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What Johnny Manziel Is Teaching America About Addiction


Whether you are a football fan or not, chances are you’ve heard about former Cleveland Browns Quarterback, Johnny Manziel, and his ongoing struggles with addiction and domestic violence.

Johnny Manziel: The Backstory

According to ESPN, in January 2016, Johnny Manziel had a physical altercation with his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, in Texas. She has since filed an affidavit for protection. Although no arrests were made, an investigation by the NFL was initiated. The very next day, Manziel’s father attempted to put his son in rehab and then pushed to have him committed after Johnny would not stay. Soon after, his agent, Erik Burkhardt, parted ways with Manziel.

Manziel has been in the news again recently for causing an estimated $20K in party-related damages to a home he rented, and subsequently was dropped by his new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, as reported by ESPN.

Here is what Johnny Manziel is teaching us about addiction:


Addiction does not discriminate

Manziel has all the resources at his disposal to treat his addiction – he even went to rehab last year – yet he still struggles with substance abuse. No matter how much money, material possessions, or fame that a person has, the disease of addiction can happen to anyone. In some cases, the more resources someone has can actually prevent an addict from hitting their bottom and getting help. Loved ones and money are often times the biggest enablers to addicts and can actually prevent them from recovering if they keep saving the addict from their bottom.

Addiction symptoms are mental and physical

The disease of addiction has symptoms that are usually unpleasant for many people to witness. The addict may act out violently, emotionally, or do things they would normally never do if they weren’t under the influence and under the control of their disease. For instance, Maziel’s recent run in with the law over his domestic violence disputes. Although violence is never acceptable and should never be tolerated, it is not uncommon for someone who is abusing substances to act out in rage and become violent. This is especially true if the person is heavily under the influence and/or may be suffering from another undiagnosed mental health disorder.

Addiction is treatable, but there is a catch 

Johnny Manziel allegedly went to rehab for 69 days in February 2015, but he didn’t stay sober. Why not? Addiction is 100% treatable, but not curable, and the only true way an addict can stay clean and sober long-term is if they want it and they are willing to put in the work long-term in order to achieve it. Although it has to be the addict that is willing and wanting the help, it’s important for loved ones to understand how to help. Enabling an addict in their addiction or ignoring them entirely, offering no help, are two extreme options that rarely work. This is where professional assistance is usually best when dealing with addiction.

Johnny Manziel is not unique; he is just another person struggling with a disease that society does not fully accept or understand.  It can be easy for us to sit back behind our screens and judge him, but how many people in your life display similar behaviors or even suffer from addiction? Are you willing to judge and ignore them, or are you willing to offer help and understanding, compassion and sympathy knowing that they too are suffering from a deadly disease that society condemns them for?

We are not saying the Manziel’s behavior is right, but we are saying that addiction is a serious illness that wants the addict dead and those around them gone. For more information on addiction and how you can help an addict in your life, click here. You don’t have do this alone and we have the answers you’ve been looking for.

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