Mike Tyson spoke about his need to follow the tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous during a Friday chat with Todd Grisham on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights," and made it clear that, if he doesn't follow the steps as they are laid out for alcoholics, he won't make it.
His focus and intensity were clarified by his remarks at the postfight news conference after his debut as a fight promoter, on a card televised by ESPN, from the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y.
Tyson was talking about his meeting with Teddy Atlas, a trainer and mentor with whom he'd had a falling-out in 1982, when Atlas put a gun to the fighter's head after hearing Tyson had approached his niece in an aggressive fashion.
"I want to live a sober life, I don't want to die," Tyson said, addressing media at Turning Stone late Friday night. "I'm on the verge of dying because I'm a vicious alcoholic and I've been, um, wow ... this is some interesting stuff, I've been, um ... I haven't drank or took drugs in six days," he stated, his voice on the verge of cracking, as he held up six fingers for emphasis. "And for me, that's a miracle. I've been lying to everyone thinking I'm sober, but I'm not. This is my sixth day. I'm never gonna use again," he said, his voice cracking more.
Those in attendance applauded, and some stood, impressed with the frailty and honesty and rawness on display.
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