Hope Solo returned to her podcast after a short hiatus to reflect on the lessons she learned from her recent DWI arrest and rehab stay.
On March 31, the former soccer player was arrested in Winston-Salem, N.C., after police found her asleep in a vehicle at a Walmart parking lot with her and husband Jerramy Stevens' 2-year-old twins, Lozen and Vittorio, in the backseat. In July, Solo pleaded guilty to driving while impaired, while charges of resisting arrest and misdemeanor child abuse were dismissed.
Now, on the Aug. 18 episode of her podcast Hope Solo Speaks, the 41-year-old spoke about the incident and called it "the biggest mistake of my life."
"I let alcohol get the better of me in a decision that I will never live down," she continued, "a decision that has come as a great cost to me and my family."
A month after her arrest, the former U.S. women's national soccer team goalkeeper announced she would be "voluntarily entering an inpatient alcohol treatment program" to address "her challenges with alcohol."
The World Cup champion also asked for her induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, originally set to take place in May, to be deferred until 2023.
For her guilty plea to DWI, Solo was given a suspended sentence of 24 months and an active sentence of 30 days, which she was given credit for with the time she spent in rehab. She was also fined $2,500, cover the cost of $600 worth of lab tests and ordered to undergo a substance abuse assessment, complete all suggested treatments and surrender her driver's license.
"Entering myself into treatment, awaiting the legal system, dealing with international and national headlines, cancelling my attendance at the Hall of Fame induction, it seemed embarrassment compounded on top of embarrassment," she recalled on her podcast. "There were many days and nights of crying uncontrollably to having my very first panic attack. The thought of leaving my family behind to fend for themselves was almost unbearable."
Solo also talked about turning to alcohol after suffering fatigue and isolation following her and her husband's move from Washington State to North Carolina—and away from friends and family—during the pandemic.
"We both were exhausted, day in and day out," she said. "Winding down with a drink was nice and it's what we looked forward to doing and well, the drinking slowly increased. We found that it eased the stresses of our everyday lives and we felt that we had the right to do so. We never drink and drove. We never went in public and we woke up every morning to handle our business. I was foolish to think that I had it under control."
Solo said her experience in treatment was "both awful and great," adding that the day before she entered the facility, she experienced her first panic attack. She said that the morning she left to begin her rehab stay, her twins "waved goodbye with Grandma on our front lawn."
She added, "Watching my kids wave, knowing they had no idea how long I would be gone, not understanding that I won't be returning that evening or the next day, broke my heart. I smiled and waved out the window, then bawled when I could no longer see them around the bend."
She and her husband made up a story for her children to explain their mother's absence. "We had decided to tell the kids that Mama was going fishing," the athlete said. She added that she spoke to her family remotely while in treatment.
Solo said that she was one of eight women treated at the facility. As she checked in, she was drug tested and her luggage was shifted through and thrown into a dryer. She said she broke down in tears at her first communal meal.
"Today," she said on her podcast, "I am grateful for my 30 days away to read, think, pray, mediate and learn."
Solo continued, "There is no shame if we struggle with alcohol or addiction. Thank you to the beautiful men and women who taught me this."