Wrestling legend Jake “The Snake” Roberts is on the road to recovery after struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction ever since his glory days in World Wrestling Entertainment. Roberts -- credited with introducing the now-popular DDT move to professional wrestling -- recently posted the above photograph on his Twitter account showing the wrestler in front of a whiteboard counting the days he has been free of drugs and alcohol and with a caption saying: “The big board. 27 of 90. And 254days coke free. 33 w out a drink! Moving forward.”
As part of his comeback, Roberts, 58, landed a part as Jed in “Heavy Water,” a low-budget independent film directed by Andrew Donoho. The plot of the movie centers on River, an ex-con who “must choose between his broken family and a curious new drug from an old friend.” The project is currently shooting, but looking for post-production funding via Kickstarter.
“Jake’s experience as a professional wrestler translated into strong performances and brought a powerful presence to his character,” reads the Kickstarter page. “His ability to improvise, take direction, and become the character shines through in his depiction of Jed.”
Roberts is best known to audiences for his stint in WWE from 1986 to 1992. He was noted for his darkly ominous persona, which stood in stark contrast to the wild and energetic characters of wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. Roberts would often bring his python, nicknamed Damien, to the ring with him and wrap the snake around the neck of his defeated opponent.
Throughout his career, Roberts struggled with a severe addiction to drugs and alcohol. Last October, he finally hit rock bottom. According to Yahoo Sports, wrestling friend Diamond Dallas Page reached out to Roberts and invited him to stay at his house while he put his life back together. Aside from a relapse in June, Roberts has been sober ever since, thanks to a combination of Page’s yoga program and a healthy diet.
“This is not a rehab place,” Page said. “I’m just trying to help out my buddies. WWE has a rehab that’s as good as anything in the NBA or the NFL, but Jake’s been in and out of it a bunch of times.”
“When you’re ashamed of yourself and you hate where you come from, you learn to lie pretty quick,” Roberts said. “You learn to put on a mask. Getting into wrestling, I was given an opportunity to be something other than what I was. In a way, this crash would have happened a lot sooner. Wrestling allowed me the privilege to delay it.”
“I just want things to be positive, and moving forward,” Page said. “Progress, not perfection. Sometimes you fall, and somebody has to reach down and pull you back up.”