Lamar Odom pens powerful essay on cocaine addiction, infidelity and heartbreaking death of 6-month-old son


Lamar Odom is getting extremely candid about his struggle with drug abuse in an emotional new essay for The Players' Tribune.

The 37-year-old former NBA star opens up in his own words about his near-death experience in October 2015, when he was placed in a medically induced coma after he was found unresponsive at the Love Ranch brothel in Crystal, Nevada. Odom explains the struggles in his life that contributed to his cocaine addiction and the shocking way he hit rock bottom.

"My ex-wife was there in the room with me," he says about waking up from a coma. "After all the sh** I had done, I was surprised to see her. Honestly, that's when I knew that I was probably in bad shape."

WATCH: Khloe Kardashian Says She 'Fake Tried' to Get Pregnant With Lamar Odom -- 'I Just Kept Pretending I Was Doing It'

Odom says that during the time leading up to his medical emergency, he was doing cocaine daily.

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Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian
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Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian
ORANGE, CA - JUNE 07: Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian make a personal appearance for 'Unbreakable Bond' at Perfumania on June 7, 2012 in Orange, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom are seen at Los Angeles International Airport on July 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
ORANGE, CA - JUNE 07: Professional basketball player Lamar Odom and TV personality Khloe Kardashian make an appearance to promote their fragrance, 'Unbreakable Bond,' at Perfumania on June 7, 2012 in Orange, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - MAY 19: (L-R) TV personalities Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom and Kris Jenner attend the Cody Simpson album preview party hosted by Hallmark at Casa Del Mar on May 19, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
CENTURY CITY, CA - MAY 18: Basketball player Lamar Odom and TV personality Khloe Kardashian attend Voli Light Vodka Supports The 19th Annual Race To Erase MS 'Glam Rock To Erase MS' at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on May 18, 2012 in Century City, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Lamar Odom, Khloe Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian are seen on April 23, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ignat/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian Odom dine at Sugar Factory American Brasserie at Paris Las Vegas on June 17, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian attend Kanye West Yeezy Season 3 at Madison Square Garden on February 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom attend Kanye West Yeezy Season 3 at Madison Square Garden on February 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3)
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"Pretty much every second of free time that I had, I was doing coke," he writes. "I couldn't control it. I didn't want to control it."

"Rick James said it best. 'Cocaine is a hell of a drug,'" he continues. "It's a hell of a drug. It will make you do things you never thought you'd do. It will turn you into a different person. It will put you in situations where you say to yourself, 'How the f**k did I get here?'"

Odom dealt with trauma early in his life, losing his mother, Cathy, to colon cancer when he was 12 years old. The athlete calls his mom the "center of the universe" and says his dad wasn't in his life growing up because of his own problems with addiction.

"The day that she passed away, I remember going to see her, and I remember how the cancer had just ravaged her body," he recalls. "Like if I could go back to that time, and you could put me in that room, I probably wouldn't even recognize who she was. Her face was so small and she was bleeding out of her mouth. And she kept saying [his nickname] 'Mookah, Mookah....'"

"I just sat right next to her bed, and one of the last things she said to me ... I still think about it every day," he continues. "She said, 'Be nice to everybody, Mook.' I don't think anything can prepare you for losing your mother at 12 years old. It leaves a mark on you. I don't care how strong you think you are."

Odom was then raised by his grandmother and says he tried cocaine for the first time around the time that she died -- when he was 24 years old and on vacation in Miami.

