lunes, 27 de mayo de 2024

GRAYSON MURRAY: Tratando de comprender el suicidio de un campeón de golf (venía luchando por años contra alcoholismo, ansiedad y disfunción mental)

Hoy, he estado intentando dilucidar el porqué del suicidio inesperado de Grayson Murray, quien parecía había superado sus demonios y se había transformado en un exitoso golfista del PGA Tour.

N°58 del mundo, reciente ganador del SONY Open de Hawaii, en enero pasado, y con buenos resultados en importantes torneos efectuados en los últimas semanas.

Acabo de encontrar JUST FOR TODAY,  un notable y dramático artículo escrito por Gary Williams, periodista Estadounidense de golf, alcohólico en recuperación, cercano a Grayson Murray desde su juventud, que estuvo con él en semanas recientes, y que explica la suma gravedad y riesgos que enfrentan las personas en recuperación del alcoholismo y enfermedades mentales asociadas.

Cunning, baffling, powerful.  I heard those three words for the first time in a treatment facility where I was an inpatient being cared for and counseled for the disease of alcoholism.  

Those words are not simply part of the lexicon of anyone in recovery, they are the cold facts about the disease that can be treated but not cured.  

Grayson Murray knew those words and I believe he had a true understanding of what those words will always signify for anyone in recovery.  

That while we all want the daily reprieve from our condition, it never offers a guarantee beyond today.  Because the most sinister word associated with the disease of addiction and alcoholism beyond cunning, baffling, and powerful is the word patient.  The disease has one objective, and only one, it wants your life.  

It waits and while progress is the objective, and there is no doubt in my heart and mind that Grayson was making progress, that we all are a day away from being a little more vulnerable and that progress is suddenly in peril.  

Promotions, engagements, success, material achievement can all be nice, but it will never override or replace the demons that reside in the mind of anyone with mental illness associated with depression and alcoholism.  

Grayson lived with what anyone in recovery lives with and that is the stark truth that our daily reprieve from our disease is just for today.

Most alcoholics think they are terminally unique.  I most certainly believed that no one else thought the way I did.  Consumed in every waking moment by knowing I couldn’t go a day without it, making sure I always had enough and going to lengths so insane to be fortified with my master by my side or nearby that I put everything that I valued in jeopardy.  

Everything.  Career, family, friends, LIFE.  The thought of living without the thing that helped me escape reality was so daunting I developed anxiety and depression.  It’s also not complicated that those things are a byproduct of alcoholism since treating depression with a depressant is not a complicated equation to see the result.  I have no answers, but like every alcoholic I have my story and my story shared with others in recovery have helped me achieve peace and purpose, but just for today.

I met Grayson when he was 17 years old, and he was a superior talent.  

Because of his personal relationship with very close friends of mine I paid attention to his path, and it was a turbulent one.  From afar he exhibited the behavior of someone I recognized, myself.  Restless, irritable and discontented are how most alcoholics go through their days.  Grayson, like anyone pursuing something like elite professional golf, are susceptible to ebbs in their behavior but his pattern was more acute, and it was just that, a pattern.  

Despite his growing challenges to manage and control his drinking and thinking, Grayson saw success.  It really speaks to the extraordinary innate ability he had to play the game of golf to win golf tournaments while managing something that doesn’t stall out.  

Alcoholism is progressive and although each of us may have functioned to varying degrees the inevitability of it winning in its pursuit of destruction is simply what happens unless one decides they can’t take it anymore.  

The number of paradoxes associated with the disease are endless but the introduction to the first one is simple, to win you must admit complete defeat.  Win starts with survival but with a daily commitment to treating your condition, peace and joy are attainable.

Grayson’s decision to seek treatment was a start and there is nothing more therapeutic for the mind of a person in the depths of addiction than to unplug, sleep, leave the outside world behind and begin to heal your heart and mind under professional supervision.  

Re-entry into what was left behind can be disorienting but Grayson’s performance was not accidental.  More importantly, his willingness to share his journey and his vulnerabilities was reflective of another paradox about the disease.  To keep your own recovery, you must give it away.  Giving away your truths, your fears and talking about your journey, whether publicly or privately within the recovery community, helps you while helping others.  

Remember, we don’t have answers, but we have our story, and the identification of behaviors, thoughts and feelings gives those who thought they were the only ones who thought similarly the hope we all thought was gone.  Grayson’s performance at the Sony Open made me cry, not because of how he won but because of how he expressed himself when it was over.  Gratitude.  Led with it and it was permeating through the eyes of a young man who looked into the abyss and turned away from it.  

