The Oakland Raiders just signed Darren Waller with a $30 million contract, but some of his most significant headlines were the fact that Waller has been in recovery for over two years. He's making strides to focus his success and achievements on his recovery. Waller's embracing his unique lifestyle, so it doesn't go unnoticed, and giving credit where it's due. He'll admit it's precisely the reason why his life is full of blessings today.
Waller began using at the age of 15. We all have individual stories of what got us hooked in the first place. He decided to raid his friend's medicine cabinet and told a reporter that it became a numbing tool he used to stop feeling. In 2016, he was suspended for failed drug tests, then got suspended for the entire year of 2017 for the same reason. He couldn't seem to get his addiction under control. Once he realized his problem was creating complete turmoil throughout his career, the NFL was kind enough to pay for his 4-day detox in Boston, and a 30-day stay at a treatment center in Maine. "I think I have willpower, but I really don't." His life was out of control and thought if he didn't get help soon, it would eventually resort to jails or a mental institution.
Once he left rehab, he wasn't too sure whether he even wanted to come back to the NFL. Considering it was a fast-paced lifestyle, he was notably worried about keeping his inner-peace. It took a good six months for Waller to feel like he wanted to give the NFL another shot and stay clean. While coming back to play on the Raiders, a fan was so kind enough to make a two-year medallion, especially for him. "You learn how to be generous in recovery, so that was incredible."
"It's difficult, but it's easier now because I know, I feel like I have a purpose in my life," he said. "I feel like I live with an intention. Before, I didn't really know who I wanted to be or what I stood for or what I was trying to accomplish." When asked why he decided to go public with it, he stated it's because he wanted to show everyone out there that he is just like everyone else, fighting the same struggles as the next person. He wanted to humanize himself in the eyes of his fans. "People see us as superhumans, but we're far from that." His story has given others strength and inspiration to get help and get better, and to Waller, that's the best gift he could ever receive.