Female Athletes in Recovery
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Addiction does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, regardless of race, age, background, or gender. It doesn’t matter how wealthy, how talented, how successful, or how put together you may appear to be on the outside. It has even affected some of the world’s most talented female athletes. Some of those athletes have achieved recovery and were brave enough to share their stories with the world. Hearing about strong, successful women can be very encouraging to others. It can even help convince those that may be on the fence about seeking help to make the right decision. The following are some examples of just a few female athletes in recovery. 

The Story of Oksana Baiul

Oksana Baiul is a former Olympic figure skater from Ukraine. She rose to fame due to her talents when she was just a teenager. In the 1994 Winter Olympics, her “Swan Lake”-themed performance impressed not only the judges but the world. It was enough for her to win the gold medal, even beating out the very talented Nancy Kerrigan from the United States. This was a very monumental win because she was the youngest woman to win this medal in generations. It was clear that she was a force to be reckoned with and that she was only at the start of what was sure to be a very successful career. 

While on the outside, Oksana appeared to have everything, few people knew the hardships she had in her personal life. Her mother died from cancer when she was very young, and her father abandoned her. She ended up getting taken in by her skating coach. 

Aside from these hardships, Oksana also had enormous pressure upon her at all times. She was pressured to be the best and to continue to win medals. The pressure caused her a lot of stress, and eventually, she developed an alcohol use disorder (AUD). She would later get a DUI charge after crashing her car while driving under the influence. She would then enter rehab and turn her life around. She realized she didn’t need alcohol to be happy, something she details in her autobiography. 

The Story of Shawn Johnson 

All athletes face a lot of pressure, but Olympians, in particular, face exceptional expectations. They have to constantly exercise and eat right in order to perform at their best. This can take a toll on their mental health, as it did for Shawn Johnson. Shawn is a former American Olympic gymnast who took home a gold medal on three separate occasions. She won silver three times as well. Despite her success, she faced a lot of challenges. She struggled with an eating disorder, physical injuries, and, eventually, an addiction to prescription medication. She had been prescribed ADHD medication, but she misused it as a way to get energy and stay a certain size. 

After retiring from her gymnastics career in 2012, she was determined to make a change. She sought treatment and also received help with her eating disorder. She was eventually able to recover and move on with her life. She got married, and later, she and her husband were excited to be expecting a baby. Tragically, in 2017, she had a miscarriage. 

Shawn was devastated, and when she learned that her past substance use and eating disorder may have played a role in her losing the baby, she decided to open up to the public. She was honest about her past and now often promotes the importance of mental health care. She hopes that her story will help encourage other women to seek help. Shawn has since had two children.

The Story of Carrie Steinseifer 

Like many famous athletes, Carrie Steinseifer’s career started when she was very young. Carrie is a former American Olympic swimmer. She won the gold medal three separate times. All of this occurred when she was still in high school. But it would turn out that this would be the peak of her career. She struggled to achieve that kind of success again and didn’t make the next Olympic team. This took a major toll on her mental health, and she turned to alcohol as a way to cope. Before long, she developed AUD.

It took several trips to rehab for Carrie to finally achieve lasting sobriety. Her family didn’t give up on her and encouraged her every step of the way. They knew that she could do it, and she did officially become sober in 2012. Her family helps her celebrate her sober anniversaries. 

Today, Carrie openly shares her story with the world in hopes that it may help other people who are struggling with addiction. She has discussed the topic of substance use disorders (SUDs) on television shows and in interviews and actively helps others who are struggling. 

Addiction does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, regardless of race, age, background, or gender. It doesn’t matter how wealthy or how talented you are. Nor does it matter if you are a famous athlete with Olympic gold medals. You are still a human and are still capable of being affected by addiction. Some very famous athletes have come forward to discuss their past history of substance use openly. It can be very inspiring to hear the stories of women who successfully became sober. If you are currently struggling with a substance use disorder, our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today to learn more.