By William Trillo
The rumors of former Middleweight Champ Kelly Pavlik having a problem with alcohol have been running their course for quite some time now, at least a couple of years. But with every injury delay or complete pull-out of fights, Pavlik’s team was quick to dismiss any suggestion of alcohol dependency.
On November 4th of this year Pavlik admitted himself into The Betty Ford Clinic and the hope is he will recover from this debilitating disease of alcoholism. Any thoughts of Pavlik as a fighter must be put on a shelf until Kelly is comfortable and stable with his sobriety, and not a moment sooner.
As I read through the press releases and articles posted this week I was stunned to find out that Pavlik had once before checked himself into rehab and stayed for a mere 2 weeks. 10 days later Pavlik was standing across the ring from Sergio Martinez with his middleweight title on the line!
10 days later!
How anyone close to him allowed him to get in the ring that night may seem inconceivable, but a good part of the denial in an alcoholics life comes from those closest to him, they are more commonly known as enablers. Instead of seeing their loved one with a problem, and someone in need of help, they turn a blind eye to the situation and hope it will correct itself on its own. Meanwhile the alcoholic is allowed to stumble along his way.
Quotes from Pavlik’s Father are sincere and show a pattern that is similar in these situations. “You always assume it’s just going to go away,” he said. “You think it’s just a temporary thing and that it’s going to pass. I was making excuses to cover the problem. I realize that. I’m a parent and I love my son and like any parent, I was trying to be protective.”
Pavlik’s Father acted the same way any parent would; no one can blame him for that. But when things got very bad he did the right thing and sat down with his son. Pavlik shared, “We had that long conversation [earlier this month] and after about eight hours, he decided he needed to do this.”
There is no doubt that this is exactly where Kelly needs to be right now and hopefully he will chose to stay much longer than the 2 week he did the last time.
Kelly’s manager Cameron Dunkin said that Pavlik wasn’t determined to be chemically dependent upon alcohol in the spring, but he has been declared dependent during this stint. Dunkin said Pavlik plans to remain in treatment for as long as necessary in order to permanently resolve his problem. “Three months, six months, whatever it takes, he’s going to do it,” Dunkin said.
I am sure Dunkin has Kelly’s best interest in mind but really, Three months? Six months?
Recovery is a life long process. If you are expecting Pavlik to come out and be “cured” you are doing yourself and more importantly you are doing Kelly a huge disservice. And whoever determined Pavlik wasn’t chemically dependant on alcohol in the spring but now has declared him to be dependent….I’d like to have a long talk with that person. His life was out of control and spiraling for 3 years…ipso facto…he has a huge problem with booze….chemically dependent ???? You are kidding me, right?
In the past after I wrote an article about one of Dunkin’s fighters he was quick to call to tell me I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about! I am sure that’s a thought shared by many of my readers through the years, but on this one I assure you…I know exactly what I am talking about!
I’ll spare you the details but 23 years ago I was drowning in a sea of alcohol. I lost my wife, daughter, house and job because I made booze the most important thing in my life. After 2 stints in rehab and countless support groups I finally found my way. I found my higher power in Jesus Christ and I am proud to say I am coming up on 21 years of sobriety. It wasn’t easy at first but the rewards have been plentiful. There is no reason why Kelly or anyone can not become sober; it’s just a matter of how bad you want it.
I hope and pray that Kelly will find his way and can become a positive contributor to society, whether or not he ever returns to the ring again.
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