Throwback Thursday – Jekyll & Hyde – Aubrey Huff – Tampa Bay Rays

I visited the Jekyll & Hyde club in 1997. 

My first time in Manhattan, I had the fun experience of eating at the “Jekyll & Hyde club.  The food was quite good, but the experience was very cool. It is a spooky restaurant that is set up to reflect the well known story by Robert Louis Stevenseon “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.  You are probably familiar with the name and characters of the story, but in case you are not, it is the story of Gabriel John Utterson a lawyer who is trying to solve a mystery where a murderous villain (Hyde) is a personality that comes out when Dr. Jekyll drinks a serum. It has been re-interpreted and performed countless times. And it has also become a familiar term for a person who seems to embody good or at least normalcy in one moment, and evil depravity the next. And while the Stevenson book is a work of fiction, if we are honest, we can relate to the story more than we would like to admit.

Huff’s 13 year career started in Tampa Bay where he spent 7 seasons and almost 800 games.

Aubrey Huff played 13 years in the Majors on 5 different teams.  He was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 5th round of the 1998 draft after a Hall of Fame career at University of Miami. He made his debut in August of 2000 and would play more than 1600 games in the majors. He was a Silver Slugger award winner in 2008 with the Orioles and a 2 time World Series champ (2010 and 2012) with the San Francisco Giants. It is a great story of persevering through some gigantic obstacles. When Huff was 6 years old, his father was killed trying to be a peacemaker in a domestic dispute while working as an electrician. Read about that story in this article from mlive.com. His mom raised him and his sister as a single parent. She had a batting cage installed at their house so Huff could work on his skills.

And while Huff put up some great numbers as a baseball player, he battled some things off the field that threatened to ruin his career, his marriage and even his life. During his career, he formed an addiction to Adderall. It helped his baseball career improve, but the effects of taking this drug, and then quitting it tool their toll. This is where he related to Jekyll and Hyde. Learn more about it in this video from CBN.

During Huff’s World Series days, he was battling addiction to Adderall – an addiction that almost cost him his marriage and his life.

In the video he talks about his introduction to Adderall and the positive effects it seemed to have for him. It also relates how addictive it was . He says “I had every intention to quit it during the off-season. And I found myself in the offseason taking it the very first day. When I didn’t take it in the morning, I felt depressed, bored, anxious, and irritable.  It made me a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It turned me into somebody I hated.” He also talks about the day when the cravings ended, thanks – he says to God’s help. He said “I remember getting on my knees and praying, crying to God, I got to get off this stuff, Lord, please Jesus, I need you. I cannot do this anymore. I take the pills I dump them down the toilet at 4:00 in the morning and flush them. And I woke up the next morning. I thought for sure I’d want a pill. I didn’t want one. The next day I didn’t want one. From that moment on, I never had a craving to take another Adderall in my life.”

Huff details his addiction and how God helped him find the path to recovery.

But that was not the end of his struggles.  His wife had filed for divorce, and while the craving for Adderall had ended, he began feeling anxiety and panic, culminating in him holding his gun to his head, on the verge of suicide. He continues “I realized my dad was murdered with this same caliber weapon. And I’m like wow — put it down! I started crying to God. You were supposed to be here with me. I thought you were in my life. And this thought came to me. He’s like ‘Aubrey, if you want my perfect peace, you have to give up control and have faith in me’. And it was that day where I realized I’ve got to start living for Him. Not just pretending!”

God restored Huff, reconciled his marriage to Baubi and even led him to co-write a book about his story, addiction and recovery.

Here are my takeaways from Huff’s story:

1- Jekyll and Hyde –  Huff shared about how Adderall changed him into “someone he hated”. He talked about how he had these 2 distinct versions of himself. – Brash, cocky, confident and focused while on Adderall, and bored, depressed, anxious off of Adderall – however, he was not in control of it. His addiction was in control. I see strong similarities in our spiritual life. We battle every day between glorifying God and glorifying ourselves. We have a natural inclination to worship something or someone, and battle everyday to keep that worship from being aimed at ourself. And while our addiction may not be to Adderall, our addiction to control over our own lives and putting ourselves first is equally as strong and as lethal. Huff saw God help him in his addiction and we need the same in our addiction to self. We need God’s intervention. We need to surrender control to Him.  Only He has the serum that takes away our evil depraved side.

Huff with his wife Baubi and their 2 sons celebrating a championship. God intervened and preserved their marriage.

2- Gain by Giving Up – Control is a funny thing. We think we have it, we hold onto it like it is actually in our hands in the first place, but in reality, we are not really in control of very much at all. We trick ourselves into thinking that we have say in how things are going to go and what life is going to bring our way. When Huff put down the gun he had aimed at himself, He called out to God. He recounts “ He’s like ‘Aubrey, if you want my perfect peace, you have to give up control and have faith in me”.  Since things are out of our control anyway, it makes the most sense to learn to trust the one that actually is in control. God has a plan for our lives and invites us to trust him AND give up control to Him. He can and will show up in amazing ways to guide us. He will also be with us in the hardest times. I know that I need to ask him daily to help me give up control to Him. I invite you to do the same.

christop

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