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Devon Alexander discusses overcoming drug addiction

Devon Alexander talks about his addiction to painkillers and coming back to boxing.

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

On his addiction

“About the Maidana fight, I became addicted — actually, it was after surgery. In the Maidana fight, my nose had a blood clot on the inside, and I beat him with a blood clot in my nose, I barely could breathe. After the Maidana fight I had surgery. When they went in there, they saw I had a blood clot, which they removed. I didn’t drink, smoke, not even take a Tylenol or Advil, nothing. After the surgery, they prescribed me some pain meds, and after a while, I was, like, ‘Wow.’ The feeling of it, I began to like.

“I found myself taking it when I didn’t need it. I honestly think they shouldn’t have prescribed a person like me, who hadn’t taken anything in their life, something so strong or something like that. I became addicted to it and was hiding for a while, until I couldn’t hide it anymore.”

“(It went on for) a good two years. The last two years just got worse. My reflexes, everything was just dead. I wasn’t myself. You can see that in my performances. You can see it. The Shawn Porter fight, you can see that it was kinda taking over. Definitely in the Khan and the Martinez fight, it definitely took over. I was just not myself. It had taken over my life, taken over everything.

“It was a terrible time in my life that I never thought — if you told me I’d be going through that, five years ago, if you told me I’d be addicted to anything, I’d have probably slapped you. I hated drugs. I was a person who said, ‘Why do people take drugs?’ I didn’t understand it. Then I found myself a victim to it. It was a rough time for me.”

On getting out of the habit

“It was after the Martinez fight. Me and my wife were watching a movie and I blacked out. My wife said I woke up, said I blacked out, and the ambulances were there. I was, like, ‘What happened? Why are these people in my house?’ and she’s, like, ‘You blacked out!’ That scared me straight. That scared the hell out of me.

“From that point on, I said, no way. That’s not what I want my life to be, that’s not what I want my kids to see, that’s not what I want my wife to go through. Just, no. No way. I made up my mind. ... I’m not putting my wife in that position ever again. The look on her face. I know she was scared to death. I didn’t like that.”

“When I first got (to rehab) and started talking — the first part of it, they want you to realize and talk about what you’ve been doing. Here I am, three-time world champion, sitting in a classroom, a circle of people whose cases are totally extreme. They were just gone. The people were high going to the class. I was thinking to myself, like, ‘Wow, how did I get myself into a position where I’m sitting in a class where people are heroin addicts, crackheads, all sorts of things?’

“It scared the crap out of me. It was a humbling moment for me. I never thought I would have myself in that position. I just — the moment was just sobering. It was also motivation to go through this program, get clean, and get my life back. The experience was definitely sobering, an eye-opener for me. A changer for me.”

For more from Devon Alexander’s interview with Fight Hub TV, watch the video above!

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