Lamar Odom’s Miraculous Recovery and Uncertain Future

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Lamar Odom 2″ by Michael Sandoval from Pleasant Hill, CA, USA : Wikimedia Commons

I don’t “keep up with the Kardashians,” but I have been completely fascinated with the recent events in the life of former NBA player and former reality star, Lamar Odom.  Odom’s downward spiral with the disease of addiction led to him being found unconscious at a brothel in Nevada.  Tests later showed that he had cocaine and opiates in his system.  What followed was fueled with such drama that you couldn’t write it if you tried.  Thankfully, someone at the brothel called 911, but then Odom, at 6’10”, was too tall to fit into the helicopter.  He was then driven 65 miles to the nearest hospital.  He was placed on a ventilator to breathe for him and hooked up to dialysis for his failing kidneys. It has been reported that he had more than one stroke at the hospital.

Then the personal drama unfolded that, though they both thought they were divorced, due to a delay in processing at the courthouse, Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian were still married.  This put Kardashian in the difficult position of making medical decisions for Odom.  It all looked pretty dismal, and then three days later he woke up from the coma.  Throughout his ordeal, Odom has had overwhelming support from his former teammates and colleagues in the NBA.  I think this shows that we’ve made real progress in our understanding of addiction as the disease that it is.  There was certainly a time not so long ago when other celebrities would distance themselves from someone in Odom’s situation.

Now the question in my mind (other than whether or not Khloe and Lamar will forgo the divorce and get back together) is where Odom will go from here.  A non-addict’s brain looks at this situation and cannot conceive of how the individual could ever use again.  Wouldn’t he be so grateful for a second chance after a near death experience that he would devote the rest of his life to sobriety?  Someone with the disease of addiction, however, can subconsciously let the survival of an experience like this fuel a sense of immortality.  With a feeling of invincibility, many have refused to see situations like this as a wake-up call, and have continued to progress further into their disease which, without treatment, eventually ends in death.

I hope Odom continues his physical improvement, and that it will lead to a long life of recovery ahead.  He has so many people pulling for him, and he could do a lot to help others dealing with addiction.

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