Raised in a poor household with a heroin-addict father, Lamar Odom grew up surrounded by tragedy. At an early age, he lost his beloved mother to colon cancer, and when he began making a name for himself as a basketball star, he fell into a deep hole of drug abuse.
At 18, he started a family with his first love, Liza, but soon realized he couldn’t maintain a stable, faithful relationship because of one dark habit he had not yet discovered: his addiction to sex.
“I have been obsessed with sex for as long as I can remember. I am a sex addict — I’ve had sex with more than two thousand women,” Odom, 39, writes in his new book, “Darkness to Light: A Memoir,” of which PEOPLE obtained an exclusive excerpt.
“There were too many strippers to count. It wasn’t a big deal, but often I would pay them. I never thought less of them,” he adds.
In 2005, he had his third child, a son, with Liza, but when he died, everything started to go downhill. Odom says their on-again-off-again relationship suffered for many reasons, his infidelity included.
For the former NBA star, partying led to sex and drugs, which led to infidelity, which nearly led to his death.
“My sex addiction and my cocaine addiction go hand in hand. The first time I tried cocaine was in 2004. The rush was like nothing I’d felt before. I was a drug addict plain and simple. The first time I overdosed, I came within minutes of dying,” he writes.
RadarOnline.com readers recall that in 2015, in the midst of his divorce from Khloe Kardashian, he overdosed on drugs at a Las Vegas brothel and had to be rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He was in a coma for two days, and barely made it out alive.
“I didn’t know if I would play again,” writes the athlete. “I didn’t even know if I would walk or talk again.”
Years prior to his overdose, when his relationship with Liza disintegrated, he fell deeply in love with the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star and asked her to marry him.
“I met Khloe Kardashian in 2009. Her eyes reminded me of my mother’s,” he writes. “For a while, being with her was bliss and I was the happiest I’ve ever been.”
They were rich, they were famous, and they were in love — but it didn’t last.
“At the start of our marriage I was faithful to her,” Odom writes. “But my cocaine use spiked in the summer of 2011.”
That year, he “rarely touched a basketball. I could not handle the lethal cocktail of the spotlight, addiction, a diminishing career and infidelity. Oh, did I mention the paranoia, anxiety, depression.”
Odom says he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he couldn’t control his addictions.
“I couldn’t keep my d**k in my pants or the coke out of my nose,” he writes.
Knowing his cocaine habit was spiraling out of control, he did everything he could to hide it, and what’s worse, his loving wife believed him.
“Drug addicts are incredibly skilled at hiding their habit. I’d get defensive and Khloe would just drop it. I was giving up on my NBA career — the only thing that ever gave me solace,” he writes, adding that he didn’t get called by the league, and as his former teammates trained, he destroyed his mind and body.
Recalling his overdose at Love Ranch, Odom says he doesn’t know how he survived, but he’s determined to never return to that terrifying place again.
“On Tuesday morning, I lay on the floor in my room at the Ranch, dying. My body was convulsing. The women who kept me company screamed and called 911,” he writes. “I was taken to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas. There was an unholy concoction of cocaine, cognac, and cannabis coursing through my veins. My heart stopped twice. I had twelve seizures and six strokes. My lungs collapsed and my kidneys ruptured. I was on life support.”
While he and Khloe, 34, had split and were finalizing their divorce, she stayed by his side.
“Everyone I’d ever loved was looking at me through bleary eyes. Khloe never left my side. She didn’t shower for days. Kim’s resiliency was incredible too. They put chairs together for her to sleep across at night,” Odom writes. “On October 16, I opened my eyes for the first time in 48 hours. From the darkness to the light.”
Odom admits he’s “still an addict,” but is working to improve his life.
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