BOXER Kenny Egan has spoken candidly of his downward spiral after winning a silver medal at the Beijing Olympic Games, admitting he would have gone professional had be been sober at the time.
The 31-year-old revealed how his life changed utterly when he arrived home after the 2008 win.
"Some say for the good, some say for the bad, I say a bit of both," he said.
Kenny, who was speaking at the sixth Biennial Family Support conference on Engagement and Participation in Family Support at NUI, Galway, told how he finally dealt with his drinking because of his mother Maura.
"She didn't sleep well for two years after the Olympics until I became sober," he said.
The Dubliner said it took a visit to a graveyard before he sought help when his mother brought him to the graves of his two older brothers who died as infants.
"She was on her knees, plucking the grass away from the graves and she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and saying, 'Kenneth, if you don't stop, you'll end up in this grave'," he recalled.
Egan, who was speaking at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre Conference at NUI, Galway, said part of the problem was the lack of structures in place within the Amateur Boxing Association to help him deal with his win.
"I don't blame anyone on this, it was mostly my own fault, but there was no structure set up if anyone was a success in the Olympic Games."
He revealed that following his win, he was inundated with offers to go professional, but failed to take any of them seriously because he was drinking so heavily at the time.
Speaking of his battle with drink, the boxer revealed how he would go on week-long binges believing he had earned the right to celebrate.
"I said I was going to treat myself to a few pints, I felt it was my right, two years later I ended up in AA," he added.
The boxer admitted that he will battle alcoholism for the rest of his life, but insisted: "My best achievement in the ring was my silver medal but my best achievement outside the ring was staying sober. I will be an alcoholic until the day I die."