Addiction recovery is viewed by many to be a lifelong process. According to the Nation Institute on Drug Abuse, abuse of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are extremely costly to the nation, adding up to over 700 billion dollars in costs related to crime, lost work productivity, and health care. Of that overall statistic, alcohol accounts for nearly 225 billion of it. Per a recent statistic from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Nearly 25 percent of adults aged 18 and older reported that they engaged in binge drinking within the past month. Moreover, nearly 7 percent of adults reported that they had been involved in heavy drinking. Painkillers are also on the addiction list, as Drugs.com reports that the U.S. Attorney General described the statistic as an “urgent and growing public health crisis.”
For many years, former WWE and TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle was a part of that statistic. According to a recent blog post, his addiction started when he was prescribed painkillers in 2003. His consumption and dependence grew to taking 65 extra strength Vicodin a day. He described it as loving the feeling it was giving him because he was allowed to not feel anything. He also described breaking his neck at the U.S. open Olympic trials, and then again while competing as a professional wrestler, as what began his dark journey into addiction.
“The pills made me feel invincible and kept me in the game, until my sister Le’Anne died of a heroin overdose, not long after my surgery. I didn’t want to feel pain, or anything. I had not grieved for my father, my grandmother, my coach or my sister, and I wasn’t about to begin. At least not with the success I was having in WWE. I felt like everything was being taken away from me.
“So I started taking more and more Vicodin, stuffing the pain deep inside of me. Before I knew it, I was knee deep (more like shoulder deep) into my addiction. I was hiding it from WWE, and at that time they weren’t drug testing for medication like they do now.”
Angle would then ask for his release from WWE due to feeling guilty for his addiction and desiring to get better. He would make his way to debut for TNA, and still experience some major hardships as a result of a very tough divorce with his then-wife Karen, as well as drinking alcohol excessively nightly to the point of passing out. Additional factors such as receiving four DUI charges in five years, along with his brother David going to jail for admitting to killing his wife as a result of being influenced by drugs, gave Angle all the ammunition needed to turn the other way.
As a result, he started the #AngleStrong program to help people stay off of addiction. He also announced that an app would be launched in early 2017 to keep recovering addicts accountable.
Since departing from TNA early-2016 after a 10-year stint, Angle endeavored in competing for independent promotions, continuing to show his passion for the business. While there have been numerous reports of Angle returning to the WWE over the past few years, talks have never come to fruition. However, 2017 may be an opportunity for the WWE Universe to see the Olympic Gold Medalist make a long-awaited return.
Right now, his schedule is open for January 29, which is the date of the Royal Rumble. Even if it is for a one-off return to compete in the match, fans will be sure to erupt for his appearance if it does indeed happen.
It is such a noble gesture to assist others with the very thing that nearly took his life on many occasions. It truly helps others fight harder in the road to recovery of anything when you know that there is someone in your corner. For those who are willing to turn the other way from drug abuse, Kurt Angle is that person that will keep you accountable and cheer you on.
[Featured Image by WWE]