Scott Cochran spent several years with former Alabama head coach Nick Saban as the strength and conditioning coach, spending time with Coach Saban at both LSU and Alabama. He won six national championships with Coach Saban before transitioning to Georgia under Kirby Smart in 2020, where he won two more national championships as the Bulldogs special team's coach.

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Cochran is also a self-professed recovering "drug addict" and the president of the recently formed American Addiction Recovery Association (AARA) according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Cochran returned to Tuscaloosa on Friday for an interview with Ryan Fowler on The Game, and he discussed his new initiative to help recovery from addiction.

Coach Cochran has never backed down from a challenge at Alabama or Georgia. This is a different challenge. What was Cochran's motivation for starting his association?

"It's so ironic, yesterday I was on Paul Finebaum, the day before we launched at the capital in Atlanta, and today I'm on with you. Our website, our entire system, is about Eliminate the Whisper. We are, and now I'm on radio and TV talking about addiction. So, it's so ironic that that's our tagline, and here I am screaming at the top of my lungs that recovery is real. The American Addiction Recovery Association, we are a non-profit, we are trying to go to the Federal level, the State level, and the Local level to help change some policies. Our first order of business is to get Narcan everywhere there is an A.E.D. Our second order of business - no one knows recovery month is September. No one has a clue. Our color is purple. I want people playing sports to wear purple colors. I want the Crimson Tide to wear some purple socks or something, a purple mouthpiece. I want people at Georgia to wear something purple in the month of September. I am so passionate about eliminating the whisper and eliminating the stigma of addiction."

Coach Cochran has struggled in the past. When did he realize it was an issue?

"it hit me when we had won a big game and it wasn't just a hangover. I had run out of my migraine medicine, I had a couple beers after a big win, and sure enough, it was more than just a hangover. It was called withdrawal. At the time, I didn't know that. I was like, 'Why do I feel this way?' When I realized that, I was like 'Uh oh, I may have a problem." But I couldn't do anything about it, you know? I couldn't say, 'Hey, I have a problem with this,' because no one would understand. That was the fear and the shame, which is not true. I realize now, I'm showing a lot of strength talking about it. Most people aren't going to talk about it because they're afraid they're going to lose their job. They're afraid people are going to judge them. At the end of the day, what have I taught players since day one? Keep the main thing the main thing, and focus on what you need to do to be your best in this moment. I was struggling through it, trying to just stay well at certain points."

Who was it that helped Coach Cochran?

"My wife was there. That's who found me overdosed. She thought I had a stroke. I'm 40 years old laying on the ground, and she finds me. She had me covered front and back, but that wasn't enough. I had to get outside help. I had to go to Chris Herren's place in Massachusetts. I had to go to the commencement center here in Athens [Georgia]. It wasn't easy for me to raise my hand. It wasn't easy for me to say 'I need help.' As men, forget the men part, of it, as a human, you're trying to achieve, you've got these goals. I wanted to win 10 national championships. I wanted to develop 50 first-round draft picks. These are my goals that I had written on my mirror that I looked at every single day, you know? I didn't realize that while I chasing this, I needed help in my own personal stuff. And so just raising my hand and saying 'I need help,' and that's what people need to do if they're struggling."

"There is a cycle of stigma and shame in addiction. Look, I had two and a half years of sober time, and during those two and a half years, I was asking for help, asking for help, and all of a sudden, I have a setback, and I was ashamed. I thought that I was a failure. I couldn't look in the mirror because I was disgusted with myself that I couldn't stay in recovery, you know? I was furious and beat myself up. It's called the shame cycle. You get into this shame cycle where you start isolating. And all of a sudden, you put yourself in a position where it's worse and worse and worse until you finally have the courage to get honest. Once you get honest, let the miracle happen. God just steps in. He's been carrying me for so long, and now I have a connection with him. It's amazing what's been going on in my life."

Coach Cochran also talked about being afraid to mention to Kirby Smart that he was in a rehab program, and how God has helped him in his recovery.

"When I went in 2021, I was in a deep meditation prayer. I was afraid because I didn't want anyone to know. I was afraid to tell Coach Smart that I was in a rehab program. I was afraid that my job - who was going to take over special teams at Georgia? And [God] said, 'I got you. Have no fear. Give it all to me.'  I gave it to him. I said 'God take this from me.' And it's been an awesome walk. As soon as my ego gets in the way - You know I'm on your radio show now, my ego can get to me. My ego can say this is about me. You want to interview me because I'm so important. My ego can do that. What's ego? Ego is edging God out. Instead, I gotta realize God is using me as a vessel to whoever is listening in your audience who may need a little help. Who may be afraid to say 'I need help.' Maybe they'll step up and do that now. But it's not me, It's God using me as a vessel. And I'm never edging him out again."

