Tom Lewand Talks About Alcoholism and His Fight with Alcohol
Four years ago, Tom Lewand found himself sitting alone in a jail cell after being arrested for a DUI. Lewand, the president of the Detroit Lions, claims that it was both the best and worst night of his life, permanently changing his outlook on his place in the world.
In June, 2010, Tom Lewand was pulled over in Michigan after driving recklessly. Lewand had just left the golf course and was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Police reports later showed that the team’s president had a .21 blood alcohol content.
Speaking recently at a church in Orion, Michigan, Tom Lewand said, “I laid down on that hard, cold floor in that cell and had what was simultaneously one of the worst and one of the best nights of my life – One of the worst because I didn’t know when I left that cell if I would have a job, if I would have a wife, what my relationship would be with my family or what my future was going to be.”
Tom Lewand talks about alcoholism and his relationship with religion, telling churchgoers that he’d developed a relationship with God as a child, but eventually turned away from the church in his teenage years. His night in jail helped reshape his attitude towards Jesus and the role God plays in his life.
After pleading guilty to drunk driving, Lewand was fined $100,000 by the NFL and sentenced to 6 months probation by the courts. He didn’t lose his job, but was instead given a 30-day suspension from team related activities.
Although Tom Lewand talks about alcoholism openly to church goers today, his sobering confessions shed light on the team president’s previous battles. Starting drinking in high school and college as a way to relax after studying for exams, Lewand eventually found himself needing alcohol to escape from reality. Despite having three degrees from Michigan universities and a job that many admire, Lewand sought alcohol to close gaps in what he believed were personal shortcomings.
Sober for nearly 5 years now, Tom Lewand confessed that he still struggles with depression and stress. With teenage children, a high-pressure job, and a longstanding marriage, Lewand said that he still thinks about alcohol and his previous relationship to the drug. Instead of turning to drinking though, Lewand has found other ways to cope with his stress.
Dave Wilson, the pastor of the church Lewand recently spoke to, is the Lions’ team captain and the two are best friends.