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Another NFL star has joined the sober movement. Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer has shared that he is celebrating one year of sobriety, after deciding to quit drinking this time last March.
The 29-year-old football player got his start at Oregon State University, before being drafted by The Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. He then moved on to play for the Cleveland Browns for several seasons, before being picked up by the Bills, where he has played since 2017. The Bills offered Poyer a four-year contract worth $13 million.
While Poyer has experienced great success in his football career, with 550 career tackles and eight sacks, he revealed recently that he has been struggling behind the scenes with his alcohol consumption.
In an Instagram post commemorating his sobriety milestone, he wrote, “A year ago today (3/13/2020) I decided to quit drinking. Not because of anything special. Like lent or a New Years resolution. But because I was an alcoholic.”
Poyer further explained his journey to getting sober, stating that he drank to “forget his issues,” and that alcohol helped him avoid dealing with his problems directly. During a particularly difficult time, he remembered, “After we lost to Houston in 2019, I felt I didn’t play the way I wanted to and we lost in such a bad way that for the next 5 weeks after that game I drank every damn day. Stressed about my contract, stressed with family, stressed about life I just didn’t know any other way to cope.”
After realizing that his alcohol use was affecting his family, which includes his wife Rachel and daughter Aliyah, he knew he needed to quit drinking for good. The struggles he experienced weighed heavily on his relationships, as he remembered times when his wife became upset by his drinking, and times when he was too intoxicated to play with his daughter.
Poyer revealed that his mother had attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the past, and that he decided to try out the meetings for himself. Though he stated that he did not speak during the meetings, the experience helped him profoundly.
Shortly after making the decision to get sober, Poyer signed a contract extension with the Bills, and is set to return again this fall for another season—with a clearer mind and renewed spirit. With past losses and pressures contributing to his alcoholism, Poyer is now armed with the support and love of his family and friends, who have supported him through his darkest times.
Although Poyer spoke openly and candidly about his sobriety in this post, he was also quick to note that sharing this information publicly was not an easy thing to do.
“I didn’t want you all to know this about me. I’m writing this because I know others out there struggle as well… If you believe that is you; it’s never to[o] late to seek help & to let you know My DMs are open for questions or support,” he wrote.
While sharing stories of sobriety is uncomfortable for most people—particularly for those in the public eye—each story of hope brings us one step closer to eliminating the stigmas associated with addiction and being in recovery. Getting help and getting sober often brings about feelings of shame and embarrassment, and while those feelings are completely normal, they are only a temporary stumbling block.
As Poyer moves ahead, he provides the public with the reminder that anyone can succumb to the pressures of alcoholism—regardless of their celebrity status. He also reminds us that we have the power to beat it, and that we are not alone the fight.
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