Everyone has their struggles in life, and for Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, those struggles involved an addiction to painkiller medications.
Together, Brett Favre and Eric Bolling host PodcastOne’s Bolling with Favre. And during the most recent episode, the former Green Bay Packers star opens up to Bolling and their special guest, Dr. Phil, about his dangerous relationship with painkillers and alcohol.
Favre said that his addiction to pain medications started after spraining his ankle back in 1994.
“I had taken pain pills before that, not necessarily [for] football injuries. But when I first realized I liked a pain pill was after that Philadelphia game in ’94,” Favre said. “The next time I got injured, [it] may have been three weeks later when I sprained my ankle, I don’t know if it was sprained enough to get pain pills. But I remembered the effect that it had had and I liked it. I thought, ‘What the heck? Why not?'”
That “what the heck” attitude led Favre to the point where he was taking two pills every day. And then that number went up and up until he was taking a month’s worth of pills every couple of days. Due to his intake of painkillers, Favre suffered two seizures in 1995 that forced him to come clean about what was going on.
“I’d never had a seizure before that. As they dug deeper, [the doctor] found out that I had an addiction to pain pills, but I didn’t tell him how much,” Favre explained. “I said, ‘OK, I’ll stop taking them,’ but I continued to take them.”
Brett Favre Enters Rehab
Those experiences led Brett Favre to enter rehabilitation, which he did for 75 days. But even that wasn’t enough for the star quarterback to get clean. He continued to abuse painkillers until after the 1997 season where he led the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl victory. During the podcast, Favre admits that at that point, he was at the lowest of his entire life.
“I was low, and I said, ‘It’s one of two things, I die, or I flush these pills down the toilet,'” he recalled. “I contemplated it — I sat by the toilet for two hours. Eventually, I dumped the pills in the toilet, flushed them. And I could almost want to kill myself because of doing that. I could not believe that I had actually done that. I was so mad at myself, because now what was I going to do?”
Although he doesn’t recommend anyone quitting cold-turkey, Favre got through the withdrawal. And eventually, he made it to the point where the urge to medicate wasn’t as strong.
“It took me probably a couple of months to where I started getting over the, ‘I want these pain pills really bad.’ That urge,” Favre added. “The desire was there, but slowly but surely, by the grace of God, I got beyond [it].”
Brett Favre was a man known for his toughness and durability. So to see him be vulnerable and open up about such a personal issue can hopefully inspire others to do the same. And maybe it can help current athletes who are battling similar experiences.