Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Kenny Egan: I want to punch mates trying to get me on drink

Kenny Egan

Olympic boxer Kenny Egan admits he has been tempted to use his fists on friends trying to get him back on the bottle.

The recovering alcoholic, who has been off booze for 15 months, revealed the torment he faced from friends, who were aware of his struggle but wanted him to fall off the wagon.

"I was at a wedding recently and an old friend of mine was sitting at the table next to me having a pint. He knew why I couldn't drink but kept saying: 'These pints are lovely. Are you having one?' He was doing this repeatedly. I felt like going around the table and punching him in the forehead, but I couldn't do that, because it would have ruined the wedding, so I bit my tongue. I can't hit anyone with these hands: they are lethal weapons," Mr Egan said.

Now 29, the Dubliner became a national hero in August 2008, when he won a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics. However, within weeks of returning home, his life had spiralled out of control as he spent the next two years drinking.

He had his last drink on August 12, 2010, when his mother, Maura, who he lives with, brought him to the graves of two of his brothers, who died in early childhood.

"My mother told me that if I kept drinking the way I was drinking, I was going to end up in the ground with them. She begged me to stop. I did and I became a different person," he said.

The boxer said that he hoped that other athletes, and people battling addictions, would learn from his recently published autobiography 'Kenny Egan: My Story' in which he revealed the full story of how booze brought him to rock bottom, his use of prostitutes, countless one-night-stands, addiction to pornography, and times sleeping rough while on benders abroad.

"I gave my mother the book to read for the first time last week, and though she was shocked by some of it, she was happy with it. She said: 'That was your life, but now that life is over and out of the way'."

The Clondalkin-based fighter said the biggest problem in Ireland was the low price of alcohol.

"Everywhere you go, you see kids drinking in the fields. You can buy a botttle of wine for as cheap as ?3 in some supermarkets. So of course alcohol in this country is much too cheap, and you can get it anywhere. I had the cans myself when I was young", he said.