WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle was recently a guest on Knockin Doors Down on which he opened up about his sobriety and how he got addicted to painkillers during his original run in WWE.
“When I first got out of rehab, it was a struggle. I was so scared of messing up again that I literally did not mess up. It was really hard. But every year it got a little bit easier. The longer you’re into recovery, the easier it gets. It’s never easy completely, but it gets easier as time goes on.”
“I got introduced to painkillers the second time I broke my neck, which was the first time in WWE – that was in 2003. I was introduced to pain killers by a doctor, and I loved it. The second I took them, I was hooked. I would take one every four to six hours, and after a few weeks, that didn’t work. So, I doubled it to two and doubled it to four and doubled it to eight. As time moved on, I got myself in such a huge ditch I was taking 65 extra-strength Vicodin a day. It was an expensive drug habit. I was spending a lot of money getting these. I struggled quite a bit, and I didn’t get it under control until I left WWE in 2006. I got my painkiller problem at least under control…..the only problem was I ended up going to a smaller company so I could work part-time instead of being full-time in WWE. Everybody there drank, so when I started, I started drinking with them. My addition went from one thing to another – from painkillers to alcohol. And then I started taking Xanax because I was very nervous about my neck. I mean, I did break it five times. I was having a lot of anxiety, and the doctor told me to take the Xanax. I started mixing alcohol with Xanax, and before you knew it – I would say in five years in TNA, I got four DUIs. I was out of control and didn’t take any responsibility. My wife told me, ‘I can’t do this anymore and I’m gonna leave you unless you go to rehab.’ I was gonna lose my family and my job, and I didn’t want that to happen. I checked into rehab in 2013, and I’ve been clean ever since.”
“I wake up feeling good. My body gets worse as the day goes on. So, the gravity is the problem. It makes the joints start to hurt. So, waking up isn’t so bad. It’s the end of the day that I just want to get back in bed and lay down. When I wake up, I do a bunch of maintenance training. I do the neck traction, the rollers for my legs and back, an anti-gravity machine, and I have a massage gun I use. I do a lot of stuff. I do these sandbags where my legs are bent – they won’t straighten out completely because of my knee injuries, so I’m trying to get them to straighten out as much as I can. I use the sandbags to put on my knees while I have them between two chairs. I do a lot of stuff. I go to the gym, stretch, lift, and do cardio. I spend a lot of time during the day doing maintenance training.”
“The most important thing is, if you are having a problem with alcohol and drugs, don’t isolate yourself. Don’t lock yourself out with other people and relationships. You need to seek help, and you’re not gonna do it alone. Anybody that is hiding it and can’t kick the habit, you need to tell somebody. You need to do something about it. It’s not going to go away, and it’s only going to get worse. It’ll continue to get worse until you die. That’s the only outcome if you don’t get off your addiction. It’s pretty sad that a lot of people do isolate themselves because they don’t want anybody to know that they’re doing it. You need people to help you. You need a support system – your family or your friends – and a good AA program. If you’re looking for a rehab center, look thoroughly and look for one that can relate to you the most. I think the best advice I could give is you’ve gotta tell somebody. You can’t keep this quiet.”
Transcribed by 411 Mania.