Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre said that he "almost wanted to kill" himself while quitting his painkiller addiction following the Packers' 1996 season.
“I had eight pills in my possession. Eight pills would not do what I needed it to do. It would give me zero buzz,” Favre said in the latest episode of Bolling With Favre, his podcast. "I was home in Mississippi and I was as low as I possibly could be, even though I had won the Super Bowl and won three MVPs in a row. I was low. I said, it’s one of two things: I die, or I flush these pills down the toilet.
"I sat by the toilet for two hours, and eventually, I dumped the pills in the toilet, flushed them, and I almost wanted to kill myself because of doing that."
Favre said he was in disbelief about what he had done that night and was mad in the moment because quitting cold turkey is dangerous.
"I shook with cold sweats and hot sweats every night at 9 o’clock because every night at 9 o’clock was when I took them," Favre said. "But that was the last time. I was clean. It took me a couple months to where I started getting over, I want these pain pills real bad, that urge.”
His addiction began early in his career as he played through injuries, spanning from 1994 to '97, including Green Bay's 1996 Super Bowl season. The retired quarterback pinpointed the specific game when it began—against the Eagles in 1994, when he separated his shoulder.
He wasn't immediately addicted, though. Favre injured his ankle a few weeks later, and although it wasn't bad enough for painkillers, he remembered how taking the pills made him feel. He asked for more.
It spiraled from there.
"It snuck up on me. It was two pills that gave me a buzz, and then it was four," Favre said. "At its peak, I was taking 16 Vicodin ES all at one time."
A doctor in Green Bay discovered the abuse when he was treating Favre after the quarterback had a seizure. Favre said he would quit, but his addiction continued.
His first "come to Jesus" moment didn't come until after the 1995 season. Favre suffered another seizure while in the hospital for ankle surgery. He told the people in his life, including the NFL, about his problem before going to rehab.
Even after he spent 75 days in an inpatient rehab facility, Favre continued using the painkillers. But after hitting rock bottom following the 1996 season, his sobriety stuck.
Favre said it's been more than 20 years since he's had any alcohol or drugs.