Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Jamie Braidwood

Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘couldn’t go without drink and drugs’ and reveals biggest regret

Getty Images

Ronnie O’Sullivan has revealed he could not go without alcohol and drugs during his battle with addiction and said he went out “every day and every night” for six years.

In an interview with the Stick to Football podcast, the seven-time World Snooker Champion said he “hated” himself during his last three years of his addiction and had to lock himself in his room to get clean.

The 47-year-old, whose struggles with substance abuse are explored in his new documentary The Edge of Everything, also said his “biggest regret” was drinking to get through “bad times”.

O’Sullivan, who was speaking with Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Roy Keane and Ian Wright, revealed: “I was going out all the time. Every day and every night constantly for six years. There would be a time when I’d need to get clean as I had a tournament coming up, where I’d lock myself at home as I couldn’t say no.

“When I was going out, I couldn’t play a round of golf without having a few drinks and a couple of spliffs in my pocket because I didn’t have the confidence to be myself. That is when I thought that I was in trouble.

“I had three TVs in my hotel room for different things as I didn’t want to go out and face people, so that is when I needed to get this sorted. I phoned someone from a drugs helpline, they got me into a priory and I got clean.

“I couldn’t train well during that time. It was the worst time of my life when I think about it. The first two or three years it was fun, but in the last three years it wasn’t fun anymore and I felt like I had let myself down. I hated myself and that was when I couldn’t look at myself.

“I had great nights out with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, and a lot of them turned into days out – they knew how to party. I thought I was good and reckless, but they had it down to a tee where they had a different drink for different times of the day, then they’d sleep for two or three hours and go again.

“My biggest regret was picking up a drink and a substance to get through my bad times, and it got out of hand. I think that’s why I feel grateful for everything I’ve got now because I remember those six years with people telling me they were going to get me out of it at the time, and I was going to be happy and clean and playing snooker.

“I remember those times, so I know to be grateful that I’ve come out the other end because a lot of people don’t. You see plenty of sports people who don’t get back from that bad place and keep going downhill.”

O’Sullivan, who is currently playing in the UK Championships in York, discusses his mental health issues throughout his new documentary and says it was “harrowing” to watch back his problems with addiction in his 20s.

In response, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane said: “As Ronnie was saying, you need to throw the towel in and must stop. It might not be a particular day for people, it might get to a stage where you’re not enjoying it anymore, you get to a tipping point or might hit rock bottom and that you’re upsetting the people around you – sometimes it’s as easy as that but you have to get there.

“You talk about having regrets but sometimes you need to go to these dark places. You need to hit rock bottom and you had great times, but when you’re not enjoying it anymore then it’s time to throw the towel in.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan was speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.