Every day I wake up and tell myself I want to be a responsible person and make good choices today.
Going through what I went through and working through my issues, my main goal was to come out as a better man, husband and father. I work at that every day now.
Before, I wasn't thinking about making good choices. I wasn't thinking about the consequences of my actions. I would just go out and do something. Today, I live different as a person.
Every day I measure humility. Getting out of bed in the morning and knowing that I didn't go and do anything destructive the night before, or mess anything up, makes feel like a better person.
Now I feel proud of myself and thankful. Overall, I feel very blessed. Even if I was given the opportunity to go back and change everything, I wouldn't.
When I was going through it I would say "Yes" every time about changing it. Now being on the other side of it, I realize I wouldn't be where I am at this point -- married with two kids with a strong relationship with God. So I look at it as God's timing and not my timing. He had a plan all along.
Playing this game also is a fun way to help me through every day. I'm often asked if I missed playing baseball. The more I think about it, I ask myself, "Did I waste some good years in baseball?" The answer is yes. Can I explain how I'm doing as well as I am despite missing that time? No, I really can't. There's really no good reason that I was able to come into Spring Training and do so well. I just did.
Now I feel comfortable playing at this level. Like I've said, I believe this is God's doing. Should I feel overwhelmed at times? Probably so. But God helps calm me down. I'm being the player he wants me to be. It's been a positive experience.
I've also gotten back to realizing that baseball is baseball. You're going to have good days and bad days. I could go 6-for-9, like I did two weekends ago, or I can go 0-for-10. That's part of the game. You just need to balance that out and develop the mentality of coping with one game at a time. That's how I'm approaching the game these days.
Rookie outfielder Josh Hamilton, the No. 1 overall selection in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, is a recovering drug addict and now on the comeback trail with the Reds. In April, he was named the National League's Rookie of the Month, as he led all rookies with six home runs and was tied for the lead among Major League rookies with 13 RBIs.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.