‘I went through the shivers and the shakes’
FORMER Aussie basketball star Lauren Jackson has detailed the struggles she faced waning herself off painkilling drugs in retirement while revealing a comeback to the court could be on the cards next year.
The four-time Olympian and seven-time WNBA All-Star was forced into retirement in 2016 by a lingering knee injury which derailed her plans to compete at the Rio Olympic Games that year.
Having taken pain medication throughout her career to manage various injuries, Jackson went cold turkey in retirement and said she became a "different person" as a result.
In a documentary to air on Fox Sports on Wednesday night, the 2001 WNBA No.1 draft pick said she also struggled with her support network falling away post-career and shelved plans to set up life in a kombi van and "do nothing for three years" because she needed reason to get out of bed in the morning.
"Once you stop, you actually don't have a support network. You don't," Jackson said.
"And I think that for me was one of the big wake up calls.
"I woke up and realised, 'Well nobody gives a s..., nobody cares if I wake up this morning or not'.
"I was off everything, too. I was completely drug free.
"I took it as prescribed but it was just so constant for so many years.
"I suppose you'd liken it to coming off any drug. It took a couple of weeks and I went through the shivers and the shakes and I couldn't get out of bed and that was really, really difficult but I got through it.
"I was a different person pretty much within a month or two, a completely different person.
"I attribute a lot of that too all the medication I'd been taking my whole career.
"You sort of become dependent on that stuff and I don't think you realise what it does to your body and your mind until you come off it and you think, 'Wow, I actually remember what I did yesterday'."
Jackson, 37, gave birth to her first child, Harrison, last February and has a second child due in January.
Spending time back around family in her hometown of Albury, Jackson has taken on the head coach role of the Albury Wodonga women's SEABL team and hopes to return to the court with them next year.
"I'm going to start training again and see if I can suit up in SEABL," Jackson said.
"My knee's still pretty bad. I've got no ambition to get back into the WNBL or play for Australia or anything like that. I literally just want to be home and playing basketball in the stadium I grew up in with my kids running around the courts."
Lauren Jackson: In Her Element, Wed 10 October 7pm on FOX SPORTS (channel 505 on Foxtel)