C.C. Sabathia shocked the sports world a month ago by checking into alcohol rehab a day before his New York Yankees played in the American League Wild-Card playoff game.
In an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America on Friday, the Yankees pitcher broke his silence about his bout with alcohol abuse and revealed that getting help was three years in the making.
"In 2012, I kind of came to the realization that I was an alcoholic and I was kind of battling it without any help and I would go two, three months at a time and then I would just relapse," Sabathia said. "During these weekends, when I thought nobody was paying attention, I would get in the hotel room and drink out of the mini bar... pretty much everything."
All that changed the day before the Yankees' playoff game last month, when Sabathia finally reached the breaking point.
"October 4 — I woke up and just felt like I needed help," Sabathia told Roberts. "It was a tough decision to make because I felt like I was leaving my teammates, but I definitely needed the help to be a better husband, father, teammate, player."
He knows that a certain portion of fans looked down on him for making the announcement so close to the post-season, but Sabathia wants those people to know that it had to be done.
"It's a disease. If it was my knee or if it was anything else, people wouldn't have a problem with it. Being that it was alcoholism, it's tough for people to swallow, but it's the same thing," he said. "I look to be a role model and staying sober and leading by example. This disease has no color, no age and it's very serious, so I advise anybody if they're out there feeling like they need help to get it."
And how has the longtime Major League Baseball pitcher felt since making his decision to get help? A huge "relief."
"I felt like I was just tired of hiding. I felt such a relief that everyone knows now," he said. "It is what it is. I can start the healing process and take steps to get myself better."
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(Photo: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)