No one guessed that soccer star Abby Wambach had a drug and alcohol problem. The two-time Olympic gold medalist had an acclaimed international career spanning over a decade. She won many awards and became a world record holder (for most international goals, a massive 184 in total). A Time 100 list from 2015 listed Abby as one of the most influential people in the world. She announced her retirement in October 2015 and played her last soccer game less than two months later. It looked like she was headed for the quiet life.
But in early 2016, Abby was pulled over for running a red light in Oregon. She failed a sobriety test at the time and at a local police station. She was arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants. She pleaded guilty and, under Oregon law, entered a diversion program. The treatment appears to be working, and Abby has been sober ever since that fateful night. She deemed it an essential wake-up call, and possibly “one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”
“This is something I’ve been dealing with for years now,” Abby Wambach said in a recent interview with the Associated Press.
In September 2016 her memoir “Forward” hit bookshelves, where she speaks of her pains with more detail. Between her arrest record and statements, she’s admitted to using liquor, marijuana, cocaine, and prescription pills. This included Ambien, Vicodin, and Adderall. Abby mentioned that despite her secret substance abuse, friends and family still encouraged her to get help.
“I didn’t want to face the truth,” she said. The DUI arrest brought reality screaming back into view.
The retired soccer star implies that she’s opening up about her history to show how terrible drug abuse is. Perhaps her story will inspire others to get help before it’s too late.