Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton made an appearance at a megachurch Sunday to talk about his team's incredible season, his struggles with addiction and his walk with Jesus Christ.
Though his team lost in the World Series to the San Francisco Giants, Hamilton had a lot to celebrate.
It was the first time in the team's 50-year history that the Rangers made it to the World Series. The overall chemistry, passion and determination of the team alone was a great achievement.
"We made a lot of history this year," Hamilton said at First Baptist Church of Dallas. And the better they did, the opportunities Hamilton had to talk about Jesus Christ got bigger, he said.
"That's what I enjoyed most about the entire year ... not going to the World Series ... but it was about sharing Christ with as many news people as I could, preferably live so they can't cut out Jesus' name," stressed the young athlete.
Hamilton's struggle with alcohol and drug addiction in recent years has been public. His most recent relapse took place early last year when he was training to prepare for the upcoming baseball season. In a period of three weeks, he had stopped reading the Bible, praying or being accountable. And it was during that time that he took a drink, which led to at least 10 more.
Recalling the moment, Hamilton said on Sunday, "It's because I took God out of first place."
Before that incident, he had recommitted his life to Christ at his grandmother's house and shifted his priorities to place God, family and sobriety above baseball.
"It had to be God first," he highlighted.
After realizing what he had done in 2009, he immediately called his wife, the Rangers and the Major League Baseball organization to report what had happened. Since then he has remained sober.
He admitted to thousands at First Baptist that it's an everyday battle. But he has found strength in Christ and tries to share Jesus with everyone.
"When I try to do things on my own, I mess them up ... I fail," Hamilton acknowledged. "I still might fail when I'm in accordance with the Lord but that's just so I can grow closer to him.
"It's just a constant learning process – when you fail and how you respond to that failure. God wants you to respond to it by coming to Him and asking for help."
He added that over the last year he has been able to spend more time with his teammates and minister to them.