The last 10 years of Jake "The Snake" Roberts' life have been more difficult than any opponent he faced in the ring. He battled an addiction to drugs and alcohol and also had numerous surgeries and hospitalizations.
DDP and his DDPY program helped Roberts get back on his feet and Jake the Snake reflected more on the last decade when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"It's been great - hard but great. Nine years ago, I started getting sober," revealed Roberts. "To accomplish that was a miracle and it took a lot of hard work. It took a lot of love from Diamond Dallas Page to stick with me even after I failed time after time. He did stick with me and I finally accomplished our goal. To live the last eight years alcohol and drug free is so wonderful. I'm so excited about 2020."
He mentioned that in AA that tell you that once you get sober then gifts would come and they have. Roberts has gotten hair implants, false teeth and recently worked on a film called Peanut Butter Falcon.
"Things just keep coming like getting into the Hall of Fame. There's so many things that have been so good to me like getting my relationships back with my children. I keep waiting to wake up and be back the other way. I'm living a dream because it's just been that good," Roberts said before adding that he was nearly dead ten years ago.
In addition to Roberts' physical problems, his daughter has also had numerous health issues and he talked more about those.
"She has an amazing story to tell and needs to get it out there as 10 years ago she was misdiagnosed with MS. After years of treatment for MS, which had her on death's door, she had to retire from her job with the US government. She was an addictionologist and psychiatrist for the troops coming back home. She had to retire from the job and was basically going home to get ready to die. She was getting weaker and weaker and it was horrible," recalled Roberts.
The move home made her get a new doctor who told her she didn't have MS. Roberts says the last year and a half have seen her get nursed back to health.
"Now she can go out there and hang with the best and she's doing my bookings for me now. She travels with me all the time. Just to let you know that doctors can be wrong too as smart as they are. It was an honest mistake as the thing she does have mimics the same symptoms of MS. She's just happy to be alive and getting stronger," Roberts said before adding that he and his daughter share a mutual love for writing.
"We may write a book together. I'm almost finished with my first book and it's about 700 pages so far. It's very intense and deep into the wrestling world and my career. It's coming out this new year and then her and I would like to do a book talking about addiction from both ends of the spectrum – the daughter who cares and the drug addict alcoholic father. There's a lot to learn about that and people need to know that. A lot of people don't understand addiction and how it works and the games it plays. They just say, 'Oh he's an addict' and that's it. There are things you can do to help and we've gotta start taking care of these people and give them a fresh start."
Roberts has been in rehab many times over and he talked about going from rehab back into the real world once you're finished.
"You are there for two or three or maybe even four months and everything is fine when you're within those walls. Then they let you out and you're in the real world and your bills have been mounting up for four months," stated Roberts.
He added that the stress of that pulls you right back into the addiction as addiction is all about hiding from stress, pain and anger.
"If you haven't done a good job of addressing it, then you'll fall back into your old way of living and it's a damn shame. A lot of people spend a lot of money on addiction problems and coming out of it is really hard," said Robert. "We just wanna bring that stuff out to the front so people can realize what it takes to get someone clean and sober. It's not, 'Oh, he's hit his 90 days and he's well.' No, it's not like that and it's something you deal with for the rest of your life."
One thing that Roberts has leaned on during his recovery is doing live comedy shows. He will be doing the show again this year with his Dirty Details tour. Roberts gets to share stories and also hear stories from people who grew up watching him which is in some ways therapeutic.
"It's so awesome. What I like the best is hearing the stories from people saying, 'Yeah me and my granddad used to sit down every Saturday morning [and watch Roberts].' I love hearing those old stories because that let me know that all of those years beating myself half to death meant something to a lot of people. I'm forever ingrained in their life and that's pretty cool," said Roberts.
"From time to time people will come up and say, 'Yeah you wrestled this guy' and I'm like, 'Wait I never wrestled that guy.' They remind me of moments that I forgot.
"In the beginning it was hard for me to speak in full sentences because when you are drunk and a junkie you just stay by yourself and your quiet. If you don't use that stuff then you lose it and it was hard for me to even talk. Now that I'm on the road doing this stuff, the gift of gab just came back."
Roberts will be hitting the road again in 2020 with his Dirty Details tour. For tickets and more information please visit Jakethesnakeroberts.com/. His full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of Wednesday's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. During the interview, Roberts also discusses his reflections on the last decade of his life, his daughter being misdiagnosed with MS, the upcoming surgery he's having on his hands, Andre The Giant laughing off a snake bite, what his biggest promo pet peeve is, doing vignettes for AEW, WWE not calling him with opportunities, his one man shows and more.