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How One Pro Baseball Player Beat Addiction and Got His Health Back

In 1996, Alvie Shepherd was on top of the world. He was a 21-year-old pitcher with a cannon for an arm who was eight days away from making his Major League debut. But then disaster struck: he was hit in the back by a line drive which caused nerve damage. A botched surgery led to a worsening of the initial injury, and a few years later he was forced to hang up his cleats and retire from the game he loved.

Upon retiring, Alvie sunk into a deep depression. “From a very early age it was written on the wall that I was going to be an athlete,” he recalls. He remembers thinking, while in high school, “I’m going to be a pro athlete, I’m going to go to college and work my butt off and make this happen.” Now that his athletic career was over, he had no plans and not much to look forward to in the future. As a result, over the next few years, he went down a dark path.

He started drinking too much and eating too much to numb his emotional pain. It wasn’t long before he was dabbling in drugs and starting to entertain suicidal thoughts from time to time. Before he knew it he had ballooned to 307 pounds and had completely lost his sense of identity. Then in 2012, at the age of 38, Alvie suffered a brain aneurysm that nearly killed him. Instead of destroying him, however, this near-tragedy turned out to be exactly the wake-up call he needed.

“I was standing in my own way for 13 years and almost died from it,” he says, reminiscing. After being released from the hospital, Alvie vowed to leave his errant ways behind. He quit alcohol and drugs cold turkey and started working out every day. Within eight months, he had lost forty pounds, and had his energy and motivation back. After another forty days, he had lost 45 more pounds. He then married his girlfriend, Rachel, and they had two children together. Today, Alvie coaches high school baseball and helps others regain their inspiration and sense of purpose.

While Alvie's remarkable recovery can certainly be chalked up to his determination and discipline, his commitment to rest is equally essential. Luckily, his Molecule mattress is there to help him get the rest he needs to feel his best each day. As an increasingly large body of scientific research has made clear, the body incorporates the gains it has made during the day at night, and also prepares itself for the gains that will be made the next day. In short: sleep is just as important as waking.

Alvie's experience confirms this research: “Whenever you’re trying to gain muscle, rest is important. I go to bed and get my eight hours in and wake up energized and I’m ready to rock.” Sleeping on his Molecule mattress allows Alvie to wake up as the best version of himself. While Alvie admits that it can be a little difficult to get his proper rest with two young children running around the home, his Molecule mattress ensures that the shut-eye he does get is optimally restorative.