What would Scott Cochran say to someone in the midst of a struggle?

"You're not alone. You are not alone at all. If you just look for an AA meeting, if you walk in that door, not only will people hug you, they will stand up and be grateful you walked in that door. If you need real help, there is help everywhere. You can find it online. You can DM me, I do not mind. I got three DMs yesterday and I connected with a recovery place. Again, not me, it's God coming g through me. I'm just that vessel."

" And that's our organization, and we're trying to create an army. We're trying to get people to donate to our cause, we're a non-profit. We're trying to get people to come see what we're about because we're trying to make a change at And then if you go on social media its @endthewhisperaara. If you look up any of those tags you'll find it. You know what's great is that Telegraph Creative out of Birmingham, that's the crew, they actually guided us through this whole process of our social media, of our brand, of our logo. Right out of Birmingham, they're called Telegraph Creative. They are incredible people."

Cochran visited with politicians as well. Are they as concerned about addictions as Eliminate The Whisper AARA?

"Yes, and it is the recovery world's fault. We are a national group. There aren't a lot of national groups out there that are advocating and going and sitting in front of politicians to help them, because they have these bills passed by their office and they see 'Okay, this is to put people in jail for fentanyl, and everybody in the building, if somebody overdoses on fentanyl, everybody goes to jail.' or you have these other ones that say 'Hey, fentanyl should be legalized.'. You have all these different perspectives, so when they get this bill in front of their face, they don't know, they don't have the army that we're trying to create to say 'Here's the policy. This is what AARA believes. This is how you should vote and this is how you should cast your vote here. We're gonna show up at a town hall meeting and show you that recovery is real.'. Because there are 29 million people in recovery in America and 46 million in active addiction. 46 million in active addiction. This is the No. 1 cause of death from ages 18 to 45. Look the numbers, they say 107,000 in 2023, it was 109,000 in 2022. These numbers are probably on the lower end, but these are specific overdoses. We're not talking about the people that are trying to get back in recovery that don't make it. We're talking about specific overdoses. I mean that's, let's put it in perspective, that's 200 people a day dying from overdose. I went to Philadelphia because it wasn't just about the politicians, I went to where xylazine, the zombie drug - is where it's all happening, in Philadelphia - so, we went to Kensington, Philly - it was scary stuff, and that's a new drug that's coming through. It's taken over fentanyl, and guess what, there's no quick fix, there's no Narcan that brings you back, and people are dying everyday. It's time to take a stand, and that's why I jumped all in with Jeff Breedlove and the AARA - it's so important for me. Look, I've coached for 25 years, we're talking about 18-year-olds to 45-year-olds, I've coached for 25 years and guess what, every single person I've coached they're in that area. So why wouldn't I stand tall and try to do something special for them?"

It's an uncomfortable topic, and the people in power don't even know how to address it.

"It was amazing. I was on Finebaum yesterday - and also Jeff Breedlove - we kind of asked CNN trying to make [the problem of addiction] as public as possible. 'Hey, ask the question. I wanna see what they're going to say. I wanna see what the presidents are going to say.', and they asked the question. I'm just grateful the question was asked. ... This affects everyone. Look, I've made plenty of money, I've won more championships than anybody, I've had more success than anybody, and I was living in active addiction. It doesn't matter if you're in the penthouse or the outhouse, addiction affects everyone. I was just so grateful that CNN asked the question because that was my biggest thing was like, 'Hey, if we could find a way to just ask the question.' and when that question came out, I mean the hair - I mean I don't have any hair on my head - the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I was like, 'LET'S GO!' I know they didn't answer it, they were talking about the border, I get it, but just the awareness."

You can listen to Scott Cochran's entire interview with Ryan Fowler here.

Ryan Fowler hosts The game on Tide 100.9 and 1230 WTBC every weekday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Take The Game with you on the free Tide 100.9 app.

Wyatt Fulton is the Brand Manager and DME for Tide 100.9, serving as an on-air host from 11:00 a.m. to noon CT every weekday and Sports Reporter covering Alabama Football and Alabama Men's Basketball. For more coverage, follow him at @FultonW_ on X, the social media app formerly known as Twitter. 

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