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Michael Phelps

Al Bello/Getty Images

Michael Phelps isn't letting past demons affect his chance at another gold medal. 

Back in the pool at the U.S. championships in San Antonio this week, the Olympian told reporters he's taken multiple steps to get back on track following last September's second DUI arrest that slapped Phelps with a six-month suspension from the USA Swimming team and restricted his chance at competing in Russia at the world championships. 

In addition to enrolling in a 6-week inpatient program and Alcoholics Anonymous, Phelps said he's omitting drinking from his life until after the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro—what would be the fourth games for Phelps throughout his 22-time medal winning career. 

Michael Phelps

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

"Before I even went to court, I said to myself that I'm not going to drink until after Rio—if I ever drink again," he said. "That was a decision I made for myself. I'm being honest with myself. Going into 2008 and 2012, I didn't do that. I didn't say I was going to take a year off from drinking and not have a drink."

After getting engaged to former Miss California USA Nicole Johnson in February and turning 30 in June, the star athlete says "there are so many positives" to sobriety and now has "a completely clear head."

 "If I'm going to come back, I need to do this the right way," Phelps shared. "I've got to put my body in the best physical shape I can possibly get it in."

Michael Phelps

Adam Pretty/Getty Images

For Phelps, giving up alcohol means more than just remaining on top of the medal podium. It's about changing his life for good. 

"I feel like people think I'm more approachable now than I ever was," he continued. "I feel like I am OK and I am happy with who I am. I feel like I've learned so much about myself, who I truly am. I can honestly say there aren't many people in this world who have seen who I really am."

ESPYs host Joel McHale had some fun at Lindsey Vonn's expense. Find out how the Olympic athlete about it at Nickelodeon's 2015 Kids' Choice Sports Awards.