Michael Chopra has recently opened up about his struggles with gambling addiction, his road to recovery, and the help he received from Roy Keane.
Career, Big Break and Addiction
Former professional soccer player Michael Chopra recently opened up about his problems with gambling addiction and the difficult road to recovery. He thanked Manchester United legend Roy Keane for helping him put his life back on track. Now, Mr. Chopra wants to reach out and help others also struggling with gambling addiction.
The former Sunderland striker has had a long and prolific soccer career. He joined Newcastle United in 2000 at the age of 17. After a few years with the team, he signed for Cardiff City in 2006 and then to Sunderland the following year. The £5 million Sunderland deal was Chopra’s big break. It is also then, at the age of 23, that he got a taste for gambling.
Chopra, who turned 36 this year, says that he lost thousands of pounds to his gambling addiction, which only worsened once he moved back to Cardiff City in 2009. He entered rehab in July 2008 and then again in October 2011. In December of the same year, Ipswich Town gave Chopra £250,000 to help cover the gambling debt he had accumulated over time.
Confronting Addiction and Recovery
Chopra’s is one of many professional athletes struggling or recovering from problem gambling. His road to recovery was long and difficult but rewarding, as it would be for anyone suffering from the addiction.
The first step is the most crucial but also the hardest. Chopra has spoken at length about the man that first reached out to him – Manchester United legend Roy Keane. The two met when Chopra was 23, during his stay with Sunderland.
According to Chopra, he was at first a bit frightened and intimidated by Keane but a friendship quickly developed. Chopra says that Keane opened up about his own mistakes and regrets and that the two talked regularly about life and their struggles.
While Keane has a bit of a severe reputation as the then-captain of Manchester United, Chopra says that he was a different person off the field. It was Keane who pushed Chopra to get the help and support he needed to begin the long recovery process.
“That was all down to Roy. He was the one that got me help first.”-former professional soccer player Michael Chopra
A Global Problem
Problem gambling, just like any other form of addiction, is a hard challenge to tackle alone. The most important thing anyone facing addiction can do is reach out for help. Addiction can ruin a person’s life and the lives of those around them if not treated in time.
This year has seen a substantial increase in problem gambling across the globe. This development is of course a consequence of the ongoing pandemic. Among other things, it fuels financial worries and gradually pushes susceptible individuals deeper into addiction.
If you or a loved one are struggling with gambling addiction, please reach out for help. The road to recovery is long so it’s best to start early.