"I believe you can live your dream," he said. "But one or two bad decisions, your dream can become a nightmare."
Rice quit drinking soon after he made headlines, and he entered into faith-based counseling. The goal, he said, was to rid himself of "his old self." He recalled his clinical counselor, Dr. Paul R. Ball Jr., the founder and director of Christian Counseling Services of Clarksville, telling him: "We've got to get rid of Ray Rice, and we have to get Raymell Rice back," referring to Rice's birth name. "Ray Rice is the football player. That's who you were. We have to create a new identity for you."
For the first time, Rice said, he could read the Bible and grasp its lessons. Buoyed by his renewed faith, he said he no longer felt "alone" or embarrassed by his vulnerability.
"I didn't know what help looked like," he said. "I didn't even know what help felt like."
Now working as a motivational speaker across the country and volunteer assistant coach on his alma mater's football team, Rice is more focused on fatherhood. He and Janay have two young children, and he said he's preparing for the day when his 5-year-old daughter, Rayven, asks him about his public transgressions.
"I want to be open and transparent with my daughter. ... I want to be able to at least have the respectful conversation, so she understands what it's supposed to look like," Rice said. "That's something I think about all the time."
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