UPDATED with Wambach’s statement on her book release, below.
In an interview with Annie M. Peterson for the AP, Abby Wambach says she abused alcohol and prescription drugs for years. Among the substances she recounts are vodka, Vicodin, Ambien, and Adderall.
It all culminated in her arrest for DUI in Portland in April of this year. "That night getting arrested was one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” said Wambach in the interview. “Because if I don't get so publicly shamed and publicly humiliated, I don't think I wake up.”
Perhaps the DUI was due to a confluence of big life events all ending; she was newly retired and, according to the AP report, her marriage was in trouble. She and wife Sarah Huffman are now divorcing. But the problems leading up to the DUI had been going on for years, according to Wambach, who said that her friends, including teammate Sydney Leroux, tried to reach out to her.
Wambach released a statement on her facebook concerning the release of her book, quoted in part below:
“When you read about my lows, my self-doubt, my drinking, you might judge me and that is ok. But no matter who you are or what you’ve done with your life, I bet you will recognize the feeling I describe, that private terror that makes you wonder if you’re lost for good. You’re not.
I am nervous to open up and talk about my struggles for the first time this week. But I hope in so doing, we can change the conversation about what it means to be a ‘hero.’ Heros [sic] fail. They fall down. They screw up. Heroes tell the truth.”
Wambach’s memoir “Forward” will be released on Tuesday, September 13. For some fans of the USWNT, who have long been accustomed to the shining image of Abby Wambach as golden hero of American soccer, it could prove an interesting, humanizing read. It’s a good time to remember that, like most people, athletes are not all good or all bad, and idolizing them only tends to lead to disappointment.