“All I Wanted to Do Was Go to a Bar and Get Wasted”: Michael Phelps’ Sister Shares How She Coped With the Heartbreaking Loss of Their Father

Published 01/20/2023, 8:45 AM EST

As swimming legend, Michael Phelps‘ elder sister Hilary Phelps celebrates her triumph for staying away from alcohol for 15 long years, the former swimmer could not help but talk about the devastating news of her father’s demise. Trying to cope with the heartbreaking loss, Hilary reflected on how she wanted to return back to alcohol in an attempt to reduce the pain.

Speaking her heart out for the first time, Phelps’ sister discusses the otherwise hushed topic with the utmost sincerity and honesty.

Michael Phelps’ sister reflects on grieving through her father’s demise 


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Hilary was just 14 years old when she first came into contact with alcohol. With little knowledge about the horrors it can unleash, the teen found herself chained in the shackles of alcoholism. However, she soon realized the situation and was quick to seek help. Though she remained quiet and kept the story to herself, terming it her “secret.” The 44-year-old was soon to open up.

October 2022 came heavy on the Phelps family as Fred Phelps left for his heavenly abode. Trying to come to terms with the harsh reality, Hilary confessed to the team of TODAY, “after he died, all I wanted to do was go to a bar and get wasted — to numb the pain.” Talking about the close bond that they shared, Phelps’ sister remarked she tried her best to make the best of the resources and stay sober without relapsing.


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Hilary credits Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for saving her life. She talked about how AA helped her to get back on life by teaching various coping mechanisms and introducing her to a different perspective on drinking. With time, she eventually got happy and comfortable in her own skin.

Triumphing through the difficult time

Battling through alcoholism and staying sober for fifteen long years is no less of a triumph. There was a point in life, as Hilary remarks, when herskin started to crawl,” and she felt anxious. Unaware of any better way to cope, all she could remember was the next thing she was “in the bathroom downing a bottle of NyQuil. Talking about the horrors, she remarked, “that’s what this disease does to you.”


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Needless to say, her battle with alcoholism, which statistics reveal affects 15 million people only in America, was never easy. Had she not been influenced by Phelps, her story would have never seen the day’s light. Drawing inspiration from her little brother, Hilary, back in 2022, she decided to tell her story to the world.


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Since then, Hilary has remained a strong advocate for fighting alcoholism. Sharing her journey, she inspires people with a moral lesson. So, what do you have to share about Hilary’s journey? Let us know in the comment section below!



Mubhaswara Ahamed

681 articles

Mubhaswara Ahamed is currently working as a US Sports Author for Essentially Sports. She completed her Grad degree in English Literature from Calcutta University. Mubhaswara was introduced to the world of sports by her father.

Edited By: Abhishek Kumar