NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia is opening up about his battle with alcoholism.

As CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported, Sabathia penned a new tell-all book with the hope of ending the stigma surrounding the disease.

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He came to New York with great fanfare in 2009 and immediately became a World Series champion, but CC Sabathia was hiding a secret.

“I was alcohol dependent from the first time I had a drink when I was 14 years old,” Sabathia said.

The retired pitcher, who is six years sober, joined our colleagues on the set of “CBS This Morning” to promote his new memoir, “Till the End.”

His book sets a revealing tone with the first line, “I was a weird alcoholic.”

“I would pitch and then, the next three days I would drink. Right after I came out of the game, I would need a drink, and I would drink the next three days. I would take two days off, pitch and then do it all over again,” said Sabathia.

The brutal cycle, which he normalized, eventually led to rock bottom and a self-imposed stay in rehab.

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The timing of the decision showed how bad things had become for the normally reliable left-hander.

“It was right before the playoffs. I didn’t want to wait until I hurt somebody, or I had a DUI or I was court ordered to go to rehab. I wanted to get in front of this and make sure that I was making the right decision for my life because I’d always put baseball in front of everything,” he said.

As we emerge from a pandemic in which so many people used alcohol as a coping mechanism, Sabathia is hoping his book and his decision to get help will inspire others, especially African American men.

“It’s one of those things in our community where we don’t speak up or talk about alcohol dependency or even mental health,” Sabathia said. “Like I said, I knew I had this problem when I was 14 years old, but I’m trying to fight it alone… I probably should’ve reached out in my twenties and I could’ve got it under control.”

At the age of 40, Sabathia said he’s in the best shape of his life – physically and mentally.

In the book, Sabathia gives credit to his wife of 20 years, Amber Sabathia. He jokingly said she still cleans up his messes.

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“Till the End” is available Tuesday.

Steve Overmyer