Packers legend Favre reveals addiction, rehab torment

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Los Angeles (AFP)

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre spent three stints in rehab during his career to battle addictions to alcohol and prescription pills, the NFL icon told Sports Illustrated in an interview on Monday.

While Favre was known to have spent time in rehab in 1996 to address problems with drink and the painkiller Vicodin, the 48-year-old told Sports Illustrated's MMQB.com blog he had also undergone two other spells in treatment.

Favre said he was first admitted to rehab for 28 days to treat an addition to prescription pills, saying on one occasion he had taken 12 Vicodin tablets at once.

"I actually went to rehab three times. I saw the most successful, smart people - doctors, professional people - lose it all, ruin their lives," said Favre, adding he was persuaded to get treatment by his wife Deanne and his agent.

"I didn't think I had a problem, but they talked me into it," Favre said.

He was then admitted to a facility in Kansas for alcohol problems.

"When I drank, I drank to excess. So when I went in the second time, to the place in Kansas, I remember vividly fighting them in there," Favre said.

"They said drinking was the gateway drug for me, and they were right, absolutely right, but I wouldn't admit it. I will never forget one of the nurses. I fought with this nurse all the time. I would not admit the drinking problem. At the end, she said to me, 'You'll be back. I was back."

Favre said his third stint in rehab was to address problems with alcohol.

"I was in there 28 days, and it worked," he said. "When I got out, the toughest thing was the first three months, because I had to change my thought process.

"When I played golf before, I realized the only reason I wanted to play was to drink. After a while, instead of thinking, 'How many beers can we drink in 18 holes?' I fell into a pattern of what could I do to get good at golf. I realized with each passing day I really didn?t like drinking."

Favre, who played 321 straight games during his career -- a record for a quarterback -- retired in 2010 after nearly 20 years in the NFL.