Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson says he has learned from his mistakes.
The 26-year old player was arrested charged in a domestic assault incident back on June 16th, 2018 after a witness flagged down a police officer to a gas station in Franklin, Tennessee where Watson was allegedly involved in an altercation with his girlfriend. Watson told police he and his girlfriend were arguing and that he pushed her. Officers said they found red marks on her chest, and she said Watson caused them. Watson pleaded no contest to domestic assault on July 24th.
On Friday, Watson revealed that the arrest last year that led to his 18-game suspension came when he fell off the wagon and started drinking again after 23 months of sobriety.
Watson said Friday in an Instagram post that he’s been dealing with anxiety, depression and alcoholism since the age of 18. Watson said he entered the NHL’s substance abuse program after his June 16 arrest and added that "I am currently sober and committed to living a healthy lifestyle so that I can be the father, partner, teammate and person I want to be."
Two days ahead of his 27th birthday, Watson made a moving statement on his Instagram account, speaking about his alcohol issues and mental illness.
"As my 26th year comes to an end in a couple days, I’ve found myself reflecting lately. In doing so, I’ve felt a deep urge to be a bit more open. After lots of prayer and contemplation, I’ve found that there’s one thing I need to share that’s been a part of my life and anyone else’s life that’s been close with me for quite some time. With Jennifer’s permission to use the word “we” in certain places, the picture above is a note that’s been sitting in my phone for what seems like ages. It’s a condensed version of some words I’d had gone back and forth with releasing as a statement as I returned to the ice. While I won’t go into any more of my family’s and my personal life, because it still isn’t the right time for us and to not create another individual distraction in the midst of our team’s season, I found it only fair to share briefly of my story. Mental Illness runs rampant in the world today. In my experience it can often feel lonely, consuming, and at times unbearable. Please know that you are not alone. There are so many of us who seem to have the picture perfect life, no problems in the world. Yet I deal and I battle just as much as and no more than the next person. I’ve been blessed with many obstacles, traumas and hard times to overcome. Doing the next right thing doesn’t always seem easy, but it’s worth it. Perspective is everything to me, and when I look at the beautiful and downright amazing things in my life that I feel unworthy of, I realize how fortunate I am to be me. If you’re feeling alone today, you’re not. If you feel like no ones cares, I do. If there doesn’t seem to be any chance of it getting better, believe me it will. I hope I’ve helped someone today the way others who’ve shared have helped me.
P.S. to the esteemed members of the local and national media, I still won’t touch on either matter past what I’ve said above at this time. Thank you for your courtesy, respect and understanding.
On a lighter note I’ve also accompanied this post with Jennifer and I’s beautiful Adidas model. She puts a smile on my face every time."
His girlfriend, Jenn Guardino, issued a statement in October taking blame for the incident and saying Watson would never hit or abuse her.
This season, since his return following the suspension, Watson has tallied six goals and eight points in 28 games.