Former Pro-Wrestler and Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle spoke about his battle with drug addiction on the Dan Le Batard radio show.


Angle’s issues began in 1996 just before the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games. The freestyle wrestler fractured two cervical vertabrae and needed Novocaine injections just to compete. He had neck surgery in 2003 and had to step away again in 2004 when his health issues led him to painkiller addiction. At one point, he was taking 65 Extra-Strength Vicodin daily.

“I was on a lot — there was no way I couldn’t get out of it,” the 47-year-old told Le Batard. “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 had joined the WWF in 1998 and left in 2006 after six world championship wins, because they wanted him to sign on full-time. Instead, Angle joined the TNA wrestling company in late 2006. During his time with the WWF, Angle suffered from addiction. But coming to TNA, things got worse. “The thing is, everybody drank down there [in TNA],” said Angle. “So I started drinking with my meds. And then I started manipulating my meds. I would save all of them until the evening, and drink it with alcohol. And it got me in a lot of trouble — four DUIs in five years.”

After the last of those DUIs, Angle then sought the help he knew he needed and checked himself into the St. Joseph Institute for Addiction in Port Matilda, Pennsylvania. “I finally got the right help.” he added. “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.”

Angle has been sober for the last three years and counting. He attributes his ability to stay clean to the horrible pain of withdrawal and detox. “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 wanna eat; you don’t wanna do anything; you feel like you’re gonna die. It’s the worst pain you’ve ever had in your life. And I went through it twice… I think [staying sober] has to do with that I don’t ever want to have that feeling again.”

Angle left TNA in January after 10 years with the company. He still competes via special appearances so he can stay in shape and regularly jump in the ring.

See his freestyle wrestling gold medal winning Olympic performance below.

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