Timeline of Lamar Odom’s Battle with Substance Abuse
You’ve probably heard quite a bit about Lamar Odom in the headlines over recent months, with him being found unconscious in a brothel in October 2015. The star’s struggles with drugs have persisted his entire life, and hopefully he will come out of this downward spiral. The thing is though, we are only witnessing the tail end of what has been a battle with drugs and alcohol that Lamar has been fighting for year. Like any other addict, Lamar’s substance abuse has only gotten worse over the years. This most recent brush with death is hopefully reason enough for him to get the help he needs to get better for good. Let’s take a quick look at the former NBA superstar’s battle with substance abuse.
In the beginning…
Odom’s first major tragedy happened at the young age of 12, when his mother died of colon cancer. His father was a heroin addict and not in the picture, so Lamar was sent to live with his grandmother. The athlete’s talents on the court all started with him using basketball as an escape for his severe grief and depression. His basketball prowess lead to him being drafted at the young age of 20 years old.
Unfortunately, Lamar was met with another tragedy – the death of his grandmother, his caretaker up until this point, in 2004. And in 2006, his infant son, Jayden, died of sudden infant death syndrome at just even months old.
Lamar was crushed.
Lamar met the famous Khloe Kardashian in 2009, and quickly the new couple married, just one month after meeting. They had their own reality TV show, a usual escapade for the Kardashian clan, but yet another tragedy struck in Lamar’s life. In 2011, his cousin was murdered. And when on the way to the funeral in New York, the car Lamar was a passenger in struck and killed a 15-year-old.
Death seemed to be everywhere around Lamar. He even told LA Times, “Death always seems to be around me. I’ve been burying people for a long time. When I had to bury my child, I probably didn’t start grieving until a year and a half later.”
He continues, “I think the effects of seeing my cousin die and then watching this kid die, it beat me down. I consider myself a little weak. I thought I was breaking down mentally.”
The basketball star’s career ended after 14 years. Some speculate that Lamar’s career was cut short due to his “party lifestyle.” As is the case for many addict’s, it’s not a stretch to believe that Lamar’s work performance suffered due to his drug and alcohol abuse.
Lamar went missing for three days and loved ones were virtually unable to contact him. Everyone suspected he had gone on a drug binge, but his rep continually said he was just fine. He ended up being pulled over for driving under the influence and driving well below the speed limit. He failed a sobriety test, but ended up pleading no contest in exchange for three years of probation, as well as the completion of a mandatory alcohol education course.
At this point, Khloe and Lamar had been married for four years. While they were in love, they were faced with many struggles, ultimately leading to their separation. Khloe allegedly threw him out of their home after he blatantly refused an intervention for his serious drug problem.
Lamar’s father, who Lamar had not seen in years and who had a heroin problem, entered the scene and spoke out negatively against the Kardashian family. His father said the Kardashian women were controlling and even blamed Lamar’s issues on the family, but Lamar used Twitter to discount his father’s outrageous claims.
Lamar’s anger came out when a paparazzi photographer pestered him and asked him about cheating on Khloe. Lamar responded by smashing their camera and vandalizing their car before running from the scene, ultimately resulting in Lamar being sued.
Appearing to be under the influence of drugs, a video of Lamar leaked in which he free-style rapped about using drugs to make the pain go away and cheating on Khloe. The video went viral.
More death enters the scene. Two of Odom’s close friends die from drug-related incidents. One friend died from a drug overdose, and the other, Lamar’s best friend, died of a rare flesh-eating infection from using dirty needles when injecting heroin.
Later on in July, divorced papers are signed, but the divorce between Khloe and Lamar is not finalized. In that very same month, Khloe admits to a magazine during an interview that she still loves him and hopes to get back together with him someday. Lamar repeatedly tries to contact Khloe and even allegedly ambushed her on her way to the gym one morning.
In October, after a drug bender, Lamar is found in a brothel in Nevada. Two prostitutes find him unconscious after taking “virtually every drug imaginable.” He had track marks on his arms and suffered from multiple strokes.
Odom had a $75,000 tab at the brothel from drugs, alcohol, and sex, which left him in a four-day coma after strokes and organ failure. He suffered brain damage but is not reported to be brain dead.
He has recovered, but still will have major hurdles to jump over through this recovery process. He is breathing on his own, not on a ventilator, and has EKG results showing a well-functioning heart. His recovery appears to be miraculous, but time will tell how serious his bender really impacted his life.
To end this, we say this to Lamar AND anyone else who is battling substance abuse – the best time to get help is ALWAYS right now. Drugs and alcohol take millions of lives. They do not discriminate.