“It’s okay not to be okay. If you’re struggling, pick up the phone and get help.”
This is Olympic silver-medalist, politician and counsellor Kenneth Egan’s advice. September is known as “Recovery Month”, a month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover.
Ahead of a free talk he will be giving next Monday at the Rutland Centre about addiction and recovery in sport as part of this “Recovery month” initiative, Kenneth shared his personal story of recovery with Ray.
“I got into recovery seven years ago last month, sober seven years.”
He went on to study addiction in college which he says helped his personal development and now looking back Kenneth explains to Ray how it all began.
“I was shy, I was introvert, I didn’t really socialise. I remember one time sitting on Santa’s lap up in the square and I just froze with just pure anxiety and fear. I wasn’t really outgoing and later on in life, I can see with my attraction to alcohol in my early teens that was like the wind in my sails. Oh, I like this type of stuff. This makes me approachable I can talk to people I can have the craic. I can enjoy myself and that connection at such a young age, it was wrong to be drinking at that age first and foremost but that kind of set the spark.”
Kenneth believes that boxing saved him.
“Thank God I had boxing, I had sport it was so important to me…if I didn’t have that….I wouldn’t be alive today”
He spoke about one incident when he was trying to juggle his drinking with his training, that he still feels ashamed about today.
“..me being team captain, silver medallist coming in and all these young lads were in training…and they put the hurdle hops in front of us only about six inches off the ground, they line them up in a line and you had to jump over them and I was that withdrawn from the alcohol…I was nearly going blind, I couldn’t even hardly see them and I was trying to jump over them and I was falling over and it was embarrassing, shocking stuff.”
He admits that Billy Walsh told him that day to get his bag and to get out which he says he was right to do “me being the team captain, it’s shocking, terrible influence and that’s only one story about how bad it was.”
It was his mother’s pleading, which Kenneth describes as heartbreaking, that along with AA and recovery, which finally helped him to stop.
Watch the chat between Ray and Kenneth in full.
Olympic silver medalist and Former boxer Kenneth Egan is live in studio on the Ray D'Arcy Show now.
Posted by RTÉ Radio 1 on Wednesday, 13 September 2017
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