Michael Phelps Recovery Creates Hope for Teen Addiction

Michael Phelps is back in the game. He’s going to his fifth round of Olympic Games, which he qualified for by dominating the 200-meter butterfly–a feat he called the hardest swim of his life. Phelps will be the first American male to attend five Olympics. This win was not just a victory in the pool, it was a metaphorical victory over his own personal struggles.
Phelps was struggling with alcoholism and drunk driving, but he decided to reach out for treatment. His story of strife and victory sends a positive message to young people grappling with substance use: It is possible. NPR recently covered his battle and story of overcoming.

Everyone has rough patches, even Olympic athletes

Phelps’ life seems perfect now: he’s engaged, he has a child, and he has tons of medals. It wasn’t always that way, though. He describes the large difference in him after being sober for a year:
“I see a complete change in my body. [I have a] completely clear head. [I] don’t have a headache which is really awesome sometimes when you wake up. I’m actually happy every day. I’m actually able to be productive every day. That’s something I’m very proud of.”
The six weeks he spent in a treatment facility in Arizona changed his life. He had struggled without the structure of swimming after leaving the sport for good–but now he’s sober, feels recovered, and is ready to take one last stand in the Olympics.

Sends positive message to those struggling with teen addiction

People all over the world–young and old–watch the Olympic Games. Many look up to Phelps, not just for his athletic accomplishments now, but also for his determination to work through his issues and overcome them. Those struggling with teen addiction are often looked at as young people doomed to repeat the same mistakes and become burdens. Phelps stands as a golden example of a young person being able to overcome their challenges–whether that’s alcoholism or teen addiction.
There’s a large stigma against getting help for issues like mental illness or addiction. The act of him seeking treatment and praising what it did for him can help others reach out for support, too. Hopefully, Phelps story of treatment will inspire those struggling with adult and teen addiction to come out and look for the treatment they need.

Trails Carolina can help

Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling youth, ages 10-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, and other behavioral challenges.
For more information about how Trails Carolina treats teen addiction, please call 800-975-7303 today!
Image Source: Flickr user- marcopako
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Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: https://trailscarolina.com/common-ground-podcast/ With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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