Ric Flair gave his fans and loved ones a scare earlier this summer when he was hospitalized and placed into a medically induced coma.
The WWE legend was admitted to an Atlanta hospital in mid-August with severe abdominal pain and underwent what turned out to be life-saving surgery.
Unbeknownst to Flair, he was in the early stages of organ failure (kidney and heart) as a result of decades of alcohol abuse.
In a new interview with People, the “Nature Boy” opened up about the lifestyle that nearly killed him.
“I didn’t think I was an alcoholic, but obviously I was,” Flair explained. “I never drank when I was working but as soon as work was over, right to the mill. ”
In the full-length video feature that was posted Wednesday, Flair’s fiancée Wendy Barlow mentioned she frequently turned to Flair’s longtime wrestling pals Hulk Hogan and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin for emotional support while Flair was in critical condition.
Substance abuse issues are widespread in professional wrestling. Flair’s drug of choice was alcohol.
“I’ve never taken a pain pill in my life,” Flair said. “I’d just take a shower, flip my hair back and go to the best bar in town.”
Flair still has a lengthy road to recovery but said he’s done drinking for good. He also mentioned he wants to help educate young wrestlers so they don’t develop the same bad habits Flair and many of his contemporaries did.
The 68-year-old began wrestling professionally in 1972. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.