Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps revealed that Pastor Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life” saved him from committing suicide two years ago.
According to ESPN, the most decorated Olympian of all time checked himself into rehab at The Meadows in October last year and became known as “Preacher Mike” because he read fellow patients at the clinic the Christian book “The Purpose Driven Life” every start of the day.
The megachurch pastor and best-selling author responded to the news by rooting for the 31-year-old swimmer, who’ll be competing in Rio de Janeiro for this summer Olympics, which started Friday.
“I’m proud of @MichaelPhelps for his victories even before the Olympics begin. Excited he’ll be carrying the flag for the US,” wrote Pastor Warren on Facebook.
Phelps admitted that he went through a dark period in his life two years ago as he tried to figure out his worth outside the swimming pool.
“I thought the world would just be better off without me,” ESPN quoted Phelps as saying. “I figured that was the best thing to do — just end my life.”
So the athlete turned to alcohol and eventually got caught driving under the influence (DUI) for the second time in September 2014. This led to his suspension from the USA swimming team for six months.
“I sent myself down a downward spiral,” Phelps told Today’s Matt Lauer in an interview. “I think it was more of, of a sign than anything else.”
“That I had to get something under control, whatever it was. I look back at that night, and everything happened for a reason,” he added.
He considered his decision to check himself for treatment in a clinic at Arizona as a sign that he’s finally willing to be just himself. Now, Phelps said he’s ready to move on from his swimming career.
Although before that, he said he’s eager to take on Rio first. He added that he wants to retire by giving his 100 percent.