BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Barry Lyons made his mark in the sports world playing for the New York Mets. But what many people do not know about the ex major leaguer is he struggled with alcohol addiction.
"I began drinking on a daily basis while I was playing baseball," Lyons said. "Obviously, I was still getting my rest and preparing to play baseball. At times it affected my performance the next day, and other times it didn't."
Being in the spotlight, Lyons said, everything is available to you.
"The party scene is huge in Hollywood, huge in the music industry, huge in sports. Unfortunately, that is the case," Lyons said.
He spent five years in the major leagues, but eventually moved back home to Biloxi. He said it was after Hurricane Katrina when his drinking spiraled out of control.
"I wasn't the person I always was or created to be," Lyons said. "I was someone different. That was all due to alcohol."
Lyons said he eventually surrendered to his problem, admitting himself to a 90 day recovery program at Home of Grace.
"That opportunity afforded me to renew my relationship with Jesus Christ to turn my life around," Lyons said.
He has been sober for almost two years now.
Lyons knows Todd Harrell from 3 Doors Down and said he is praying for him and the victim's family. Lyons said Harrell's DUI conviction and vehicular homicide arrest reminds him, he could easily have been Harrell.
"By God's grace, I didn't injure anyone or kill anyone or injure myself or kill myself. Certainly, I was a prime candidate for that as many times as I took that risk," Lyons said.
Lyons hopes by opening up about his struggle, it will help others find their way out of addiction.
"Ask for the help when you know you need it. Do not deny the help," Lyons said.