Published on February 4th, 2017 | by Pro Wrestling Stories0
Kurt Angle: STRONG
A ProWrestlingStories.com Exclusive Interview
PWS: You turned your life experiences into a really big positive with your new addiction and recovery management app called AngleStrong. What was the catalyst that brought the idea of this together?
KURT ANGLE: There have been other recovery apps out there but nothing like the AngleStrong app. I teamed up with Dr. Harold Jonas who is a recovering addict of over thirty years. He came up with the app. He was the one who created it. The great thing about this app is that it holds you accountable for what you do every day. You check in every day. If you don’t check in, your lifeline – your loved ones, your sponsor, your family members – they get notified. It’s one of those things that if you’re not doing so well, at least you have loved ones around you that are attached to you and know what is going on in your life. It has so many great features. It’s GPS enabled, so if you’re going to relapse, we’re going to find you. It’s an incredible app and I think Dr. Jonas has done an incredible job with it.
Right now it’s not available on the IOS phone because we’re still getting our deals done with Apple, but for the Android, it’s available on GooglePlay. We started this about a month ago and we’re getting a great response. If you want to sign up for the AngleStrong Initiative, you can go to AngleStrong.com. That’s our website.
PWS: The wonderful thing is you can have loved ones and family members connect to this, so everybody is in on this journey together.
KURT ANGLE: Yes, absolutely. We encourage the loved ones and the family members and sponsors to engage with the recovering addicts without being overbearing. We don’t want people breathing down their necks, but we want them to be engaged so that they are a part of it. You know this as well as I do, ninety percent of the time, recovering addicts relapse when they are isolated. We want to take that isolation away to a certain degree so that they know that people are looking out for them and that it’s not just me and AngleStrong, but it’s their family members and loved ones as well.
PWS: Are people able to connect with you through the app?
KURT ANGLE: Yes, eventually. Once we get approved through the Apple store, which should be very soon, I’m going to be doing a monthly video call with all the AngleStrong Initiative members. So every member will be able to see me on video answering questions and giving a monthly speech.
We have a great thing on the AngleStrong website where we have positive daily messages, workout routines, things to better your life. Also, if you’re looking for AA meetings, which I highly encourage the twelve-steps, even though this is not a twelve-step, this is for everyone. You know, AA meetings which are close to you, rehab centers that are better suited for you, whatever you need. We’re trying to fulfill everybody’s needs with the AngleStrong app.
PWS: How much does AngleStrong cost to buy?
KURT ANGLE: We have narrowed it down to $30 a month, $1 a day. Dr. Jonas put it like this, he said, “Listen, it’s not the cheapest app in the world but it’s worth every penny and it beat’s the cost of going to rehab or a counselor every week if your insurance doesn’t cover it.”
This is the whole deal. This is everything. I’m going to be a counselor and I’m going to walk through this with you.
PWS: What you’re doing is inspiring and encouraging. If your story and your app can change one person’s life, then everything you have gone through was worth it.
KURT ANGLE: Yes, absolutely. I have had a lot of turmoil in my life. It’s been very difficult to accept it. That’s one thing that I’ve had to learn, to accept everything.
I’m not in this to make any money. This is just me trying to help other people because the epidemic has gotten so bad, especially with opioids. Sixty-thousand people died in the last two years from opioid overdoses. There are twenty-one million Americans with a drug disorder and only ten percent of them go to rehab. Of that ten percent that go to rehab, only five percent stay in recovery, so you have 2.1 million people that go to rehab every year and one hundred thousand are the only ones that stay in recovery. It has to change.
PWS: It does have to change. What you’re doing is going to save lives. We both know too well the power of drugs and the importance rehab plays in the lives of those addicted. Having this app keeps people accountable while also letting people know that they are not alone and that there are others out there rooting for them. I think it’s quite wonderful what you’re doing.
KURT ANGLE: I appreciate that, man. I’m really looking forward to helping people out.
You know, my wrestling career is almost over. I was meddling into an acting career when I thought, “What do I really want to do?” God put me in this direction. He said, “You have experienced all of this. You have a great story. It’s not a happy story, but it’s a good one that you can tell people and you can relate to other people that are struggling from this.”
I’ve been very blessed. When I was in rehab, the thing that was always going through my mind was, “They keep telling me that I can never take a drug again. I can’t handle this! They’re telling me never? I can’t promise anyone I can do that!”
“You have experienced all of this. You have a great story. It’s not a happy story, but it’s a good one that you can tell people and you can relate to other people that are struggling from this.”
I think I just took the basic step of I’ll stay clean today. I’m not going to worry about yesterday or tomorrow. I’m just going to do it today and I feel good today! The worst feeling in the world is that withdrawal feeling. Knowing that I don’t have that anymore, it just makes me feel good. I don’t have to worry about that anymore. I’m free, I’m not a prisoner of these drugs. I used to have to worry about how I was going to get the drugs for the next day. That’s what consumed me. I can’t believe I had as great a professional wrestling career as I did because all I was thinking about was, “How am I going to get the drugs for tomorrow?” And that’s what we all do. Us addicts, we all do this. We worry about how we’re going to get high again so we don’t have to hit that withdrawal effect. It’s not even about getting high anymore once you’ve done it for a while. It’s about, “How do I refrain from getting withdrawal?” It’s the toughest thing in the world.
I just talked to a lady today, this is crazy, I just talked with her and she met me at church. She said to me, “Two of my kids are struggling. They’re on opioids. They’re now taking Methadone,” which is horrible.
She said, “I don’t know how to get these kids off of them.”
I said, “What are you doing?”
She replied, “Well, I got them an apartment and they live in it.”
I was like, “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? Why would you want to get them an apartment? You’re enabling them!”
They don’t even drive, she takes them to the methadone clinic every day.
I said, “You have to stop. Get them in rehab.”
Methadone doesn’t work. Yes, it gets you off the big drugs, but it’s another drug and they’re going to have to go through withdrawals with that, too. That’s all they worry about is getting to the methadone clinic every day.
“Get them into rehab, check them in, have them go through withdrawal and have them stay the entire time. If you don’t stay the entire time of rehab and you just check out after going through detox, you’re going to go back again.”
I saw it. I was there. I witnessed it. I went through it. I saw people coming back. At least eight different people came back within that month. They left after they had gone through detox. That isn’t enough. You need to stay the entire time so you learn how to get clean, you learn about your disease and you’re going to be able to be well-suited. But there is no aftercare after rehab. There is only AA meetings and counseling. That’s why the AngleStrong app is here so that we have aftercare after rehab.
PWS: Like you said, it’s one day at a time. It’s good to get this message out there so that hopefully those who need to hear it most make the choice that could ultimately save their lives.