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AEW's Sting discusses his battles with alcohol, opioid addiction

In a Player's Tribune piece, Sting says he's been sober for nearly 24 years.
Sting | AEW

In an article for the Player's Tribune that came out Thursday, current AEW roster member Sting opened up about going through both alcohol and opioid addiction earlier in his career. 

In the piece, the 62-year-old detailed his early days in the business and the struggles that came with the travel and low pay. Things changed for him when Dusty Rhodes put him in a match on cable television against Ric Flair that did a massive 7.1 rating, leading to his career skyrocketing after. 

Around 1996, the struggle of balancing his career with his family life began to take its toll. He wasn't sleeping well and one night, he decided taking a painkiller might help. 

He wrote, "And the pills were everywhere back then. Somas, Vicodin, Lortab, muscle relaxers, whatever. They were floating around like candy. You could take them for pain or to pass out on planes, or just to have a good time. For some reason, they were never my thing. But I just couldn’t sleep, and I had a million things going on, and so I thought….'Hey, what’s the big deal?'"

He said the first time he used pills to help him sleep, he took a painkiller, drank two beers and slept better than he had in a long time. Eventually, it would become a nightly routine. By 1998, the thought of not taking painkillers was inconceivable to him. 

Sting (Steve Borden) said he would transform into his character before shows but after they were over, it was a diet of alcohol, muscle relaxers, and painkillers. 

"A never-ending cycle. It was only a matter of time before I was dead. I knew it. But the physical and mental addiction to the opioids was so intense at that point that stopping was unthinkable," he wrote.

Then a pivotal moment in Sting's life took place during the summer of 1998. After being confronted by his wife, he opened up to her about his struggles and it led to what he referred to as his moment of truth.

"I sincerely cried out to the Lord to save my soul and in my utter despair, I felt his grace. It was a profound and supernatural experience. I don’t know what else to call it but a miracle," he wrote.

Sting says he quit everything cold turkey after and has been sober ever since. 

He said he's grateful to still be performing at 62, even if only so that his kids can see him wrestle.

"Especially my daughter, Gracie. She was born a couple years after I got sober, and she completely missed all the WCW stuff. It’s only since I joined AEW that she’s really started to poke around YouTube and understand my career," he wrote.

Sting said working with the likes of CM Punk and Darby Allin is very special for him and that he enjoys hearing about how he influenced members of the AEW roster when they were younger. 

He specifically mentioned a moment with Private Party's Isiah Kassidy that touched him. Kassidy showed him a photo of the two of them at an autograph signing when Kassidy was only five years old. He told Sting that he was the reason he got into wrestling.  

"Even when I was at my absolute lowest, whenever I walked through that curtain, I felt that roar, that magic, that connection," Sting concluded. "There’s no faking it. Not in this business. Not in this life."