After winning a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Kurt Angle enjoyed a long and successful pro wrestling career that saw him take part in matches in the WWE, TNA, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and more. But according to him, it was anything but easy. Angle appeared on The Dan Le Batard Show on Friday and revealed that he battled addiction for the better part of two decades while wrestling. And at one time, he claims he was taking as many as 65 extra-strength Vicodin to function.
"I was on a lot," he said on the radio show. "There was no way I couldn’t get out of it. The only thing I could do was eventually go to rehab and try to fix my life again. But I actually beat it on my own. I stayed in my house for about 10 days and didn’t leave, and I was able to get through the withdrawal."
Angle’s battle with drug addiction actually started in 1996 during his preparations for the Olympics after he fractured two vertebrae and was forced to use Novocaine injections in his back to compete. He also underwent neck surgery in 2003 and sustained back and neck injuries in 2004 while with the WWE. And while he was able to get a grip on his addiction on his own at first, he told Dan Le Batard that, after leaving the WWE for TNA in 2006, he started using prescription pills heavily again and mixed them with alcohol regularly. That led to Angle being arrested for DUI four times over five years—and it also forced him to enter rehab in 2013. He stayed at the St. Joseph Institute in Pennsylvania for 30 days and kicked his habit again.
"I finally got the right help," he said. "I tried to do it myself, but when you’re that deep into that stuff, you can’t do it on your own. You need somebody else’s help, and I finally reached out and I did what I had to do to get it done. It was the worst seven days of my life as well. I went through detox again. That time it stuck. You can’t do anything. You can’t think, you’re in constant pain, your body’s shaking, you don’t want to eat, you don’t want to do anything, you feel like you’re going to die. It’s the worst pain you’ve ever had in your life. And I went through it twice."
Angle told Le Batard that he’s been sober ever since and that he’s shied away from wrestling as much as he once did in order to resist the temptation that comes along with the lifestyle.
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