During an interview discussing his fight with alcohol and drug addiction, Jake “The Snake” Roberts said he wanted to die at one point in recent years.
“I was pretty destined for that, it ran in my family,” Roberts told Daily Star.
“The actual reason it happened was because I was still hiding. You can’t spend your life hiding, you really can’t. It’s very hard to go through life having been sexually abused and try and keep that hidden from everybody.
“I was ashamed of being molested, I was ashamed of where I came from. It was horrible. I was on one hand this larger-than-life character, but in reality I was a very scared little boy that didn’t know what was going to happen to him next. The best way to get over it is to get a lot of counselling and bring that stuff to the light.”
Decades of wrestling and addiction went by combined with two divorces and eight estranged children. By 2012 his wrestling days had faded away and he found himself alone, grossly overweight and having resumed abusing substances.
He explained: “Life was very rough. I was doing drugs every day. I was doing cocaine and drinking at least 12 beers a day. I did cocaine to forget and then I did the alcohol to come down from the high of cocaine. It was total misery.
“I was waiting to die. And actually wanting to die. I was tired of living that way. I was so ashamed to be out in the public eye. I didn’t go out during the day. I only went out late at night – sometimes at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning to get food and stuff. I didn’t want anyone to recognize me.”
That was when his former protege-turned-yoga-guru Diamond Dallas Page reached out and convinced him to move in with him in his house in Atlanta, Georgia where he would turn his mentor’s life around with his innovative fitness program DDP Yoga, a healthy diet of wholesome organic food and good mates.
He said: “I started to work out, I was doing DDP Yoga every day. I wasn’t eating crap anymore. It had been so long since I had been healthy – it was insane. I was 310lbs and in a very short time I dropped 20lbs – in like five weeks. It was the spark that I needed to live again. DDP Yoga gave me the opportunity and the need to dream again.”
During one of Roberts’ workouts he injured his shoulder and needed surgery, but the wrestling legend had no insurance. DDP set up a fund page to see if the fans would respond and Roberts would give them autograph pictures as well as t-shirts and would speak to them on the phone in return. The page raised over $7,000 in one night.
Roberts explained: “Even when I had the shoulder injury I didn’t give up. I wanted to but my addiction was saying to me: ‘You’re not worthy of having a good life. Your shoulder’s screwed up, you don’t have the money to have surgery. You’re gonna wind up with me again, your only buddy, your addiction.’
“The addiction wanted me to fail. It doesn’t want you to be successful, it doesn’t want you to be happy, it wants you dead – that’s what it wants. But in less than 24 hours we had enough money to take care of my shoulder. I couldn’t believe it. In one day the fans stepped up and showed me how much they cared.”
Roberts kept up the good work and two years later cleaned up and dropped 80lbs thanks to the help of DDP Yoga, a healthy diet, good friends, fan appreciation and of course his reunion with his estranged children. His sensational comeback caught the WWE’s eye who decided to induct him into the Hall of Fame.
“It’s still so surreal. I didn’t think that was ever going to happen. Not because of what I did inside the ring but for what I’ve done outside the ring,” he said.
“The Hall of Fame was a fabulous moment. To have so many of my children and grandchildren at the induction was great. It seemed like full circle, I’m back where I belong. It’s good to smile again.”
You can check out the entire interview here.