Immediately I reached out to him to tell him how happy I was for him, not just because he won but because he had found a faith in himself and he didn’t look, for the first time in forever, restless, irritable, and discounted.  Peace is something I can’t adequately explain.  Free of guilt, shame and years of deceit is so liberating that you wake up saying out loud, “I didn’t lie to anyone yesterday”. 

Grayson joined me on my 5 Clubs podcast ten days after his win at the Sony Open and I asked him in advance if he was comfortable having a truthful conversation with a fellow alcoholic and he said, “Let’s do it Gary, we are in this together”.  

His emotion and gratitude have stayed with me far more than the reflections on how he won again on tour.  It is haunting to hear him express how his dad had lost his best friend to the disease and how he feared for so long about his parents getting the most dreaded call parents could ever receive about a child.  

He expressed purpose and grace on that day.  He was not being dishonest and that is a realization in the recovery community that we focus on today, control what we can, accept what we can’t and express love and tolerance.  Undeniably, Grayson was doing that, and he was making progress.

I hugged him in the parking lot at Augusta National on Tuesday of Masters week.  He was clear eyed, but he displayed a vulnerability that was simply different.  It was not a warning but simply reflective of being present and not truculent and numb.  

A month later, I hugged him again in the parking lot at Quail Hollow, the week he had his mom with him for the Wells Fargo Championship where he finished tied for 10th and we greeted each other the way many people in recovery do with not a nonchalant “How are you?” but “Really don’t bullshit me, how are you?” 

The following week we greeted each other again outside the clubhouse at Valhalla with our customary hug and hold and the look into each other’s eyes.  There is a telepathy amongst most people in recovery and it’s not complicated while the disease is full of complexities.  It’s simple, I’m here, whenever and wherever.  My hand and my heart will always be there if you need it.  

I always go through scores on leaderboards and look for certain players and Grayson has been one for the time well before he got sober.  I saw on Friday that he WD’d and thought nothing of it.  

On Saturday I was doing an interview with Danielle Tucker, at 1 PM eastern time, from Hawaii when my phone starting ringing repeatedly and I was receiving a blizzard of texts messages.  I finished the interview and called Taylor Zarzour who oversees the PGA Tour radio network for SiriusXM.  

He told me of Grayson’s death with the compassion of a dear friend, which he is, and told me they were likely to halt play at Colonial once all the family was notified and the programming for the channel would change for the day.  

The news didn’t shock me the way the news of any sudden death would which is what makes me so sad.  It’s not that I had any inclination that Grayson was in a very vulnerable and desperate place, it’s that these tragic stories are what the community of addiction and depression are conditioned to experience.  I got very close to a gentleman in treatment in his 60’s who ran an investment firm and he was from an affluent family and his academic and professional career were bold type and he was also addicted to methamphetamine.  Upon leaving treatment he entered a sober living house in South Florida and would send me pictures of his new clean life.  He was excited to return to work, to his passions, which were many and to having long conversations with me about life and family which we did every day while trying to find our equilibrium in rehab.  

Seven months later he was dead.  

I’m shredded to think about where Grayson’s mind was in the hours leading up to his death.  

It scares me.  It makes me cry.  It makes me wonder what it would feel like to contemplate taking your own life and that immediately makes my heart race and I feel sick.  

I’m haunted by the look in his eyes when I saw him the last three times we hugged.  There was a tenderness to him that belied his behavior for the years he was battling so hard and losing to the disease.  

Giving up gave him hope and purpose but it revealed something more profound.  His journey was weighty, and the disease just waits, exercising the most unredeemable display of patience.  

Grayson’s death will not keep me or anyone else in recovery sober but his willingness to bare his soul in the last year gave comfort and inspiration to others whether they were fighting their own battles with addiction and mental illness or not.  

Alcoholics share their truths with each other every day and one additional paradox about the disease is that feeling good because you’re being vigilant about treating your disease can scare an alcoholic into thinking “I’ve got this”.  So, at your best you may be most susceptible.  I thought I had a drinking problem until I found out it was merely a symptom.  

I have a thinking problem.  

I pray that the introspection and reflection displayed by so many in the golf community in the aftermath of Grayson’s death will sustain itself.  

I know tragedy is temporary as life continues and its challenges harden us all.  I dreamed of being a broadcaster and being able to witness the greatest athletic feats not of being an alcoholic.  

But I’m so grateful that I’m a recovering alcoholic because without my ability to simply raise my hand and say I can’t do this anymore, God please help me, I would be dead.  

Grayson Murray fought to find the light and his fight was arduous but admirable.  

Let us all remember, it’s just for today.

No hay comentarios.: