Ric Flair’s Battle With Depression and Alcoholism

Ric Flair Was a Famous Wrestler, but Still Had to Wrestle Life

We sometimes think that the rich and famous have it all, but that isn’t always true. This is the case with Ric Flair. Throughout his career, Ric Flair battled depression, anxiety, and alcoholism. The biggest opponent he had to face in the ring was himself.

Ric Flair Survived a Plane Crash and Wrestled 40+ Years More

In 1975, a devastating plane crash left Ric Flair with his back broken in three places. The crash also paralyzed his tag team partner, Johnny Valentine. Ric Flair spent eight months in rehab to be able to walk again. Johnny Valentine couldn’t be his tag team partner due to the accident, but Johnny’s son, Greg Valentine, took his spot. Ric had to face a debilitating accident where he was told may never walk again, let alone wrestle anymore. He faced the realization that he couldn’t do what he loved, but he fought it and wrestled as he fought throughout his life. 

After his plane crash, Ric Flair spent time in physical therapy. As part of the rehab, he did 250 push ups, 500 free squats and 200 sit ups. This injury altered the way he wrestled as, mentally, it was hard for him to fall down. He landed on his side all the time because he couldn’t get himself to fall down. 

He soon started drinking heavily, going from the bar to the gym, the gym to the bar. He nearly quit because the rehab was too hard, but he persisted anyway. Eventually, he took on a new attitude after the accident and lived life to the fullest. This is where his manic behavior picked up as he drank hard and spent a lot of money building his image. Flair wrote in his autobiography that he spent $60,000 a year just on limousines in the 70s and 80s. He also had eighty-two speeding tickets and he couldn’t drive anymore. 

However, his negative doubts about his wrestling started in 1989 as Jim Herd, the WCW president, wanted to change Flair’s name to Spartacus. The name change came with an image change, where Flair’s head would be shaved and he would wear an earring. He resisted and went to the WWE calling himself “The Real World’s Champion.” This was the first time he would have bouts of depression and not the last. 

About eight years later, during WCW Nitro, Ric Flair was in a mental hospital with Scott Hall. In the skit, Ric Flair had delusions that he was President of the United States where he was only President of WCW. Eric Bischoff ran the company then, but Kevin Nash was one of the bookers for WCW then. (A booker is someone who writes the storylines for the match in and out of the ring.) Even though it was not condoned to have storylines like this on wrestling then, they were being creative to show that they had problems . I think it would have been better if they built on the storyline, but they never did. Storyline or not, Ric Flair did face his fair share of problems from mental health to physical ailments.

Ric Flair Tells the Story of His Alcoholism and Depression

After WCW closed, it was said that Ric Flair lost his confidence. He wasn’t himself after WCW. He was older and couldn’t perform in the ring as well as he did. It never bothered him to wrestle younger wrestlers, but as time went on, he became more depressed and numb with anxiety. He had some matches where he had to pinch his hands to make his body more responsive. He had the help of his friend, Triple H, who noticed that Ric Flair wasn’t the same as before. He was missing something. Triple H devised a plan to help Ric Flair out where he, Randy Orton, and Batista would join a group called “Evolution,” an homage to Ric Flair’s old group “The Four Horsemen.” As a result of Evolution’s success, Ric Flair was back. 

Ric Flair’s wrestling career ended in the ring ended it 2011, but in 2013 tragedy struck as his son, Reid Flair, passed away. As a result, Ric’s drinking got worse, and he nearly was drinking fifteen drinks a day before nearly dying. 

Ric Chopped Death and Survived to Tell the Tale

At its highest, Flair’s binge-drinking led him to consume upwards of twenty drinks a day. In 2017, Ric Flair went into a coma and experienced collapsing of his organs. After surviving the coma, Flair said, “I’ll never drink again. I never want to go through this again.”

Though Ric Flair denies drinking while he was wrestling, he was in denial about being an alcoholic. This is because, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, there are about three million functional alcoholics in America and nearly 75% of those who abuse drugs and alcohol are employed. And unfortunately, Ric Flair’s alcoholism fueled his depression as well.

In 2017, Ric Flair could have tapped out from coma, but a greater purpose came alive in him to overcome his demons. Even though some of them are still there, Flair persists in life facing adversity. He may not be perfect and made many mistakes in life, but Ric challenged death and survived to tell the tale.

It was Ric Flair vs. Ric Flair time and time again. He survived death, and depression nearly ruined him many times, but his willpower and love for friends and family has kept him going.