38 PHOTOS
Lamar Odom through the years
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Lamar Odom through the years
CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 1: A close up shot of Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Quicken Loans Arena on March 1, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
5 Dec 1998: Lamar Odom #5 of the Rhode Island Rams dribbles during a game against the California Golden Bears at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California. Cal defeated Rhode Island 71-64.
8 Mar 2000: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Clippers looks up as he waits on the court during a game against the Toronto Raptors at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Raptors defeated the Clippers 95-94. Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge /Allsport
5 Jan 2001: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Clippers lays in pains by the Hormets bench during the game against the Charlette Hornets at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. The Hornets defeated the Clippers 86-73. NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the only rights Allsport are offering to license in this Photograph are one-time, non-exclusive editorial rights. No advertising or commercial uses of any kind may be made of Allsport photos. User acknowledges that it is aware that Allsport is an editorial sports agency and that NO RELEASES OF ANY TYPE ARE OBTAINED from the subjects contained in the photographs.Mandatory Credit: Donald Miralle /Allsport
LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 28: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Clippers drives past Antawm Jamison #33 of the Golden State Warriors during the game at Staples Center on December 28, 2002 in Los Angeles, California. The Warriors won 99-92. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
5 Nov 2000: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Clippers looks on during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 108-103. NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the only rights Allsport are offering to license in this Photograph are one-time, non-exclusive editorial rights. No advertising or commercial uses of any kind may be made of Allsport photos. User acknowledges that it is aware that Allsport is an editorial sports agency and that NO RELEASES OF ANY TYPE ARE OBTAINED from the subjects contained in the photographs.Mandatory Credit: Jeff Gross /Allsport
MIAMI - MAY 18: Lamar Odom #7 of the Miami Heat congratulates Ron Artest #23 of the Indiana Pacers with a hug following game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2004 NBA Playoffs May 18, 2004 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Pacers won 73-70 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
MIAMI - MAY 4: Lamar Odom #7 of the Miami Heat towels off with a smile on his face after beating the New Orleans Hornets during Game seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2004 NBA Playoffs May 4, 2004 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Heat beat the Hornets 85-77 and advance to the Semifinals against the Indiana Pacers. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
ATHENS - AUGUST 15: Lamar Odom #14 (L) and Stephon Marbury #5 of the United States watch from the bench in the final moments of their loss to Puerto Rico in the men's basketball preliminary game on August 15, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Indoor Arena of the Helliniko Olympic Complex in Athens, Greece. Puerto Rico defeated USA 92-73. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 25: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers claps on the court in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat on December 25, 2004 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Heat defeated the Lakers in overtime 104-102. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 13: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against Anderson Varejao #17 of the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 13, 2005 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball up court against the New York Knicks during their game on February 28, 2005 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 18: Lamar Odom #7 and Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate during the game with the Los Angeles Clippers on November 18, 2005 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 31: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against the Phoenix Suns on October 31, 2006 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 3: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on from the bench in the final minutes against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center April 3, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers attends The HBO Emmy after party at the Pacific Design Center on September 16, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 30: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers chest bumps Lamar Odom #7 during the game against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on March 30, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. The Rockets won 107-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 26: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives the ball upcourt during the game against the Charlotte Bobcats on March 26, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Bobcats won 108-95. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Lamar Odom #7 (L) and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers have a playful moment on the bench after Odom fouled out of the game with the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center November 18, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 116-109. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA - OCTOBER 14: NBA player Lamar Odom poses in the front row at the Lana Fuchs Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 14, 2008 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for IMG)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 12: Lamar Odom #7 (R) and Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers take a breather after a stoppage in play late in the game against the Sacramento Kings on December 12, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 112-103. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Professional basketball player Lamar Odom attends Russell Simmons' 'Salute to Grammy Award Nominees' celebration at a private mansion on February 8, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
DENVER - MAY 23: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on while taking on the Denver Nuggets in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 23, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers answers questions during the post game news conference after defeating the Orlando Magic 101-96 in Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: NBA player Lamar Odom and TV personality Khloe Kardashian arrive to NSF & GQ Magazine's Stop Puppy Mills Humane Society benefit at a private estate on September 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)
EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Lamar Odom #7 (C) of the Los Angeles Lakers is surrounded by a crush of reporters during Lakers media day at the Lakers training facility on September 29, 2009 in El Segundo, California. Odom married Khloe Kardashian over the weekend. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 21: Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers and wife Khole Kardashian arrive at the Lamar Odom Launches Rich Soil At Kitson LA event on October 21, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks at the Wheaties box during the post game news conference after the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic 99-86 to win the NBA Championship in Game Five of the 2009 NBA Finals on June 14, 2009 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX - MAY 23: Lamar Odom #7 of the Phoenix Suns during Game Three of the Western Conference finals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers at US Airways Center on May 23, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Lakers 118-109. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - JULY 21: In this handout photo provided by Las Vegas News Bureau, Lamar Odom of Team USA stretches before a Men�s National Team workout at the Cox Pavilion July 21, 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Brian Jones/Las Vegas News Bureau via Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 22: Lamar Odom of the USA concentrates on a free throw during a friendly basketball game between Spain and the USA at La Caja Magica on August 22, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 02: Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian attends the Casio 'Shock the World' event at The Manhattan Center on August 2, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - SEPTEMBER 21: Television personality Khloe Kardashian (L) and Los Angeles Laker Lamar Odom attend the 'AXE Music One Night Only' concert series featuring Weezer at Dunes Inn Motel - Sunset on September 21, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images For AXE)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 20: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts as his team is called for a foul during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center on March 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 11: US Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner (L) and NBA player Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Clippers arrive at the 2012 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 24: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 24, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Clippers 93-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 1: Tyler Hansbrough #50 of the Indiana Pacers battles for rebound position against Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on April 1, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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"When I did coke, I felt good for a minute," he writes. "I stopped having so much anxiety. I didn't think about the pain. I didn't think about death. So I kept doing it more and more, but I was still in control. It wasn't like an everyday thing."

