BEAVERCREEK — Darryl Strawberry and his wife Tracy have formed an alliance with Ohio Pastors to help stop the epidemic of Ohio’s opioid/drug crisis. The couple made a special appearance, March 5 at the Beavercreek Nazarene Church to help share their struggles with drug addiction in hopes to provide families, friends and other addicts with education, enlightenment and hope.
There were more than 250 attendees, including current individuals struggling with addiction and recovery.
“To really fix the problem, you need to fix the hurt first,” Darryl Strawberry said. “Our schools are missing education on drugs. They’re not the same as they used to be. They are laced with very deadly drugs.”
Many sports fans fell in love with Darryl Strawberry during his baseball career. He was an athlete with a bat and ball in his hand, but few knew the dark side of his groundbreaking career with the New York Mets and New York Yankees. He won four World Series Championships. But it wasn’t all glory – it was a world of drugs, addictions, marital issues and financial disaster. That’s when he decided to go back to church and find God.
“Some people get help from programs such as AA with their addictions. But, I knew I needed to get God back in my life. I knew He would forgive me and accept me. That’s what I needed,” Darryl said.
Tracy Strawberry also faced her demons with drugs and the consequences her decisions dealt.
“I was getting ready to lose custody of my boys and I knew I had to get clean,” she said. “So, I worked really hard to do that. I lost them anyway. But, I knew I never wanted them to see me that way again.”
They both found each other and formed a bond with God and knew they were brought together for a reason. They wanted to help people just like them. In 2011, they opened two addiction treatment facilities in Orlando, Fla. through Strawberry Ministries. Their treatment facilities focus on finding the root of the addiction – the why it began. They dig deep to help the soul and not just the addiction.
“We can help because we’ve been where they are,” said Darryl. “We know what they’re going through.
“We treat a lot of Ohio young people in our facilities. Ohio has so few resources to help treat addiction, people are seeking treatment in Florida and places like California, where resources are greater,” Tracy Strawberry said.
With the Ohio epidemic at an all time high, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s outreach team began searching for answers to respond to this crisis.
“There are on average 12-17 deaths a day in Ohio because of drugs,” said DeWine. “The faith-based programs have really stepped up to help this epidemic.”
DeWine was not able to be present to the event but was available by video.
The outreach team approached Ohio pastors in hopes of forming an alliance with the churches to bring God back into the equation. This brought about the partnership of Pastor Jerry O’Brien. He began thinking of ways to get the message out to the community and basically had a dream that he was getting the support of Darryl and Tracy Strawberry. The dream was so vivid and real, he decided to call the Strawberry’s Foundation and see if he could find someone to talk to about it. He said within hours, Darryl personally called him.
“I said, Darryl Strawberry is calling me personally?” Pastor O’Brien told the audience. “Darryl said, yes. This is too important to not call in person.”
But visions of what was to come was not only family to Pastor O’Brien. It also had been something that Tracy has experienced. Three years prior, she wrote an agenda for something just like this program and already had it ready for when this call was presented to them.
Together, with Harvest Recovery Ministries, the Attorney General’s Office and Pastor Greg Delaney, they have been touring the Ohio region to help spread the word. For more information visit www.findingyourway.com.