72 Hours of Lamar Odom

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“Self destruction in my hand, oh Lord, so stupid minded, oh and I go crazy when I can’t find it, well I know I’m hooked my friend, to the boy who makes slaves out of men”. These lyrics were extracted from the great Marvin Gaye’s song entitled “Flyin High”. Flyin High was written as an ode to the Vietnam War Veterans who became addicted to heroin upon returning from the war. As we peruse recent articles pertaining to Lamar Odom’s apparent unknown whereabouts, in what is believed to be a 72 hour drug binge, we find ourselves revisiting the genes of addiction. For those not in the know, Lamar Odom is a native New Yorker, hailing from South Jamaica Queens. His mother died of cancer when Lamar was twelve years old and his father was addicted to heroin as well. Lamar, for the most part, was raised by his grandmother. He would then go on to star on the high school, collegiate and professional levels as a basketball player and would then gain popular fame as reality television star alongside his wife Khloe Kardashian. Yes, Lamar Odom is a success story, as he is both rich and famous, as well as an NBA Champion. Lamar was living the life and “flying high”, playing for a team (Los Angeles Lakers) who was like family to him. He playfully referred to Los Angeles as “the crib” (slang for home) as he had ingratiated himself with the fans of the Los Angeles Lakers and was adored by them as well. So the poignant question is, how did we get to 72 hours of disarray? What triggered the proverbial bullet to go astray? Perhaps this gun was loaded long before the misfiring occurred. Lets revisit the marksman.

When Marvin Gaye stated “the boy who makes slaves out of men”, the “boy” he is referring to in this particular instance is the narcotic or drug of choice. As I stated previously, Lamar’s father was a heroin addict. Studies show that at least 50% of addiction is attributable to genetic coding or the “addictive gene” inherited from a parent. The additional 50% of addiction is attributable to environment and personal experiences. Children of addicts are 8 times more likely to develop an addiction versus that of non addicts. The repeated abuse of drugs as a coping method can rewire the brain so that it seeks or chases the “buzz” at an even greater rate. Lamar’s drug addiction was chronicled long before this latest incident, as reported by Skip Bayless of ESPN’s First Take. Skip Bayless revealed information given to him by members of the Chicago Bulls organization, who conducted a pre-draft workout with Lamar Odom, who revealed to their resident psychologist that he smoked marijuana before and after every game. Lamar would face a suspension by the NBA for two drug violations in 2001, citing his environment or lifestyle, as well as, accessibility as reasons for his abuse. What should be noted is the fact that he grew up in an environment in which he was surrounded by crack-cocaine. Lamar would stay clean for 10 years, however it’s been speculated that certain tragic events that recently occurred in his personal life, may have triggered these current chain of events that have caused him to turn to drugs as a coping mechanism. He was also traded from his beloved Lakers, thus removing the protected walls of comfort from around him, allowing the emotional demons and narcotic nemesis to reenter his life. Such a tragic state of events, for what many have described as a great human being. I pray for his recovery.

The shadows of a day transition us from a time of light into the wee hours of darkness. What unfolds is often not visible, as it is sheltered inside the confines of a closed room. It is in these moments that we are the most transparent, as we find ourselves alone with nothing more than the flicker from a television screen and the unaddressed thoughts of a pondering mind. If this is you and there is nothing good separating you from bad, call either a friend or if you are spiritual, call on your savior or deity. Drugs of any kind are not solution, they are temporary elements of sanity that will only further increase insanity. No sense in “flyin high” when a nose dive is assured to follow. #faith

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