In his return to boxing as a promoter, Mike Tyson made startling revelations about his ongoing battles with addiction during a press conference on Friday.
“I haven’t drank or took drugs in six days, and for me that’s a miracle. I’ve been lying to everybody else that think I was sober, but I’m not,” Tyson told reporters at Turning Stone Resort in New York, where he was promoting his first fight card with Iron Mike Productions. “This is my sixth day. I’m never gonna use again.”
The 47-year-old former heavyweight champion opened up about his continued struggles with substance abuse while discussing his encounter with Teddy Atlas, his former trainer. Atlas was at the event in New York in his role as an analyst with ESPN. In recounting his preparations to make peace with his estranged former trainer, Tyson spoke of a recent AA meeting as the press conference took a confessional turn.
“I’m a motherfucker. I’m a bad guy sometimes,” Tyson told reporters. “I did a lot of bad things, and I want to be forgiven. So in order for me to be forgiven, I hope they can forgive me. I wanna change my life, I wanna live a different life now. I wanna live my sober life. I don’t wanna die. I’m on the verge of dying, because I’m a vicious alcoholic. Wow. God, this is some interesting stuff.”
CLICK HERE for complete transcript of Tyson’s monologue
Speaking with ESPN’s Todd Grisham on “Friday Night Fights,” Tyson connected his need to make peace with Atlas to his attempt to remain sober. The two have been at odds since a 1982 incident involving a young girl and a fired gun, according to ESPN.
“Life is short, man. I made amends with everybody,” Tyson told Grisham. “I never talked to Teddy or made any kind of amends with him or said, ‘sorry.’ And I just owe that to my sobriety to make amends. And that’s just what I want to do with my life. I’m a vicious addict and I’m recovering. And I’m going to die if I don’t follow my steps, I’m useless. If I don’t do what the book tells me to do I’m going to die and that’s just what is going to happen.”
WATCH: Tyson Talks Atlas, Sobriety On ESPN
In a July 2012 interview with with “Nightline” anchor Terry Moran that touched on his visits to rehab and personal demons, Tyson claimed to have been sober for three years. He also credited his role in “The Hangover” with helping him stay sober.
“I’m just constantly working on turning. It doesn’t happen overnight,” Tyson told “Nightline.” “I may have a good few years in me but it’s still not out of me. You still have to work consistently. Every moment of the day you have to work because your demons always — that’s who you are.”
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