|Kurt Angle was an international pro-wrestler and Olympic gold medalist when addiction upended his life as a star athlete. Now a father of four, and with a fifth on the way, the 47-year-old is in long-term recovery and in early talks to return to the WWE.|
Kurt Angle Sober
All-star athlete hits an all-time low
A lifetime of wrestling had physically taken its toll. After breaking his neck four times in a two-and-a-half-year span – he famously won the Olympic gold with a broken neck – Kurt Angle was prescribed painkillers to combat the pain and keep him at peak performance. But, like many chronic pain sufferers, Angle fell victim to the fast-acting, and highly addictive, medication. Soon, he was simultaneously abusing morphine, Xanax and alcohol.
“I was at a company where everybody was drinking, and you were encouraged to drink with them,” Angle says in a recent Sports Illustrated interview. “That’s where the alcohol came in. I didn’t go crazy with it, but when you mix it with pills, it can make you do some really crazy things. It can make you careless. When I traveled, I was drinking and driving, and I got nailed a bunch of times”
Though he initially denied he had a problem, his life began to spiral out of control. Eventually, he reached such a low that he tried to take his own life. Something in Angle shifted, and that dark moment served as a catalyst for him to make a positive life change. He sought help and has been in recovery since.
Facing recovery with perseverance and positivity
“I treat the battle with addiction the same way I treated my Olympic gold medal,” Angle explains. “I realize I’m not going to overcome my addiction overnight, just like I knew I wasn’t going to win the gold medal overnight. It is one day at a time, which is the same way I trained. Every day I trained was important, and I treated every day like it was my last training session.”
He has also been rumored to return to WWE. “Possibly in the future, most likely next year, but that is not a guarantee,” he says. “It was a loose conversation, but I will be in touch with Triple H [Paul Levesque] in the future.”
As Angle takes the rest of the year off from wrestling, he is working on launching the #AngleStrong app, an assistance-based technology with daily affirmations, tips, health, wellness and exercise. Angle has also connected with Reliance Treatment Center to help work with others in need.
Winning the battle against addiction
Now, because of his commitment to sobriety, Angle has been clean four years and is ready to head back to the ring.
“Every day is important to stay clean–not only for me, but also for my family,” Angle says. “I really believe that God gave me the work ethic and the ability to have a strong will. That doesn’t mean I can’t fall–I fell into it. I got addicted and was really messed up, but to stay out of addiction takes as much hard work as I did with the Olympics. That’s what I do – I work hard and stay clean each day.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, we have a support system in place to help you get clean and start anew. Call The Watershed today at 1-800-861-1768.
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