The Road to Recovery
MERCEDES – As a playmaker for the Mercedes Tigers, Zach Gomez was hard to stop. When he was on, the Tigers won often.
But when Gomez wasn’t playing football, he had a hobby that was intoxicating. One that would eventually take over his life.
The saga began his freshman year.
“Other people that were also doing good in football, that were doing good in sports, if they can do it, I can do it,” said Gomez. “That kind of took me down that path.”
Gomez says he was trying to fit in with older classmates. So when they offered him something, he would try it.
Eventually, he was hooked.
“I was just looking for of course alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, Xanax,” said Gomez.
It didn’t take long for the addiction to affect his life as an athlete. Gomez admits there were times he was under the influence when he played football.
“7 on 7 games, majority of them I was intoxicated in them,” said Gomez. “In the real pad games, I think I played two of them on a substance.”
One of those games was a playoff game in 2016. Before the game even began, Gomez says his need for Xanax led to a seizure.
“On the way to play Calallen for one of our playoff games, in the bus, around all my teammates,” said Gomez.
Gomez was arrested three times his junior year. Then before his senior year at La Villa, he was so desperate for drug money, that he tried to break into cars.
“It was that severe,” said Gomez. “That was my last arrest and for that charge is why I had gone to county.”
While Gomez was starring for a new football team, he couldn’t shake his old problem.
But after two stints of rehab in Houston, Gomez says he found a way to kick his habits.
“It made me self-reflect on myself and truly understand what I’m doing to myself in the end,” said Gomez.
And while the battle isn’t over just yet, Gomez says he’s driven to stay the course. For himself and for others.
“Right now I’m currently extremely scared of what could happen for me if I relapse again,” said Gomez. “I feel like that plays a big part of me in wanting to keep this life that I’m living now. My whole goal is if I can make one person think differently, make one person change their lives, that’s the only thing that matters to me.”
It’s a road to recovery that Gomez continues to stay on.
The date December 21, 2017 is very important to Gomez. That’s his sobriety date.
In fact, just yesterday Gomez celebrated six months of sobriety.
The La Villa graduate is now an assistant manager with a local sales company and this fall, he’ll be attending South Texas College to pursue a degree in business management.
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