PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Kurt Angle rose from humble beginnings here in Pittsburgh to become an Olympic gold medalist and an international star in pro wrestling.

Behind the scenes, Kurt battled alcohol and substance abuse.

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Now, he’s opening up about his fight against addiction and how he’s winning it.

For Angle, the road to addiction began at the 1996 Olympic Games.

He famously won gold with a broken neck, which was the first of several he says he’s suffered over the years.

It was the second broken neck, while he was a pro wrestler, which Angle says led to a dangerous choice.

“Started taking pain killers and the pain killers got out of whack and I started taking so many I can’t even count how many I was taking a day,” Angle says. “I enjoyed the feeling. It wasn’t just about numbing the pain. It was numbing everything else in my life and I enjoyed the feeling I got from it.”

He says pain killers led to morphine and later Xanax and alcohol.

“Before I knew it, for the past seven years, I was doing all three at the same time, which is a very dangerous mix,” Angle said.

Angle says he was also chasing another high — the feeling he got when he won gold.

“Nothing was ever good enough. Not WWE. Not my family. Not anything, because nothing gave me the feeling when I won the Olympics,” Angle says.

Over the past several years, Angle found himself in a courtroom on numerous occasions.

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He says he didn’t think he had a problem. But, his life was spiraling out of control.

“Not being there for my kids or my wife. I got pulled over at least five times over four years for whether I was charged with DUI or reckless driving. My life was just going downhill,” Angle says.

He credits one last night spent in jail with changing his life.

“You need to do something about it. If not, you’re [going to] die,” Angle says.

Today, Angle says he’s been clean and sober for just over a year and he’s become the family man he wanted to be.

WEB EXTRA: Watch Angle’s full interview:


“I wasn’t there as a father, and now I am and it feels really good. I have a purpose in this world. It’s not about me anymore,” Angle says.

Angle is in town to promote TNA Impact Wrestling events in Indiana (Aug. 15) and Washington (Aug. 16). However, he will not have a match at either event because he’s recovering from knee surgery.

For more information and tickets to the events, visit their website here.

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