NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Farve, has always been outspoken and acknowledged the fact that he had his battles with addiction in the past, especially during his playing career with the Packers. What the public didn’t know, was how severe of a problem Brett’s addiction to Vicodin and alcohol was really becoming. It turns out, Farve sought out help at rehab facilities three different times while playing in Green Bay.
Peter King, of Sports Illustrated, spoke with Farve over the weekend and learned that of the three different trips to rehab, only one was actually known by anyone until now. King has had a long standing relationship with Brett, and actually recalled a specific time where he got to stay in Green Bay, report on the Packers, and hang out at Brett Farve’s house. The Packer legend remembered his time with King, but immediately informed him that he was high on Vicodin during their interactions.
“Oh, I remember that week,” Favre told King on the phone. “You thought, ‘Man, this guys’s high on life.’ You didn’t know there was a reason for it. It is really amazing, as I think back, how well I played that year. That was an MVP year for me. But that year, when I woke up in the morning, my first thought was, ‘I gotta get more pills.’ I took 14 Vicodin, yes, one time. I was getting an hour or two of sleep many nights. Maybe 30 minutes of quality sleep. I was the MVP on a pain-pill buzz. The crazy thing was, I’m not a night owl. Without pills I’d fall asleep at 9:30. But with pills, I could get so much done, I just figured, ‘This is awesome.’ Little did I know [fiancée and now wife] Deanna would be finding some of my pills and when she did, she’d flush them down the toilet.”
The Hall of Fame QB went on to say that his first stint with rehab was due to his excessive use of pain pills, along with his day to day consumption of alcohol. Farve’s first run in rehab was in Louisiana, and only lasted for a 28 day period.
His second stint in rehab was a much longer run at 72 days, but he admitted to having issues with workers in the facility because he wouldn’t admit to having any type of drinking issues.
“When I drank, I drank to excess,” Favre said. “So when I went in the second time, to the place in Kansas, I remember vividly fighting them in there. They said drinking was the gateway drug for me, and they were right, absolutely right, but I wouldn’t admit it. I will never forget one of the nurses. I had it all figured out. I fought with this nurse all the time. I would not admit the drinking problem. At the end she said to me, ‘You’ll be back.'”
The nurse was right, and Brett was back in the same Kansas City rehab facility, and this time strictly for his alcohol abuse.
“I was back. 1998. Guess who was waiting there when I walked in — that same nurse. This time it was strictly for drinking,” Favre said. “I didn’t go back to the pills. I admitted my problem, I was in there 28 days, and it worked. When I got out, the toughest thing was the first three months, because I had to change my thought process. When I played golf before, I realized the only reason I wanted to play was to drink. After a while, instead of thinking, ‘How many beers can we drink in 18 holes?’ I fell into a pattern of what could I do to get good at golf. I realized with each passing day I really didn’t like drinking.”
During Brett Farve’s career with the Packers, he won three consecutive MVP awards, but behind all the success Brett was hurting enough to seek out treatment for drug abuse three different times. Now he feels so removed from those dark periods of his life, that sometimes he asks himself “Did this really happen to me?”
NFL Hall of Famer Brett Farve continues to travel the country and educate people on the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Brett also works very closely with organizations that promote and educate the dangers of concussions and proper safety in football. Now a grandfather, Farve focuses most of his time on his health and his family.