Willie Mays Aikens, former Kansas City Royals star and recovering cocaine addict, has lost his hair, along with a couple of teeth and about 80 pounds since his last arrest. The Kansas CityStar says his drug addiction and two arrests made him infamous, and 14 years in prison made him forgotten by many. He was released from a Kansas City halfway house two weeks ago. He is repairing manhole covers now, the job something of a favor from the friend of a former teammate who owns a local construction company.
The guidelines that led to an original 20-year sentence have since been called unfair and racist by some and repealed by the government. Aikens, 53, felt set up in the beginning, and many agreed. Now he sees his arrest as the moment that saved his life. Addicts can go clean and sober for 20 years but they never really stop craving the drug, the high, the escape. Aikens knows this. Most studies find cocaine with the highest relapse rate of any common recreational drug. Aikens caved to his addiction once. He's proud that he's been clean since he went to prison, but the cravings are still there, just like they are for any addict.