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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Johnny Manziel opens up about struggles with alcohol abuse, bipolar disorder

It has been more than two years since Johnny Manziel played in an NFL game for the Cleveland Browns, and the former first-round pick says a lot has happened in his life since. That includes being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

In an interview with “Good Morning America” that aired on Monday morning, Manziel opened up about his struggles with alcohol use and depression. He also revealed that he is now making his mental health “a priority in my life” and is taking medication to treat bipolar disorder.

“I am taking medication for bipolar, and I am working to try to make sure I don’t fall back into any type of depression, because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me,” Manziel said. “At the end of the day, I can’t help that my wires are a little bit differently crossed than yours. I can’t help my mental makeup or the way that I was created.”

Manziel is not using the diagnosis as an excuse, however. He was very honest about the sense of entitlement he had after enjoying so much success early on in his career with Texas A&M, admitting that his parents were embarrassed and that his mother once confronted him about his partying antics.

“For a while I got so ingrained, caring only about what Johnny wanted, only caring what mattered to me, what made me happy,” Manziel said. “When I look back at it now, even when I thought I was doing what I wanted, I was miserable.”

Manziel said the biggest reason he drank so much was because he was depressed.

“I was self-medicating with alcohol. That’s what I thought would make me happy and get out of that depression,” he explained. “When I would wake up the next day after a night like that, going on a trip like that, and you wake up the next day and that is all gone, that liquid courage, or that liquid … sense of euphoria that is over you, is all gone.

“You are left staring at the ceiling by yourself, and in that depression and back in that hole, that dark hole of sitting in a room by yourself, super depressed, thinking about all the mistakes you made in your life. What did that get me? Where did that get me except out of the NFL? Where did that get me? Disgraced?”

As expected, Manziel confirmed that his ultimate goal is to get back to the NFL. He said it has been painful to watch NFL players do what he wants to be doing and could have been doing while he is “sitting on a couch being a loser.”

You can view the full interview with “GMA” below:

Because he has screwed up so many times, Manziel has lost the benefit of the doubt. Having said that, he’s still just 25 and time is on his side. Manziel seems determined to rehab his image, and he has launched his own clothing brand and recently received a warm welcome when he was honored by his alma mater. He is still in the process of negotiating a contract with a CFL team, and we know of at least one other football opportunity that could become available to Manziel in the coming years.

The NFL seems like a long shot, but we have seen comeback success stories like Michael Vick’s in the past. It’s not impossible.

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