Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger Admits Past Addiction Troubles, Overcoming Through Faith

Noah Strackbein

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger has spent the last 17 years becoming a hero for the city of Pittsburgh. But to help inspire others to overcome, the Steelers quarterback admitted to failures he's faced throughout his stardom. 

Speaking at the ManUp Pittsburgh conference, Roethlisberger detailed overcoming addiction by re-finding his faith.

“I’ve fallen as short as anybody,” Roethlisberger said. “I’ve been addicted to alcohol. I’ve been addicted to pornography, which makes me then not the best husband, not the best father, not the best Christian I can be.

“You have to dedicate yourself and understand that you can get out of it because of the grace of God.”

A father of three, Roethlisberger is now married to Ashley Harlan. Before his marriage in 2011, he faced two sexual misconduct accusations—neither accusation resulted in charges. 

During the conference, Roethlisberger said leaving for Miami (OH) was the breaking point that sent him on a downward spiral. 

“It wasn’t like I stopped believing,” he said, “but you’re not sharpening your skills. I’m still praying here and there, but I wasn’t as strong of a Christian in college as I wish I would have been.”

Roethlisberger admitted he wasn't ready to handle the pressure and fame that came with being the Steelers' first-round draft pick and eventual three-time Super Bowl quarterback. 

He found himself by regaining his belief in Christ, which he reinforced three years ago by being baptized for a second time. 

“I just felt that I needed to do that,” Roethlisberger said. “I wanted to have a closer walk, a better relationship with Jesus, my wife, my kids, my family — become a better person.”

Roethlisberger said he's more focused on being a better person than a football player at this point in his life. 

“I’m trying to be a better Christian than I am an athlete at football,” he said. “I push myself every day to do that. It starts here. It’s not always easy. People don’t realize all the time that us athletes, we’re human. We sin like everyone else. We make mistakes. We get addicted to things. We sin.”

Returning from this biggest injury of his career, Roethlisberger also said he's thankful he re-found faith before overcoming an obstacle he has the last nine months. 

“I’m so thankful this injury happened in the walk I’m in now,” he said. “I’m not sure I’d have been able to handle it seven, eight, 10 years ago. My faith wouldn’t have been as strong.”

Noah Strackbein is a Senior Writer with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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