Michael Phelps on Rehab: Checking Into Treatment Was Scariest Thing Ever

Michael Phelps says he is now sober
Michael Phelps opened up about seeking treatment after his second DUI arrest, saying that it was the "most afraid he's felt in his life" Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images For Laureus

Michael Phelps opened up on Tuesday, Nov. 10, about attending rehab after his second DUI arrest, saying it was the most afraid he’s been in his life.

“It’s probably the most afraid I’ve ever felt in my life,” the Olympian, 30, told Sports Illustrated, explaining that he would immediately have to turn in his phone and go to his room after seeing visitors.

The gold medalist checked himself into an in-patient treatment program late last year following his second DUI arrest in September 2014.

“Mentally, I was over,” the swimmer said of the 2008 Olympics. “I didn’t want to do it anymore. I forced myself to do something that I really didn’t want to do anymore. I was in a really dark place, not wanting to be alive anymore. I look back now, I lived in a bubble for a long time. I wound up uncovering a lot of things about myself. . . I saw myself as the athlete that I was, but not as a human being.”

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The 22-time medalist was arrested on Sept. 30, 2014, for driving under the influence. He previously pleaded guilty to drunk driving in November 2004. Shortly after his second DUI arrest, he apologized to fans via Twitter.

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“I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself,” he tweeted. “I am extremely disappointed with myself. Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual.”

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He also told Us Weekly after his second arrest, “I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility, and I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down.”

Phelps — who got engaged to Nicole Johnson this past February — assured fans that he’s now a “new man” and sober.

“Haven’t had a single sip and will not have a sip,” he exclaimed to Sports Illustrated. “I worked, recovered, slept, and took care of myself more than I ever had.”

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