You Can Get There From Here:
Part 11

Barry Buss

Editor's Note:

When we last saw Barry he had severed his final connection with UCLA tennis where he had once set record for winning consecutive matches. The next chapters in the book chronicle his horrifying, heartbreaking slide into more and more drugs, psychiatry, psychiatric drugs, and near death experiences—all too gruesome even for Tennisplayer. (Get the book if you want to know.) But as the title says You Can Get There From Here, so let's pick up his story with the tale of redemption and 10 years of sobriety that eventually followed.

If Trey Anastasio could get sober, maybe I could too.

It's March 9, 2022, late in the evening. My house is dark. I sit alone at my desk typing you these words. Tomorrow will be ten years since a fateful night when I attended a concert with Trey Anastasio and the LA Philharmonic. I was overcome with emotion that evening seeing my rock and roll idol performing clean and sober upon the stage, sparking a long-dormant flame within me that maybe I could try sobriety one more time. Sobriety and I, two ships who'd long since passed in the night. Yet, when I finish typing these final words and lay my head to bed to end this day, I will awaken tomorrow, March 10th, 2022, celebrating 10 years of consecutive sobriety.

Apparently, I had one more miracle in me...

How'd I do it? Certainly not the conventional way. I mean, why start now? After the concert, I checked in to a sober living house, beginning a challenging detox as I bounced from one grim low bottom house to another throughout the South Bay. And as bleak as those homes were, they were a step up in living conditions considering where I was with my life. I'd done some serious damage to myself, something you only find out when you finally try and stop. It was all hard, but so was trying to live as a functioning addict haplessly strung out on drugs. None of it was pretty, but I sucked it up, going through what I had to go through, knowing there are no style points awarded when getting clean.

I emerged from the withdrawals and detoxification phase about as well as could be expected, with no permanent lasting damage, giving me a sliver of a chance to move forward with my life taking only the babiest of steps. For as hard as getting sober was, living sober was where I struggled most. I had tried everything multiple times. What could I possibly do differently to give me the best chance this time?

Want to study the rest of this article?

Click Here to Subscribe!

Growing up in Boston and Los Angeles, Barry became a national ranked junior player at the age of 12, and a member of the elite USTA Junior Davis Cup Team. As a college player he tied the legendary Jimmy Connors 22 match win streak at UCLA. He is now an independent teaching pro working in Franklin, Tennessee.

You Can Get There From Here

The harrowing tale of an American junior tennis standout's descent into alcoholism, addiction, bipolar disorder, and eventual hospitalization and his journey toward healing and recovery. Essential reading if you care about alcoholism, recovery and mental health, with competitive tennis forming the backdrop of Buss' life.

Click Here to Order!

Tennisplayer Forum
Let's Talk About this Article!

Share Your Thoughts with our Subscribers and Authors!

Click Here