Michael Phelps was 15 years old at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. It was there that he set his first world record. Since then, he’s won 22 medals — 18 of them gold. As the most decorated Olympian of all time, he has reached some of the highest heights possible for any athlete.
But, he’s also reached some of the lowest lows. In his recent, nearly 30 minute interview with NBC Sports’ Bob Costas, he describes in some detail his struggles outside of the pool with alcohol, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Midway through his interview with NBC Sports’ Bob Costas, Phelps said,
“I went through this process where we tried to connect with our inner child, and I had so many vivid memories of me at the age of 7, 8, 9… I think it was kind of cool to realize, the kid is still gonna come out in us, and that’s who we really are… Once we brought all of that stuff out, I literally felt like a new person.”
The Survivors Workshop — the same one Phelps went through as an inpatient at The Meadows—is available to anyone interested in uncovering how their early childhood experiences affect their day-to-day lives. Participants in the Survivors workshop get a chance to process and release the negative messages and emotions that are rooted in painful past experiences allowing them the freedom to embody their authentic selves.
For more information call 800-244-4949 or contact us online.
America in the late Summer and early Fall. Among the sounds of lawn sprinklers, children laughing and playing outside, and bees buzzing by, you can often hear…
“Let’s Go, Guys!”
“We Got This!”
“C’mon you idiot, what the [redacted] are you doing?!”
…being shouted from living rooms all across the land.
Football is back.
And, this year, the shouting and celebration will likely start even earlier, as millions tune to watch the Summer Olympic Games in Rio beginning August 5.
In 2015, NFL games made up 45 of 50 most-watched TV shows in the fall season. And, the Summer Olympics, which only take place every four years, are also sure to draw in similar numbers of viewers. It’s plain to see that there’s something about athletics that deeply resonates with many people.
Although each sports fan probably has his or her own personal reasons for loving their game, there are some common cultural touchstones across the (score)board. In these intense match-ups between opponents, we see stories of people finding and exceeding their limits, working through pain and injury, and falling down and getting back up. Many of us probably see parallels between these stories and our day-to-day lives.
As we watch our athlete-heroes sprint, tackle, throw, hit, cycle, swim with incredible speed, strength, and agility, they may appear to us to be invincible—maybe even superhuman. But, the truth is that outside of the arena, many athletes struggle with the same kinds of feelings and impulses we all do; many even battle mental disorders and addictions.
“In sports, there’s a lot of people out there suffering and they don’t even know it. That’s because they can’t identify with mental illness. These people just feel like they’re just having a bad day or that it’s just weakness,” says New York Jets receiver Brandon Marshall in 2015 article for theguardian.com. Marshall was diagnosed with a personality disorder in 2010 and now advocates for others struggling with mental illness through his Project 375 Foundation.
For some athletes, their sport becomes a smoke screen that hides deeply rooted trauma and behavioral health issues. And, the higher the level an athlete reaches, the less likely they are to ask for help. Mental illness is often wrongly associated with weakness, and weakness is a trait that is unacceptable to most athletes. It’s also often unacceptable to their coaches and their fans, which makes talking about the problem even harder.
Elite and professional athletes like Brandon Marshall and Michael Phelps, who has also recently come forward to public discuss his own mental health struggles, are playing a critical role in helping to break the stigma surrounding mental illness in the sports community and in our society at large.
Even though ultimately, athletes are responsible for their own performance in the arena, they don’t get there without help. Coaches, trainers, managers, agents, family, and friends all play a role in helping them develop the skills and the get the support they need to reach their full potential. Why can’t we start to look at treatment for mental illness the same way?
If there’s an addiction, a mood disorder, or a personality disorder that’s holding you back, you don’t have to feel ashamed and you don’t have to be afraid to reach out. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. In fact, speaking out in an environment where you fear you will not be well-received is the opposite of weak—it takes real guts and courage. And, you might be surprised by how people react. Once he came forward, other people in the league starting speaking out about their own struggles and asked him where to turn for help.
Treatment programs, like the ones we offer at The Meadows, are designed to help you heal your hidden emotional injuries, and practice and develop skills for moving forward with your life and reach your full potential. Don’t get sidelined by mental illness. Give us a call today and get back in the game, at 800-244-4949.
When Terri arrived at The Meadows, after struggling for some time with alcohol addiction, she realized that she would never get sober unless she dealt with the trauma she experienced during her very difficult childhood. She credits The Meadow’s Survivors Week and EMDR therapy with her helping her turn the corner into real recovery from alcoholism.
The Meadows treats all phases of alcohol addiction. From detox to our primary treatment program, we help people build the foundation for long-term sobriety.
If you are in the midst of a struggle with alcohol addiction, recovery may not seem possible, but it is.
Our program has helped many people give up alcohol for good while making key changes in the way they live, face problems, and relate to others, in order to decrease the likelihood of relapse.
For more information about how we can help call us at 800-244-4949 or send us a message through our website.
By David Anderson, Ph.D., Executive Director at The Meadows
We experienced yet another heart-warming Patient Commencement Celebration last Wednesday morning, as seven soon-to-be-leaving patients expressed their thanks and appreciation to the Meadows staff, the community and their peers for helping them along their journey through life-saving treatment, recovery and transformation.
At the end of the commencement, as we always do, we formed a big circle, observed a few moments of quiet Reflection, and then said The Serenity Prayer. At the end of the prayer, as we always do, each patient and staff member extended his or her right foot and Repeated loudly, “R, R, R!”
As we were walking out I overheard a couple of newer people who were in the audience say “I have no idea what R! R! R! means!”
Well, for those wondering, the letters stand for Reality, Respect, and Responsibility—three crucially important building blocks of true Recovery (and all in keeping with our underlying Meadows Model).
These are three great “R” words.
But we have other “R” words, too:
Rites of passage (like commencements and graduations)
On the coins that we provide to graduating members of our military, in addition to Recovery, we have three more R words: Reveal, Resiliency, and Renew.
And if you spend any time in our Brain Center, you soon come to Realize that a basic component of our Meadows program is nervous system Regulation.
Each of these “R” words comes with a story, a commitment, and a history here at The Meadows; each are worked into the warp and weave of our programming.
And here are even more: as we head into the three major months of summer, many of us will be taking vacations and Recharging and Recreating.
So the next time you need to Refresh or Recommit to Recovery, do the Meadows hokey-pokey, put your right foot out, and say, “R! R! R!”
R! R! R!
Steve attended five different treatment centers in an effort to overcome his alcoholism. The Meadows is the program that finally worked for him.
He credits his recovery to the individualized care and treatment he received from the outstanding staff, and the courage and strength the gained along with his peers during group therapy.
If you’re struggling with alcoholism and multiple relapses, maybe it’s time to take a deeper look at what’s fueling your self-destructive behaviors. The Meadows programs start with a thorough clinical assessment by a team of professionals to uncover your underlying emotional trauma and any co-occurring conditions that may be complicating your recovery. We then develop an individualized treatment plan, just for you.
Call us today at 800-244-4949.