Green Bay Packers legend Brett Favre‘s battle with addiction is well-documented. In the mid-1990s, at the height of his Hall of Fame NFL career, the quarterback suffered with a crippling addiction to painkillers.
Favre is the most infamous Ironman in NFL history. From 1992, when he took over as the Packers starter, until his final year in the league in 2010, Favre made 297 consecutive regular season starts. Throw in 24 playoff games, and the number goes up to 321. That is 32 more than former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall for the NFL record. Philip Rivers, who just retired this offseason, finished at 252 consecutive starts, second among quarterbacks in league history.
Favre won three straight NFL MVP awards from 1995-97, leading the Packers to a win in Super Bowl XXXI in the middle of that stretch. In a recent episode of his “Bolling with Favre” podcast, featuring guest Dr. Phil, Favre opened up a bit about his addiction battle.
Favre said that he first took to painkillers after suffering an injury during a game in 1994. Later that year, he found himself taking two every day, admitting he learned to “manipulate the system” to get the drugs.
At some point, Favre said he was up to taking a month’s prescription worth of pills in just two days. The night before a game in 1995, Favre suffered a seizure, and was told that his lack of sleep had “short-circuited his system.” At the end of that season, after an ankle surgery, he had a second seizure.
“So then, I had a come to Jesus, really,” Favre said. “I had to tell everyone what was going on.” He went to rehab for 75 days, but eventually fell back into painkiller use.
Finally, after winning the Super Bowl at the end of the 1996-97 season, he hit rock bottom.
“At the end of the season, I had eight pills in my possession. Eight pills would not do what I needed it to do. I would get zero buzz,” Brett Favre said. “I was home in Mississippi, I was as low as I could possibly be, even though I won the Super Bowl, won three MVPs in a row. This whole time, I hadn’t slept a bit, maybe one hour a night. I was low, and I said ‘It’s one of two things. Either I die, or I flush these pills down the toilet.’ I sat by the toilet for two hours, and eventually I dumped the pills in the toilet, flushed them, and I almost wanted to kill myself because of doing that.”
Favre said that after two weeks of withdrawal symptoms every night, he was clean, though he maintained an urge for a few months after that, though didn’t act on it.
He would eventually go back to rehab for his alcoholism, which he told Dr. Phil that he was in denial of for years, as well. It is pretty incredible that, through everything, he was able to play at such a high level until his final season with the Minnesota Vikings at 41 years old. A year earlier, he was one bad interception short of taking that team to the Super Bowl.
The post Brett Favre Opens Up About His Scary Battle With Addiction appeared first on The Spun.