Former Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland opens up about 'horrendous time' addicted to painkillers

Former Liverpool and England keeper Chris Kirkland heads up mental health campaign
Chris Kirkland played for Liverpool between 2001–2006, making 45 appearances. Credit: PA Images

Former goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has revealed he has suffered with a painkiller addiction for nearly 10 years.

Posting an emotional video to Twitter the former Liverpool, Wigan, Preston and Bury player said it had "messed him up".

The father of one added he even considered taking his life in February this year while struggling with the secret addiction to the painkiller tramadol.

Kirkland, who still lives in Lancashire, was previously English football’s most expensive goalkeeper when he signed for Liverpool in 2001.

He said his addiction started in 2013 while he was playing for Sheffield Wednesday, with the painkiller tablets taking hold of his mental health and bringing on depression.

The 41-year-old revealed that he has been struggling with his addiction for nearly 10 years, and had two failed attempts to stop twice in the past.

He said: "It's been a horrendous time, not just for me but for my wife and daughter too.

"They've had their husband and their dad, but they haven't really, I've not been there. They've [painkillers] messed me up completely.

"As we stand I feel fantastic. I went cold turkey and got off them five months ago. Leeona, my wife, was just incredible.

"She was checking on me at night, it was a horrendous week - so painful. She was there for me every single step of the way, she's an absolute diamond.

"This is the third time that I've got off painkillers, and hopefully I will stay off them.

"You can't carry this. I feel like I've been a fraud at times because I'm not telling the truth.

"Obviously it's affecting my mental health massively, and I need it out there to help my recovery and to help people."

Kirkland played four Champions League matches in Liverpool's 2005 campaign but was injured for the final in in Istanbul. Credit: Liverpool FC

In his video, Kirkland encouraged people to tell friends, family and to get your addiction out in the open in order for more people to be able to help.

He added: "You can’t carry it. I felt like a fraud at times for not telling the truth. You can’t do it on your own, you have to ask for help".

Kirkland works for a charity in his local community and remains a visitor to Anfield, the ground he first went to as a seven-year-old before being signed by Gérard Houllier.

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