Wow, you’re ears must have been burning BADLY for the last few days. Not only did the documentary of your drug problem and recovery BLITZ the ratings, you also became quite the hot topic on many radio and TV talk shows.
But I’m fairly certain you’re at one with your hotness by now. You should be. I am. I made it quite apparent in my last letter to you, but HOLY SHINOODLE! It’s actually ridiculous how much of a spunk you really are.
Ridiculous because by all accounts, the footage we saw of you during your using, withdrawl and recovery stages should have looked more like someone who was abusing and destroying their body, but somehow you managed to maintain your physique and good looks and that’s just not fair to the all the other druggies who look like… ahh, druggies.
That’s why everyone calls you a rocks star. But even that’s not accurate. Have you ever seen Ozzy Osbourne? Or Keith Richards? The effects of years of drug abuse is evident in every crevice of their weathered face and every word they speak.
Perhaps they should quit calling you a rock star and start calling you a freak. Because you seem to be impervious to the effects of soul destroying, physically damaging and emotionally crippling drug abuse.
Truthfully Ben, I found your doco compelling. Of course I would, I’m a West Coast Eagles fan and took interest in your demise and the effects it had on a team I love. But more than that – I was interested to understand how the drugs affected you beyond what we saw and read in the media.
While I don’t agree with the many criticisms of your brave departure from your addictions, I did find myself wondering, WHERE’S THE REST? Perhaps you kept some parts of your withdrawl and recovery private? I think your father and sister expressed how bad it was, and how scared they were, and how much of a fight it was better than you did.
And look that’s fine, you’re a public figure – have been for years and you’ve probably found survival by keeping your cards close to your chest. You’ve shared your story with us, but I think much of the criticisim is coming to you because you failed to show us the WHOLE story as Sports writer Jesse Hogan so eloquently pointed out in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald. There were no signs of the heartache and physical pain that comes from ridding your body of the poisons you’ve been feeding it. There was no footage of you suffering in the way that most drug addicts suffer when they’re detoxing.
Instead we saw you riding waves, hopping on planes, training in some nice tight pants, and then publicly apologising – which was evidently filmed on your way to a Star Wars dress up party. I realise that was all important in the process of your recovery, and I know you must have suffered hugely when you were kicked out of the AFL and rejected from various clubs. But what about the REAL suffering that was separate to your career. Only your father and sister expressed it.
I was interested when the family friend who took you surfing said, “Ben has no peace inside, he should spend time finding that peace not pursing football. Practice meditation , get in touch with what your running from and accept life is not a one way ego trip. He should do more for others and find a deeper sense of personal respect. The drugs then don’t matter so much.”
And another commenter who said, “Ben has been taking his whole life and he has never had to give.”
Der! Hello? What did I tell you in my last letter?
Whilst filming a doco is beneficial in that it opens up opportunities to discuss drug abuse within families, it doesn’t really take you out of yourself and your own problems. In fact it focuses on them further.
Dude. It’s time to do some charity work. It’s time to give. You are SO lucky to have an amazing and supportive family, and also friends and mentors who have been completely and 100% on your side during your recovery. THEY have been giving of themselves to help you.
I know you’re not fully recovered and retiring this weekend from a game that has consumed over half your life will be hard. I’m not suggesting that it’s time to forget your own struggles, particularly at this difficult time of transition. But perhaps you’re underestimating the benefits that helping others will bring to your life.
Last night while watching part 2 of the documentary, our dinner guests made a prediction that you would be dead in five years. I was appalled. What a terrible thing to suggest and predict for another human’s life. But their reasoning was fair. You don’t seem to be totally rid of the demons. Laughing about it as you did at times (while possibly a nervous thing) gave the impression that you thought it was funny. And without the regimes of footy, what will keep the demons away?
So I do worry for you – genuinely. Not only because I like you and think you are oh so terribly handsome. But I worry because I’m pretty sure I know who you’re infamous dodgy friends are that some referred to on the doco. I recognise how easy it must’ve been to be seduced into their world when at such a young age – you weren’t forced to go through what most young people do. And that is working out who you are, what you believe in, what you truly want for life outside of a successful career.
You were probably told by every person from a young age that you were a champion and a brilliant footy player. Highly skilled and a force to be reckoned with on the field. All true. But that’s not enough to live by is it?
As you said, you had no inner peace. Adualation from the world doesn’t give your life meaning.
I’m sure your life – particularly now – is filled with meaning. But I think the purpose and quiet accomplishments that comes from helping others will make you more of a champion and make YOU feel like you are more important than any Brownlow medal or Premiership season.
So that’s all from me, possibly forever. I can’t think of any reason why I might need to write to you a third time. I’ll be watching your final game on Sunday against Port Adelaide. PLEASE annihilate them in the same manner you did so to yourself on drugs.
And thank you for all the magnificent games you’ve given me to watch. Your supporters, your team mates and your competitors will miss you out there. You are a truly a star and I hope you can keep on shining. With or without your shirt on. Either way it’s pretty.
All the best,