WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Soccer legend Hope Solo opened up about her DWI arrest and subsequent time at an alcohol treatment facility on her podcast on Thursday.
On March 31, an officer with the Winston-Salem Police Department was flagged down by a person who pointed out a woman passed out behind the wheel of a car in the parking lot of the Walmart on Parkway Village Circle.
The officer found Solo passed out in the driver’s seat with the engine running and two small children asleep in the backseat of the car.
Once Solo was woken up and rolled down the car window, the officer noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle.
Another officer with the WSPD arrived and tried to investigate the circumstances. Once Solo was out of the vehicle, she refused to perform sobriety tests.
She was then placed under arrest and taken to the Magistrate’s Office. She refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.
An officer applied for and was granted a search warrant for a blood sample. The defendant had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.24. The test showed the defendant also had Delta-9 THC in her system at the time of the offense.
“About four-and-a-half months ago I made the biggest mistake of my life,” Solo began the podcast by stating. “I let alcohol get the better of me in a decision that I will never live down, a decision that has come at a great cost to me and my family.”
Solo pled guilty to DWI charges in the Forsyth County District Court on July 25 and was given a 24-month suspended sentence by Judge Victoria L. Roemer. Solo spent 30 days at an in-patient facility, Hope Valley Inc., as well.
“I recently pled guilty to DUI charges and unfortunately my children were involved,” Solo said about her sentencing. “The reality of what this meant was horrific. The embarrassment, the shame, the financial loss, the thought of explaining this to my children when they are old enough to search the internet.”
In the podcast Solo goes on to describe the difficulty she and her husband, ex-NFL player Jerramy Stevens, had with the birth of their children during the start of the pandemic on March 4, 2020. Their twin children would go on to spend 20 days in the NICU.
Solo also detailed that she spent over a year-and-a-half not leaving her home while she was quarantined and breastfeeding her children.
Solo goes on to describe in the podcast the process of her and her husband moving away from Washington after the end of her soccer career and to farmland in Wilkes County to raise their children.
Despite the joys of raising her children in a beautiful place, the realities of being across the country began to creep up on Solo.
“We had children and nobody to share them with,” Solo explained. “Our family and friends do not live in North Carolina and most of them live on the other side of the country. Suddenly because of the pandemic, we had no support system and now had two tiny babies.”
She goes on to describe the exhaustion she felt being a full-time mother and the comfort she began to take in alcohol.
“Winding down with a drink was nice and it’s what we looked forward to doing,” Solo says. “And the drinking slowly increased, we found that eased the stresses of our everyday lives and we felt that we had the right to do so. We never drank and drove, we never went in public and we woke up every morning to handle our business.”
Solo explained that she was foolish to think that she had things under control and that the isolation of being across the country began to wear on her despite her choosing to isolate herself.
Solo says that she did not return to her OB-GYN for post-natal care and she was ignorant of the symptoms of postpartum depression.
“My ability to compartmentalize and push forward through emotional pain in unchartered territory led me down a dangerous path,” Solo said. “I didn’t think I needed help and I certainly wasn’t going to ask for it. At the time, I didn’t know I was only doing a disservice to my family.”
She continues to describe the behaviors that led to the events of March 31.
“My sense of strength and pride became my two worst enemies and I found myself living the worst night of my life,” Solo explained. “I let alcohol get the better of me in this moment on this God-awful day and I will suffer the consequences for some time.”
Solo goes on to detail some of the consequences she has faced as a result of her decisions, including talking to her children about what happened, disappointing her husband, feelings of guilt and shame, loss of income and the loss of her driver’s license for a year.
Solo also recalled having a panic attack and fainting on the day she left her family to go into treatment.
While in treatment, Solo hand journaled over 70 pages about her complete history with drugs and alcohol and the feelings and memories associated with those events.
“I was a very dedicated, committed and self-disciplined athlete, I would not drink or smoke marijuana for years in preparations for events,” Solo explained. “Then when the event would be over and whether in celebration mode or in coping mode I would party.”
Solo also identified an issue she had with drinking more during times of high levels of stress and anxiety.
“Like being on a live dancing show in front of millions or huge speaking engagements,” Solo said. “My manager, my agent, my husband and friends all knew to bring wine or champagne to help me loosen up on stage.”
Solo describes how she and her husband struggled with full-time parenting and the strain it caused on their personal time with each other.
“We found that our only time together was having a drink once the babies went to bed and that’s when we started to go down a dangerous road both for our marriage and me personally,” Solo said.
Solo concluded the podcast with this final sentiment.
“Today, I am grateful for my 30 days away, to read, think, pray, meditate and learn, reading and meditation feeds my soul, so does seeing family and friends.” Solo explained. “I realize now my soul was slowly starved and it was all my fault for trying to be strong for my family and being prideful. In my strength I was weak, there is no shame if we struggle with alcohol and addiction.”