Feb. 11, 2021

Donny Starkins’ Comeback Story - His Journey from Addiction to Helping Others Free Themselves from It

Donny Starkins’ Comeback Story - His Journey from Addiction to Helping Others Free Themselves from It

Donny Starkins reveals his journey from a star baseball player with the world and success ahead of him to a drug addict that couldn’t escape his pain until he hit rock bottom. Find out how Donny realized he needed help, and how his experience with...


Donny Starkins reveals his journey from a star baseball player with the world and success ahead of him to a drug addict that couldn’t escape his pain until he hit rock bottom. Find out how Donny realized he needed help, and how his experience with drug addiction and pain allows him to help other people free themselves from addiction and tell their own comeback story.

  • Donny’s childhood was easy and his parents always tried to make the best of a bad situation. Sports came easily to him and one of his early dreams was to play professional baseball.
  • He ended up playing at Arizona State, the same school as his father, where he suffered multiple injuries to his knee. His fifth surgery was experimental and resulted in unbearable pain, to the point where Donny realized that he would never play baseball again which sent him into a downward spiral of addiction to pain medication.
  • He avoided physically hurting anyone else over the course of his addiction other than himself. Even after overdosing in Mexico and having his brother-in-law pick him up in the middle of the night, Donny still didn’t believe that he had a problem.
  • His family wanted to help so Donny went into Alcoholics Anonymous solely to get his family off his back. It took a lot more pain and worry before Donny finally surrendered and accepted the fact that he had a problem. That was when he started to really hear the message that people were sharing during the meetings.
  • After three and half years sober Donny had a relapse because he stopped doing the work. Another knee injury led to Donny relapsing for 8 months. At the time, Donny felt ashamed for relapsing, but now he looks back on that as a major turning point in his life.
  • An early memory of pain for Donny was waking up from that surgery and losing his purpose. Baseball had been Donny’s life up to that point and he didn’t want to feel the emotional pain of that loss. The void was filled by taking pills.
  • Another painful memory is not being present with his grandfather before he passed away. It wasn’t until after his death was Donny able to make amends.
  • You need to show up for your family and friends, and when you do that it’s like living amends and it releases the shame and guilt of the past.
  • Donny’s first teacher was his father. His father kept Donny humble and showed him the benefits of thinking about the game of baseball differently. He taught him that you never know who’s watching and you always have to give 100%, which ultimately led to Donny landing scholarships.
  • Accepting the change from baseball star to drug addict was extremely difficult and prevented Donny from getting help and getting sober.
  • The feeling of neutrality and indifference to the substance he was addicted to was one of the biggest reliefs and spiritual experiences of his life. It was his unwillingness and ego that were holding him back from experiencing that.
  • The overdose was not the lowest point in Donny’s life. Donny’s lowest point is a memory of waking up and the very first thing he wanted was to take his pills. At that point, everything in Donny’s life revolved around getting pills. He isolated himself from everyone else in his life and his only friend was his dog.
  • Donny made a lot of bad decisions that hurt a number of people in his life. He felt buried by his guilt and shame, and it wasn’t until he released that shame did Donny get access to a higher purpose for his life.
  • Your mess is your message. Donny’s experiences and pain allow him to help other people through their own pain and tell their own comeback story.
  • Gratitude changes the way we see the world. Donny is grateful to be sober because without that every other good thing in his life goes away.
  • Yoga has also become an important aspect of Donny’s life. After a lifetime of thinking yoga was not for him, Donny took one class and realized that he was going to do yoga for the rest of his life. The greatest gift, beyond the physical benefits, has been the relationships and people that Donny has been able to meet because of his yoga practice.
  • If Donny could share something with his younger self it would be: Know your values, live your values, love yourself first, you’re here to serve so share your gifts with the world.
  • Donny never understood his values growing up, but by knowing his values now he knows exactly who he is.
  • Fill your own cup first. It’s selfish not to do what you need to do to feel full, because by avoiding self care you are not able to give more to others.
  • The only story that matters is the one we tell ourselves. Our thoughts create our reality and we can change that by changing the story we tell ourselves.