How The "Purpose Driven Life" Helped Saved Michael Phelps From Suicide

August 05, 2016Aug 05, 2016

He was at the top of the world. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has received more medals than any other Olympian. But beneath it all was a lot of unhappiness. And after a photo showing him smoking weed and two DUI's went very public, Phelps' life hit rock bottom, shares  Phelps told ESPN, “I was a train wreck. I was like a time bomb, waiting to go off. I had no self-esteem, no self worth. There were times where I didn’t want to be here. It was not good. I felt lost.”


The root of the pain stemmed from his parents' divorce and a broken relationship with his dad, whom Phelps felt abandoned him. "I felt like he was abandoning me and I didn’t put any energy into something I thought was a dead-end street,” said Phelps of his dad. The pain led him to self-medicate through drugs and partying, and after his 2nd DUI, he felt he had nothing to live for. "This is the end of my life… How many times will I mess up? Maybe the world would be better without me, people won’t have to deal with the BS or the crap I put them through," Phelps thought.

But his longtime friend, Ray Lewis, who had been through some rough things himself, felt pushed by God to call Phelps. Lewis sensed Phelps' despair and encouraged him to check into a rehab facility. “This is when we fight,” Lewis told Phelps. “This is when real character shows up. Don’t shut down. If you shut down we all lose.” He gave Phelps a copy of the "Purpose Driven Life."

Phelps called Lewis after reading the book for a few days and said: “Man this book is crazy! The thing that’s going on…oh my gosh…my brain, I can’t thank you freaking enough, man. You saved my life.” Phelps told ESPN of the book, “It’s turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet."

 Through the book's encouragement, Phelps reached out to his dad for reconciliation. They met up and have begun healing their broken relationship. “I didn’t want to have that what if. I didn’t want to go through life without having the chance to share emotions I wanted to share with him. That’s what I missed as a kid,” Phelps said.

Screen_Shot_2016-08-05_at_2.39.38_PM.png shares Phelps' current new life, full of hope: "In November 2014, Phelps left the Meadows rehab facility and resumed training for the Rio Olympics. Three months later he asked his longtime girlfriend, Nicole Johnson, to be his wife. On May 5th, 2016, Boomer Robert, their firstborn, came into the world."