Last night following his promotional debut on ESPN Friday Night Fights, Mike Tyson was candid with the media in the post-fight press conference, and Corey Erdman of The Fight Network got this clip of Tyson discussing his sobriety (or lack thereof) and his decision to make amends with Teddy Atlas before the fights.
"I knew that there was a possibility that I would be here with Teddy and I didn't have a good thought in mind about that at first, because I'm negative and I'm dark. And I wanna do bad stuff. I wanna hang out in this neighborhood alone (his brain), that's dangerous to hang out in this neighborhood alone up here, right? It wants to kill everything. It wants to kill me, too.
"So I went to my AA meeting. I had to make a discussion, check out what we gonna do. So I explained to them, my fellow alcoholics and junkies, that I was gonna deal with this certain situation here, and I explained the feelings that I evoked from it. Almost like, um, something like a Hatfields and McCoys, I kinda explained to them. I made the right decision. I made Cus proud of me. I made myself proud of me. I hate myself. I'm trying to kill myself. I hate myself a lot, but I made myself proud of myself, and I don't do that much. I was happy I did that.
"Maybe it was overwhelming to Teddy and he didn't get it yet. But he has to know this is sincere. I don't wanna fight you no more. I was wrong. I'm sorry. I was wrong. I just wanted to make my amends. If he accepted it or not, at least I could die and go to my grave and say I made my amends with everybody I hurt. It's all about love and forgiveness, and in order to for those guys to forgive me -- other guys, you know, I want people to forgive the things I've done.
"I'm a motherfucker. I'm a bad guy sometimes. I did a lot of bad things, and I want to be forgiven. So in order for me to be forgiven, I hope they can forgive me. I wanna change my life, I wanna live a different life now. I wanna live my sober life. I don't wanna die. I'm on the verge of dying, because I'm a vicious alcoholic. Wow. God, this is some interesting stuff.
"I haven't drank or took drugs in six days, and for me that's a miracle. I've been lying to everybody else that think I was sober, but I'm not. This is my sixth day. I'm never gonna use again."
When you get this context from Tyson's words, it makes a lot more sense. Mike is an addict. He admits that. Now, look, if we're being totally honest here, Tyson is a manipulator. I'm sure he'd admit that, too. Sometimes the things he says and does are purely for the reaction. I'm not trying to bash the man or anything like that -- I know it might sound like I am, but if we're also being totally honest, I have at least a small idea of what he's going through, and I identify with some of this stuff.
Sobriety is not easy when you're an alcoholic or drug addict. I am the former. I have been sober since January, and every day is a struggle. Every stupid day is a little fight that you win or lose. I don't really like to bring my personal stuff here, but if I'm going to try to explain what I hear from Mike and not have it sound like I'm just being an asshole, I should be fair and tell you that I have these thoughts because I've had some personal experience with at least part of this. Addicts relapse, they slip, they lie -- that's just a reality. Mike sounds like he wants to do this, which is the first big obstacle.
So good luck to him. And I really mean that.