Brett Favre reveals he ‘almost wanted to kill himself’ amid painkiller addiction

‘I said it’s one of two things - I die, or I flush these pills down the toilet’

Louise Hall
Thursday 25 March 2021 22:12 GMT
Brett Favre reveals he ‘almost wanted to kill himself’ amid painkiller addiction

Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre has said he “almost wanted to kill himself” while attempting to give up his addiction to painkillers.

Favre, a Green Bay Packers legend, opened up about his experiences with mental health on an episode of his Bolling with Favre podcast on 23 March during a conversation about rises in addiction amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 51-year-old explained in the podcast that in 1994 he sustained an injury and was given a “couple” of painkillers to help treat the pain, but that he realised the pills “felt pretty good”.

He revealed that over time from that point onwards he eventually developed an addiction and ended up taking two pills “every day” before getting to the point where he was taking a month’s prescription in two days.

“During the 95’ season I had a seizure, the night before a game,” he said, adding that he had never had a seizure before that.

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Favre said that despite the wake-up call he continued to use painkillers, and eventually had another seizure before he opened up to his family and went to rehab for 75 days.

"I finally figured out, agree with what they’re saying," Favre said. "In other words, manipulate again. And then when I got out, I continued to do what I was doing."

He said that despite the treatment, he fell back into the addiction, and by the end of the 1996 season he was home in Mississippi and was as “low as I possibly could be.”

“Even though I’d won the Superbowl, won MVP, actually won three MVP’s in a row. During this whole time, I hadn’t slept a bit… but I was low,” he said.

"I said it’s one of two things - I die, or I flush these pills down the toilet,” Favre explained. "I sat by the toilet for two hours. Eventually, I dumped the pills in the toilet, flushed them and I almost wanted to kill myself because of doing that.”

He added: "I could not believe that I’ve actually done that and I was so mad at myself because now what was I gonna do?”

Favre said that it took him months to get over the “urge” to take the pills, but that “by the grace of God” he eventually got beyond the addiction after that watershed moment.

The NFL star added that he later returned to rehab for alcohol at the request of his wife, and said he has been sober since.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone free of charge over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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