competed at an elite level for so long, the public perception is that Lochte must be in peak mental and physical health.
But that’s just it about Alcohol Use Disorder—the illness surpasses borders of success, fame, wealth, achievement, or education. ANYONE can struggle with problematic, even someone who otherwise seems to have it all.
There’s even a term for it—functional alcoholism.
In the beginning, a functional alcoholic’s drinking won’t significantly impact other areas of their life. They will drink excessively, but the impact will be minor. Those closest to them will be concerned, but they think of it merely as a bad habit that can be corrected.
But AUD is progressive—it ALWAYS gets worse. Eventually, the drinking will get worse and so will the consequences. Their life will become unmanageable as their alcohol consumption gets completely out of control.
Learning from Ryan Lochte and his Struggles with Alcoholism
The biggest lesson is that ANYONE can battle alcoholism and other addictions—even successful people.
After that, the biggest takeaway is that recovery is ALWAYS possible. Ryan Lochte has finally admitted that he has a problem, and that is the first step to getting better. From this point, recovery needs to be his first priority, but with professional specialized treatment and support, he has an excellent chance to regain his sobriety and his balance.
As his agent says, “Ryan knows that conquering this disease now is a must for him to avoid making future poor decisions, to be the best husband and father he can be and if he wants to achieve his goal to return to dominance in the pool in his fifth Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.”
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