Wide receiver Josh Gordon was recently reinstated by the Cleveland Browns after a nearly three-year absence.
Now, he's opening up about addiction and his NFL comeback.
In an interview with GQ published Monday, Gordon said his path to recovery was no longer about playing football again. It was about surviving.
Josh Gordon: "I said, 'If I plan on having any type of a career, I'll stop.' But at this point I thought, 'If I want any type of a life, if I wanted to live, [I’ll stop].' It was like: You're never going back to f***ing work ever, if you can't figure out how to live. Because at this point in time, the trajectory, you're going to die. You're going to kill yourself."
He also called himself a highly functioning alcoholic. He said he used to make a ritual of drinking right before games.
Josh Gordon: "I would have these little pre-made shots. I used to love Grand Marnier. I could drink it down smooth. I could usually drink a lot of it. But if it wasn't that, it might be a whiskey or something. And I would drink probably like half a glass, or a couple shots to try and warm my system up, basically. To get the motor running. That's what I would do for games."
Gordon said he started using so he wouldn't feel fear.
Josh Gordon: "Initially it started for me, [because of] a lot of childhood and adolescent trauma-based fear. I was using in my childhood. That environment brought me into that a lot sooner than a normal—whatever normal is—kid should be brought into that, to be able to make a decision on their own of what to do. I didn't want to feel anxiety, I didn't want to feel fear. I didn't plan on living to 18. Day-to-day life, what's gonna happen next? So you self-medicate with Xanax, with marijuana, codeine—to help numb those nerves so you can just function every day. That became the norm from middle school to high school. So by the time I got into my 20s, I was on an accelerated pace."