Though his life spun out of control when his son, Jayden, died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2006 at just six months old.

"Man, my son was vivacious," Odom shares. "Real lively. Whenever I used to walk into a room, he would just like ... look at me, and stare. Of course, he couldn't talk, but he just used to stare. He used to use his eyes a lot -- let me know that he kinda understood. Like, 'Yeah, that's my dad. What's up, Dad?'"

"I just seen him," he recalls. "Gone? How the f**k is that even possible? How can he be gone?"

Odom is still grieving from the loss.

"I used to think about what he would look like if he was still here. Actually, I still think about it almost every day," he admits. "No explanation. No answers. Just ... gone. Like that. And you're supposed to just accept it. You're supposed to live with that."

Odom says his drug habit escalated from there and that things got "dark as hell" in his early 30s, as his basketball career also started to wind down. Though he doesn't name names, he says his rock bottom was when his wife at the time walked in on him in a motel doing cocaine with another girl.

"I'm a millionaire," he notes. "I'd made it out of Jamaica, Queens, and won two NBA titles. And I'm in a motel, with some random person, doing coke. But I just wanted to get high with this girl, and I had no other place to go. I couldn't take her home. You know, I was being a scumbag. Nothing else I got for that. No excuses. No bulls**t. That's just the truth."

He fully acknowledges being unfaithful and his damaging actions at the time.

"That's the thing people don't understand," he writes. "Anybody who's lived a complicated, drug-infused life like I've lived knows the cycle -- with women, cheating on my wife, sh** like that. Nights when I should have been asleep. Nights when I stayed up sniffing coke. Lot of those nights. When your heart is beating fast. When you should know better. When you're just riding that roller coaster, man."

"My di*k and my habit took me down all the roads that you don't ever wanna go down," he says bluntly. "A lot of great men are fools to that. Fools to that. ... You think I wasn't feeling shame? You think I was blind to what I was doing? Nah, I wasn't blind to it. Shame ... pain. It's part of the whole cycle. My brain was broken."

Odom credits rehab and therapy with getting him to a much better place these days. He's also close with his children, 16-year-old Lamar Jr. and 18-year-old Destiny.

"I'm sober now. But it's an everyday struggle," he acknowledges. "I have an addiction. I'll always have an addiction. It never goes away. I mean, I want to get high right now. But I know that I can't if I want to be here for my children."

"Every morning when I wake up, I look at the same pictures," he continues. "Pictures of people who are gone. My mother. My grandmother. My son Jayden. My best friend Jamie. People who are still here. My two beautiful kids. I just look at their faces for a few minutes, and it's like a reminder of what life is supposed to be about. I feel warm. I feel an energy. I feel love. That sh** gets me through the day."

WATCH: Lamar Odom Admits to 'Multiple Affairs' While Married to Khloe Kardashian -- Women 'Came Out of the Woodwork'

ET's Lauren Zima spoke with Odom at the Igo.live social media launch party at the Beverly Wilshire hotel on Wednesday night, where he said he was currently "in a great place right now."

"I'm doing great," he said of his sobriety. "One day at a time."

Odom also briefly talked about his relationship these days with ex-wife Khloe Kardashian and her famous family.

"I mean, it's distant, but they're always on my mind and my heart," he noted.

Odom posed with Blac Chyna at the event, and earlier this month, he talked to ET about Chyna's legal drama with his former brother-in-law, Rob Kardashian, when we caught up with him at the Kids' Choice Sports Awards in Los Angeles.

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