Lamar Odom Opens Up About Near-Fatal Overdose: “I Shook Hands With Death”
For a while there in 2015, it seemed like Lamar Odom was definitely going to die.
Now, Lamar is opening up about that near-death experience and his subsequent recovery in a powerful new essay.
And he’s startlingly candid, even detailing the time Khloé walked him and a woman doing cocaine in a Queens motel…
After he was found unconscious at the Love Ranch in Crystal, Nevada, Lamar’s condition seemed to go from bad to worse. He suffered strokes and kidney failure.
Still, he lived to tell the tale, thanks in large part to support family members like Khloé and his two kids, as he writes in his 3,000-word essay.
“When I woke up in the hospital room in Nevada, I couldn’t move,” he writes in the essay, which is published on The Players’ Tribune.
“I couldn’t talk. I was trapped inside my own body. My throat hurt like hell. I looked down and I had all these tubes coming out of my mouth.
“So I panicked. I started trying to pull them out, but I couldn’t because my hands were so weak.”
He says he felt like his doctors were constantly leaving and coming back — though he realizes he might have been falling in and out of sleep.
One clear image does stick out in his memory, however:
“My ex-wife was there in the room with me. After all the shit I had done, I was surprised to see her. Honestly, that’s when I knew that I was probably in bad shape.”
“At some point, the main doctor came in and told me what had happened,” Lamar continues.
“He said, ‘Mr. Odom, you’ve been in a coma for the last four days. Do you understand?’
“I couldn’t talk. So I just nodded.
“He said, ‘It’s a miracle that you’re here. We didn’t think you were going to make it.’
“I was in total shock. Couldn’t say any clever shit back. Couldn’t ask questions. It was the first time in my life that I felt helpless. I felt like I was two inches tall. It was just … it was real.”
Much of Lamar’s essay is devoted to his cocaine addiction, both its causes and its effects.
“At that point in my life, I was doing coke every day,” he says.
“Pretty much every second of free time that I had, I was doing coke. I couldn’t control it.
“I didn’t want to control it.”
And much of the essay is a mea culpa, with references to the drama that likely made Khloé file for divorce in the first place.
He cites one of his late grandmother’s go-to sayings: What’s done in the dark will come out in the light.
“I think of all the sneaky shit I tried to get away with. All the times I did wrong. All the stuff I tried to hide. If it’s not in the public light, it’s in God’s light.”
Lamar explains that he only started using cocaine at age 24, after he lost multiple family members — including the aforementioned grandmother and his mother, Cathy, who died of colon cancer when he was 12.
“I wish I could tell you there was a reason for it,” he writes.
“There wasn’t. It was just an asinine decision I made. If I knew that it was going to affect my life the way it did, I would’ve never even thought about it. Never.
“But I did it. It turned out to be a life-altering decision …
“When I did coke, I felt good for a minute. I stopped having so much anxiety. I didn’t think about the pain. I didn’t think about death. So I kept doing it more and more, but I was still in control. It wasn’t like an everyday thing.”
Then, at age 26, came another trauma: His son Jayden, one of his three kids with ex Liza Morales, died at 6 months of sudden infant death syndrome.
“I think everything probably picked up at that point, with the drugs. Even subconsciously,” Lamar says of that terrible time.
“You don’t even know why you’re doing it at that point. I think subconsciously, you make yourself an addict because of the trauma that you’re going through.”
Part of a cocaine addiction, the NBA alum explains, is an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows.
“That’s the thing people don’t understand. Anybody who’s lived a complicated, drug-infused life like I’ve lived knows the cycle — with women, cheating on my wife, shit like that,” he says.
“Nights when I should have been asleep. Nights when I stayed up sniffing coke. Lot of those nights. When your heart is beating fast. When you should know better. When you’re just riding that roller coaster, man.”
“You think I wasn’t feeling shame? You think I was blind to what I was doing? Nah, I wasn’t blind to it. Shame… pain. It’s part of the whole cycle. My brain was broken.”
Lamar’s addiction just got worse and worse.
“As the years went on, and I got into my 30s, my career was winding down, and things just got out of control,” he says.
“My d—k and my habit took me down all the roads that you don’t ever wanna go down. A lot of great men are fools to that. Fools to that.
“There are probably a lot of young dudes out there who hear my story and think that it could never happen to them. That they’re untouchable.
“Man … Nobody is untouchable. Nobody in this life is immune to pain.”
He even describes a time in which Khloé walked in on him and a woman in a motel room.
“I’m a millionaire. I’d made it out of Jamaica, Queens, and won two NBA titles. And I’m in a motel, with some random person, doing coke.
“But I just wanted to get high with this girl, and I had no other place to go. I couldn’t take her home.
“You know, I was being a scumbag. Nothing else I got for that. No excuses. No bullshit. That’s just the truth.”
The 37-year-old says his kids are the only things that kept him going in his recovery.
He feels especially ashamed that Destiny, now 18, and Lamar Jr., now 16, saw him on a ventilator — just as he saw his mother on her deathbed with tubes coming out of her mouth.
“I’ve been a big strong dude my whole life,” he writes, “so anytime my kids see me in a weak point like that is definitely hard for me — even to talk about now.”
“I’m sober now,” Lamar declares.
“But it’s an everyday struggle. I have an addiction. I’ll always have an addiction. It never goes away. I mean, I want to get high right now. But I know that I can’t if I want to be here for my children …
“I shook hands with death. But you know what? Ain’t no coming back from that. Even though my funeral would probably be a good funeral, and there’d probably be a lot of people who hadn’t seen each other in a long time. But it ain’t time for that yet.”
Now, every morning, he looks at photos of his loved ones.
“I just look at their faces for a few minutes, and it’s like a reminder of what life is supposed to be about. I feel warm. I feel an energy. I feel love. That shit gets me through the day.”