Brett Favre describes his battle with painkiller addiction
A week from today, Brett Favre will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But while we’ll be hearing a lot about his career highlights in the coming days, Favre spoke recently about his lowest moment as a football player.
Favre told Graham Bensinger that the prescription painkiller addiction he beat 20 years ago nearly took control of his life.
“I took 15 Vicodin at one time,” Favre said. “Two gave me an effect I liked. After a month, two didn’t do anything, so I’d take three . . . and then four and so on. . . . I knew that 15 was hard to come by. A month’s prescription is 30 pills or something, depending on what they prescribe for you, and I was going through that in two days. I would ask this guy for pills and that guy for pills, after a while I was going back around pretty quickly.”
Favre makes no excuses for his behavior at that time.
“I knew what I was doing -- I knew that I didn’t necessarily need it but I sure liked the way it felt, and I knew it was wrong,” Favre said.
Eventually, Favre made the decision that he had to stop.
“I’d hit rock bottom and I said, I’m going to flush these down the toilet. I remember when I poured them in the toilet and it started to flush, I almost crawled into the toilet to go after them because I thought, ‘What in the world did you do?’ I was so dependent on them,” he said.
Favre says that he actually should have worked with a doctor to wean himself off the painkillers, and he probably harmed himself by how suddenly he stopped.
“I just went cold turkey,” he said. “That was the worst month. I shook every night, cold sweats, it was a constant battle.”
Favre believes his love of football is what pulled him through.
“The one constant through all that was football, and for me, it was a good place to escape,” he said. “It gave me a way to escape but also feel like I was actually doing something good.”