A former MMA fighter has opened up about his road to recovery after becoming addicted to drugs during his fighting career.
Cincinnati’s Daniel Ritchie has been clean for several years at this point, but the 41-year-old recently detailed the years he spent battling addiction after he was first prescribed painkillers at age 25 to treat an injury sustained during a fight.
“It was life-changing for me,” Daniel told The Sun. “I’d always deal with depression and anxiety and childhood trauma. And the medicine took it all away…I believe that’s pretty much when my addiction really took off. Like that was the defining moment.”
Ritchie continued competing even as his addiction spiraled out of control, and the 41-year-old recalls snorting pills in the bathroom just moments before he was set to walk out to the cage for his final fight.
Ritchie Was Homeless For Several Years
The former MMA fighter eventually moved on to using heroin and found himself living on the streets by age 30, at which point the only way he was able to fund his addiction was by actively selling drugs himself.
Ritchie’s lifestyle resulted in one instance where he was stabbed twice as well as another time where he found himself at gunpoint, and he remembers having almost no one to turn to in order to try and stop his downward spiral.
“It was one thing after another. People talk about hitting rock bottom, but I feel like I hit rock bottom and then just lived there…I remember everyone blocking me on the phone, it wasn’t that people didn’t try to help me, I just wasn’t in a position to be helped.”
It was the former MMA fighter’s father who eventually intervened to save him, but Ritchie still ended up overdosing before finally taking the necessary steps to treat his addiction. The 41-year-old spent a month at a treatment center before moving to a sober living house and has been clean ever since.
Ritchie now works at Cincinnati’s Cedar Oakes Wellness Center and is grateful for the chance to help others after the mistakes he made in his life.
“I regret a lot of the things I did and the harm that I caused others and I regret throwing away my career…But I don’t regret it in the way that it’s given me the ability to help thousands of people. Most people will never get the opportunity to help people like I have.”
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