Lucille O’Neal learned the hard way that partying ’round the clock is a sure road to ruin.
Interviewed on Healthtopia Radio, Shaquille O’Neal‘s mother recalls her days as a lush, which began in 1992, after her son—who’d go on to win four NBA championships—was drafted by the Orlando Magic.
“I’d been drinking for years. At first I started social drinking. I’d drink during the week and I’d be ready to go to work on Monday morning after being drunk for the weekend,” Lucille, whose new memoir is titled Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go: From Mental Welfare to Mental Wealth, tells host Bonnie Michelle.
“But when my son went into the league and we were having a little bit of extra money, we were able to buy all the best alcohol—E&J, vodka, gin and juice, Courvoisier. It was such a variety out there.
“I could have done something else. But when you’re able to do and you have excessive money, you buy excessive pleasure. And one of my pleasures was drinking alcohol.
“I just enjoyed it. We were partying! I was celebrating, but in the wrong kind of way, because I just began to overdo it.
“And when you get to that point, it doesn’t become pleasure anymore. It becomes addiction,” continues Lucille, who hails from an impoverished section of Newark, N.J.
“I started losin’ my memory, and I got tired of bein’ sick. I thought, I don’t see how people could do this, because your body can’t take it. So after years of social drinkin’ and then pourin’ it on more, my body just got tired.
“I was so concerned with how people would view me. We were being viewed by the rest of the world and I didn’t want to embarrass my children anymore, especially my oldest son [Shaq].
“When the world began to look at us as a family, I began to be embarassed and ashamed, and I started talkin’ to the Lord. When you get deep down to where you can’t go any deeper, that’s when you look up to the Lord.
“I’m so happy today. I don’t care about the car or the big house. I feel good.”
To hear Lucille O’Neal’s full interview, click here.