RONNIE O’SULLIVAN admits he turned into a horrible person as he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.
And the seven-time world snooker champion admits he “lost seven years to alcohol and cannabis use” – and another four after that.
O’SullivanThe 47-year-old reveals that in the years leading up to entering rehab in 2000, he had become “an awkward person”.
His problems began at age 16 when his father, Ronnie Sr., was sentenced to life in prison for murder in 1992.
He served 18 years in prison before being released in November 2010.
In his new autobiography, O’Sullivan said: “Then the crazy seven years began. The tamers, the blackouts.
“When I was in the middle of the action, I lacked self-confidence.
“I was in the moment. I spent most of my time trying to fit in and do the things I thought I should be doing as a guy my age with some money.
“Clubs, girls, that’s what you do in clubs to impress girls. I thought you should do that. I wanted to be liked.
“That’s where the trouble begins. I tried to adapt and my personality started to change. Alcohol and drugs accelerated it.
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“I became an unpleasant person. A bit of attitude towards strangers as I imagined and that was never me.
“The alarm bells would only ring in certain situations. I was in a club surrounded by men I knew deep down were assholes doing the things I instinctively knew weren’t right.
“Something about the way they talked about women always broke through the mental fog. The way they treated women, the way those women seemed to love them in spite of everything.
“I’m a bit old-fashioned. I’m holding a door open for a woman. When I went out for drinks and it was late, I made sure a girl I was with got home safely.
“These men saw them as pieces of meat. I’ve watched these guys act like playboys and it stunned me.
“It made me feel physically ill. I have to get out of there.
“I’m so glad those days are behind me. I don’t recognize the person I was then, although I have some sympathy.
“I understand how you can be influenced if you get in the wrong crowd.
“I don’t want to be around drunk people. I’d rather lie in bed and watch Netflix.”
Running has become O’Sullivan’s solace.
The world No. 1 told BBC Radio: “I’ve lost seven years to alcohol and cannabis.” Then four more where I dabbled in things off the table that I wasn’t particularly good at.
“I lost my personality and my confidence. I felt like I had to take substances just to feel like I was connecting with others.
“I like going for a run in the morning and I think that’s cool.”
Unbreakable – Ronnie O’Sullivan published by Seven Dials, £22 is available now.