Many people don’t remember Terrence Engles, he wasn’t a high draft pick for any major league team. He never won any team or personal awards, but he is someone that had great potential and let his dreams get shadowed by his intense battle with addiction. Terrence was an exceptional athlete coming out of high school, he was drafted in the 20th round but didn’t take the draft pick and decided to further his education and craft his game at Seminole Community College. During his college days, Engles struggled with his academics, only taking basic classes and still being sub-par but flourished as a pitcher even though he surrounded by bad influences.“To be honest,” says Engles. “I wasn’t around a bunch of angels. We all liked to go out on the weekends. The place I lived in Orlando was very accessible to get drugs.”
After his days in college he eventually got his chance at his dream and was signed to the Montreal Expos as an un-drafted free-agent in 2004. “I felt like it was a major accomplishment,” says Engles. “I was really excited for what I had in store for me. It was a grind, when I started playing professional baseball I didn’t make too much money. You are on the road constantly and you’re not getting paid all season. So I’m working a job in the winter, so it was really a grind. It was also a blessing though because it was something I worked for. I liked the grind. You make a great group of friends, the guys you play with, and you have great experiences.”
Throughout all these steps to success Engles had a secrete he was hiding and trying to control, he was addicted to prescription pills. “I started smoking pot and using drugs in high school,” says Engles. “It was only something I did on the weekends and maybe once in awhile on the weekdays. It was never something that caught on.” Engles tells past stories about drinking and parting with teammates and how he was the one that always went a little overboard. Even though he hadn’t hit rock bottom yet it was apparent that he may have a problem. Then things turn for the worst for Engles, he injured his back. “When it really started to kick in was when I started having issues with my back,” says Engles. “I got multiple epidural shots, and I worked with the trainers, but progressively it just got worse and worse. Eventually, it got to the point where I couldn’t play anymore. So, I had these MRI’s that showed how bad my back was. That MRI was my ticket to get me prescription pills.”
Engles says that he was born with the disease of having an addictive personality and the pills just fed that disease. Once he was addicted to the pills his professional baseball career went down the drain quickly. He tried to play for an independent team in South Dakota but wasn’t able to produce, because he was always sick when he was without his pills. “It’s hard to play baseball when you are sick,” says Engles. “Eventually, I just couldn’t play anymore. Baseball was my life, and it was my identity. I played professional baseball for seven years, so that was my education and that was what I knew. When you take that away from me, I don’t have an identity anymore. It took me to a dark place, and I didn’t know what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I felt lost, and I turned to the pain pills and other substances as well.”
Not only did Engles baseball relationships start to suffer from his drug use but also his personal and family relationships.“My father kicked me out, my mother kicked me out, my girlfriend at the time, and my sister kicked me out,” says Engles, over the phone. “I didn’t like the person that I had become. I didn’t know why I was like that and what was causing that. I wasn’t aware that I couldn’t control it.”
Now off the pills Engles has continued to chase his dream in the major leagues. He is currently a pitcher for the Seattle Mariners and continues hes sobriety.