More than a year and a half after a near-fatal overdose, Lamar Odom is opening up about the terrifying moment he woke up in a hospital room after four days in a coma only to find himself face to face with his then-estranged (now ex-) wife Khloé Kardashian.
In an emotional first-person essay for The Players’ Tribune, the former Los Angeles Lakers star delved into his battle with drug addiction, which hit rock bottom on Oct. 13, 2015, the day he was rushed to the hospital after being found unconscious in a Nevada brothel.
“When I woke up in the hospital room in Nevada, I couldn’t move,” wrote Odom, 37. “I couldn’t talk. I was trapped inside my own body. My throat hurt like hell. I looked down and I had all these tubes coming out of my mouth.”
“So I panicked,” he said. “I started trying to pull them out, but I couldn’t because my hands were so weak. The nurses came running in to stop me. You ever had a really bad dream, where you’re trying to run away from a monster or some s—, and you just can’t run? Your legs don’t work like they should, and the monster is coming right behind you, and it’s like you’re in slow motion. That’s what it felt like.”
“I was laying there, looking up at the ceiling, and the doctors kept coming in and standing over me and saying some stuff,” he continued. “Then they’d leave. Then they’d come back. Leave, come back. Leave again, come back again. Or maybe I was just going in and out of sleep.”
At the time, Kardashian dropped everything and rushed to his side — something he himself could hardly believe, considering the strained state of their relationship at the time.
“My ex-wife was there in the room with me,” he recalled. “After all the s— I had done, I was surprised to see her. Honestly, that’s when I knew that I was probably in bad shape.”
Odom and Kardashian wed on Sept. 27, 2009 — one month to the day after they met (and nine days after getting engaged). In 2013, the marriage began to fall apart following the NBA star’s cheating scandal and drug relapse, and by December, Kardashian had filed for divorce.
In July 2015, both stars finally signed divorce papers, but because the judgment had not yet been entered in court by the time Odom was hospitalized, they were technically still legally married. As a result, Kardashian — who was making all of Odom’s medical decisions — ultimately opted to call off their protracted divorce proceedings.
Throughout his essay, Odom touched on how his drug addiction tore apart his marriage over the years.
“With cocaine especially, there’s a high, and then an emotional low,” he said. “So it’s like a roller coaster. You go high, and then you go low. High, low, high, low. After you do it, you feel shame. You think about all the reasons why you shouldn’t have done it. Then the cycle starts again.”
“That’s the thing people don’t understand,” he continued. “Anybody who’s lived a complicated, drug-infused life like I’ve lived knows the cycle — with women, cheating on my wife, s— like that. Nights when I should have been asleep. Nights when I stayed up sniffing coke. Lot of those nights. When your heart is beating fast. When you should know better. When you’re just riding that roller coaster, man.”
One of his “darkest” moments, he admits, was when Kardashian caught him doing drugs with another woman.
“I was in a motel room, getting high with this chick, and my wife (at the time) walked in,” he said. “That probably was like rock bottom. First of all I was in a motel. A motel.”
“I’m a millionaire. I’d made it out of Jamaica, Queens, and won two NBA titles,” he continued. “And I’m in a motel, with some random person, doing coke. But I just wanted to get high with this girl, and I had no other place to go. I couldn’t take her home. You know, I was being a scumbag. Nothing else I got for that. No excuses. No bulls—. That’s just the truth.”
“My d— and my habit took me down all the roads that you don’t ever wanna go down,” he admitted. “A lot of great men are fools to that.”
In late May 2016, Kardashian, 33, filed for divorce for a second time. The proceedings were officially finalized in December, and the stars have since gone their separate ways: Odom is continuing to focus on his recovery after a stint in rehab last year, and Kardashian has been dating Cleveland Cavaliers player Tristan Thompson since September.
Most recently, Odom opened up to Wendy Williams about his relationship with his ex-wife, admitting that even if given the opportunity, he would never get back together with her.
“I say that with no offense to her,” he explained. “That would be the best for both of us. We have to keep our distance.”
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.