I fought prescription painkiller addiction for years and lost practically every round except the last, when I went to OxyContin addiction treatment. As an amateur boxer, I knew that pain would be a natural part of my life, but OxyContin helped me manage it and keep it in the backseat as I was coming up. I refused to be the first fighter who blew his shot because he was too soft to move up in the ranks. After 211 amateur matches and only 16 losses, I felt like my opportunity to go professional was just around the corner; but pills would end up knocking me off-course before I ever got there.
I hurt every day of my life. Between training, sparring and actual fights, there wasn’t a second of my life where I didn’t hurt at least a little. A friend of mine started giving me oxy after really bad fights, like if I’d sustained serious damage to the head or face. The longer the fights got, the more I needed the pills. Soon I was taking them after simply sparring sessions against guys who were by no means hard hitters. Then I started taking them for post-workout pain. Nobody but my friend knew about my habit, but my trainer could see my performance slipping with each fight.
Then one day everything just fell apart. I was on edge all day because my friend was on vacation and I hadn’t scored in two weeks. I was unfocused during sparring and my partner made a joke after we finished about how weak my punches were, so I actually waited form him to take his headgear off and caught him flush on the temple with a left hook, knocking him out. I was mortified, scared and now deeply aware that I needed to give up these pills. I knew that if I did not get this under control soon, I would wind up dead or in jail for murder.
I made the decision to try a rehab in Florida that specialized in OxyContin addiction treatment knowing full well that I’d never fight again. I was too old and had put my body through too much. This was hard to take at first. My whole life was just swept away and in addition to getting off these pills, I had to figure out where I fit in and what I had to offer the world. My doctors and therapists helped me straighten all that out and gave me some excellent advice for moving on with my life.
After I got out of treatment, I did some traveling to figure out my next move, and I wound up right back where I started, minus the drugs. I started training younger fighters and actually got my physical therapist’s license. I still apply a lot of the chronic pain advice I got in treatment to some of my clients. I also consult with other trainers on how to help their fighters manage their pain. When I see my fighters win their matches and my patients start to heal from their chronic pain, I know I’m doing the most with the second chance God gave me.