Two years ago, Michael Phelps, who has become the world’s most decorated Olympic champion, was on the verge of taking his life.
Phelps was at a low point after getting his second DUI arrest and suffering through a failed relationship. According to an ESPN report, committing suicide was looking like the best way out to him.
“I thought the world would just be better off without me,” Phelps said. “I figured that was the best thing to do — just end my life.”
Fortunately for Phelps, time in a treatment center helped him center himself, and, he says, a book by pastor Rick Warren helped him find a new outlook on life.
Phelps recounted the story in an interview with the “Today Show,” prior to the start of the Olympics, saying he entered a psychological trauma and addiction center in Arizona in October of 2015.
“I don’t know if it was, like, afraid of just letting go and showing who I am or what it was. And, and I finally was just, like, ‘You know what? Screw this. I’m not, I’m not hiding behind anything anymore. I am who I am. And, and you don’t like it, it’s really not my issue and it’s not my problem,” Phelps told “Today Show” host Matt Lauer.
It was at that treatment center, Phelps said, that he picked up a copy of Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life,” and began to read.
Phelps soon drew the nickname “Preacher Mike,” from fellow patients at the treatment center because he would often read them passages from the book, according to a story on ChristianPost.com. “The Purpose Driven Life” has sold some 30 million copies since it was published in 2002.
After hearing Phelps’ story, Warren tweeted that he was proud of him “for his victories before the Olympics.”