Dwight Gooden: Testing scared me and plus it helped me for a little bit of period of time, but it was just amount of time when I was gonna go back because I was still drinking and –
Alec Baldwin: So when testing helped to keep you in line and then after ‘94 it didn’t, where were you that season?
Dwight Gooden: Right. Well, what happened was in ‘94 the situation where – like I say, it was already premeditated that I would definitely use again given the opportunity. So in ‘94 the first game of the season I break my toe. So I get put on the DL. So now I’m rehabbing and getting back and shape and so when the doctor’s give me clearance to start playing I go down to the minor leagues just to get some innings in and build my arm strength up and then right away the disease tell me, ‘Hey, they’re not testing you down here. I can get high while I’m down here.’ I relapsed and now when I join the team in Cincinnati there’s the guy from Major League Baseball waiting to test me.
He tests me. Obviously it’s positive. I get suspended. Then I go to Betty Ford for 30 days. I get out of there. So they wanted me to come back to New York to meet with the team, the major league baseball doctors before I went to Tampa. All I had to hear was that one doctor says, ‘Why don’t you just drink, but don’t do drugs?’ As soon as he said that I’m thinking, ‘Even though I know I shouldn’t. I’ve been to two treatments at that time and I know I can’t drink.’ So I say, ‘Wow, man. I could do it different this time.’ Obviously when I leave that meeting then I’m on a plane flying home to Tampa to see my family. I’m drinking on the plane. When I get off that plane I don’t see my family for three days.
Alec Baldwin: You pick up right where you left off.
Dwight Gooden: Definitely. Definitely.
Alec Baldwin: You pick up right – which is what they say. For me, I – when I got sober, when I stopped drinking and I stopped taking drugs, which was many years ago when I was very young, it changed a lot of things for me. It really changed my attitude toward what I do for a living. I began to see the potential and I don’t wanna say that it made me overwhelmingly cynical. That may be true nonetheless, but it definitely made me more thoughtful and it made me more aware of where there was the unhealthiness of a lot of things we do, relationships with people. What was a healthy relationship? What was the healthy relationship with my family?
[Photo Credit: Matt Weber]