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Jeff Charleston: I Wasn't Myself That Night

Jeff Charleston opens up about why things got so out of hand after guys' night.

By Jeff Charleston
Jeff Charleston Runs Off into the Swamp What was going through your mind that moment in the car with Reagan?
Jeffrey Charleston: That night in the car with Reagan, I was in a really bad place emotionally. Everything that had happened with my family and my mom really took its toll on our relationship. Things just got heated. Obviously, we had both had way too much to drink and neither one of us had dinner. I went out for a guys’ night. I was blowing off steam and we were drinking, but there was no food or mixers at the party, and even though it’s not an excuse, I overindulged. And to top it off, we were fighting and arguing a lot at that point. I was really devastated by my family deceiving and betraying me, and I was a shell of myself. Reagan and I had many conversations at home about the source of my depression. We both worry about the physical impact years of football can take, but we both acknowledged that I had gone through a really traumatic experience. What happened to me happens to professional athletes all the time— but you never think it’s going to happen to you. You never want to believe the people you trust and love can hurt you. I was deeply depressed at that time. I’m not a big drinker, so for Reagan to see me drinking like that at the paint party, she was really worried. But Reagan is no shrinking violet and she will tell you, she can definitely be gentler with her approach.

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I worked really hard to take care of everyone and say and do the right thing, and my nest egg had been wiped out, and my whole family just cut all communication off with me. There was no one to even project my feelings on to because they cut me out of their lives. Blocked my number. I took care of my mom and dad as soon as I had the ability to. Whatever they needed, I provided. I felt betrayed and deeply hurt that they could turn their back on me, and what you see in the car is a result of a year of upset, stress, sadness, and anger stemming from that. If things were normal, we would have picked up some fast food or take out, and laughed about it all in bed. It could have been a little tiff, but there was so much beneath the surface. What was the breaking point or source of your anger?
Looking back, I wasn’t really mad about Reagan showing up. I wanted her there. I talked about her all night. I was mad that she and Tamica were acting like something shady was going on. I don’t even get why I cared so much to even fight about it. I wasn’t myself that night. It was misdirected anger. I redirected all of that sadness and hurt that I experienced as a result of what was going on with my mom and dad, and turned it on her. Reagan tried to tell me for years that she was worried something shady was going on with them, but I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to believe it. And I spent a lot of time being mad at her because she was right all along. Reagan would never intentionally get paint on me, she was just being a smart ass like she always is, and I love that about her. She’s always on me to take better care of my nice things, so it was stupid for me to react the way I did. We both could have handled the situation differently, but the bottom line is that we had too much to drink and we were under a lot of stress, and it was a recipe for disaster. why did you decide to leave the car and walk home?
Like I said, I wasn’t myself that night. I was depressed and had way too much to drink. I had suppressed all of these emotions, and they erupted that night. I didn’t just lose my nest egg, I lost my whole family. It was awful. And at that time, there was so much talk about brain trauma and contact sports. I had started to worry that the depression I was feeling wasn’t just related to what was going on with my family in Oregon. I was worried that it could be physical and not just emotional. I’ve always been big on taking preventative measures, but there is always that nagging concern. Reagan and I had just had a conversation at home about some article that said alcohol could advance the effects of brain trauma, and it had been weighing on me. So when she brought it up, I just blew up. All of those things I was feeling at that time: hurt, upset, worry... It all came out in the car that night and I just wanted to get away. No matter how long it took me, or how far I had to go. I just wanted to run away from all of those feelings and I didn't want anyone to help me. I wanted to do it alone. How did you feel the next day?
I was embarrassed. I was upset that I worried everyone and made Barry go out of his way. I felt bad about being mean to Reagan. We had been arguing with each other so much already, I was worried that this was really the last straw. I knew that I had to finally process my feelings and figure out what was going on with me. So even though I was mad at myself and mad at the situation, I knew I had to talk to someone. But even though I felt all of this, it was cathartic in a way. I finally let it all go and realized that I had to really get to the bottom of what I was feeling and going through.

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