Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre has admitted to having suicidal thoughts while in the grips of an addiction to painkillers. He should have been celebrating his third straight MVP, and a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers, but instead found himself at an all-time low.
The turning point came one night when he found himself sitting by a toilet, desperately trying to convince himself to flush the pills away. Favre opened up about that pivotal moment on an episode of his podcast, "Bolling with Favre," which aired Tuesday.
"I was as low as I possibly could be," the 51-year-old said. "I said it’s one of two things — I die, or I flush these pills down the toilet. I sat by the toilet for two hours. Eventually, I dumped the pills in the toilet, flushed them and I almost wanted to kill myself because of doing that."
Favre recalled immediately feeling angry for doing it.
"I could not believe that I’ve actually done that, and I was so mad at myself because now what was I gonna do?" he said.
Favre's dependency on painkillers began in 1994 while dealing with injuries. At one point, he was taking a month's prescription in two days. He would also take 15 Vicodin ES at a time. Two years later, he entered a drug treatment facility for 75 days, but "fell right back into the cycle" upon his release. He finally managed to get clean in 1997, on the day he flushed the painkillers down the toilet, and has remained sober ever since.
Favre has been open about his addiction, and road to recovery, in the past. He played for several years in the league after giving up pain medication, which came with its share of obstacles. When injured, he had to learn to just deal with the pain. In an interview with CBS in August, Favre admitted it was hard, but he was able to do it.
"The closest thing I took to a pain medication was Motrin and I just — sucked it up," he said. "I knew I couldn't take them. Believe me it wasn't easy to get off of and that's why I spent three different stints in rehab. It was hard, it was very hard, but when I finally got several months behind me without pain meds, it slowly and surely got better. There would be times where I was tempted, but I just never did and now I'm well over it — the need or want to take something."
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