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.
Spending time in treatment is something many people don’t want to talk about. And, understandably so—There is, unfortunately, still a stigma often attached to those who struggle with addiction or mental health issues and ask for help. This can be especially true among those who are considered “high achievers.” Executives, entrepreneurs, successful entertainers, and elite athletes all tend to fall within this group.
So, it’s quite remarkable that, since early Spring, Olympic gold medalist and swimming superstar Michael Phelps has been talking very openly and candidly about his emotional difficulties and the treatment he received for them.
In an article recently featured in ESPN The Magazine, Phelps said, "I didn't give a s---, I had no self-esteem. No self-worth. I thought the world would just be better off without me. I figured that was the best thing to do—just end my life."
This mindset is where Phelps was just a couple of years ago. Rock bottom. And, yet, somehow, he went from there to, just a few weeks ago, placing first in the 200m butterfly during the Olympic swimming trials with a time only three seconds shy of his 2009 world record and qualifying for his fifth U.S. Olympic team. It’s a remarkable story of how showing humility and courage in the face of trauma and pain can help anyone make a personal comeback.
We can’t wait to hear more of Michael Phelps’ comeback story in his upcoming segment on ESPN’s SportsCenter. It’s set to air July 31, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. EST. We’ll be tuning in here at The Meadows and cheering on Michaels’ comeback to the pool, and to his new life.
An expanded interview with Michael Phelps recently aired on NBC’s Dateline: on Assignment.
In the interview, Phelps talks about his struggles with self-loathing, binge-drinking, and apathy before his time at The Meadows. He also talks about how resolving some painful issues with his father during Family Week was a huge step in his recovery. His coach says he’s in the best shape mentally, physically, and emotionally that he’s ever been.
Watch the full interview at the 29-minute mark here.
“I checked myself in because I think I was at point in my life when I needed something to change…”
These were the words of Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, in an interview with Matt Lauer on The Today Show. But, they are also the words of so many people in recovery as they look back on a very difficult time in their lives, and their decision to enter treatment.
Watch the interview here.
Even people who have achieved tremendous success in their lives can have a lot of hidden pain. When left unaddressed, that pain can—and often will—lead to problems with drugs, alcohol, pornography, sex, depression, anxiety, and other behavioral health issues.
Our treatment programs specialize in helping people find the root causes of their daily emotional struggles and develop healthier coping skills for the immense pressures and scrutiny they often face. If you feel that you, or a loved one, are racing toward disaster, give us a call at 1-800-244-4949.