Ronnie O’Sullivan said there are “massive gaps” in his life that he lost to alcohol and drug addictions.
The 47-year-old, seven-time world champion struggled with alcohol, drugs and mental health problems throughout his career.
He lost his 1998 Irish Masters title after he tested positive for cannabis, and had a spell in rehab in 2000 for substance abuse.
“I lost six, seven years to drinking and taking cannabis. Then four years of dealing with stuff away from the table which I didn’t deal with very well.
“I wasn’t focusing on snooker. But I suppose everyone has those problems, but there’s 10 years there where I didn’t really do much. I didn’t practise much, I didn’t have the headspace to win.”
O’Sullivan is an inconsistent figure at the table these days, sometimes producing form close to the best of his career, and at other times playing well below par.
“I lost my personality and confidence and needed to take substances just to feel like I could socialise,” added O’Sullivan. “Then you get clean, and you become awkward in social situations and you think ‘how do I deal with these situations?’ You get a bit anxious and it started to affect me in certain ways. How do I live clean?
“It was weird – I had to learn to do all that stuff again. It took time but once I got there, I realised you have to carve out a different life for yourself. Maybe I’m not suited for X, Y and Z.
“My happy place is going running in the morning and I go out with my running friends, and I’m cool with that. Put me in an environment where there’s lots of people and I run for the corner.”
Exclusive: O’Sullivan must have ‘better year’ next season or ‘you won’t be seeing me’
O’Sullivan has famously turned to running in order to help his mental health; has discussed enjoying snooker more than putting pressure on himself to succeed.
“I always loved my sport and that’s what’s most important to me. That strips away any temptations of going out,” he said.
“I think going to rehab taught me happiness is an inside job, which I truly believe. So since that moment in 2000, I’ve always believed that.”
– – –
Read the full article here