British Columbia

Jake "The Snake" Roberts wrestles inner demons in speaking tour

Jake "The Snake" Roberts is best known for wrestling in the ring, but for decades, he was wrestling with his inner demons, too.

Roberts underwent sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction in his life

Wrestler Jake "The Snake" Roberts from "The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts" poses for a portrait at the Village at the Lift Presented by McDonald's McCafe during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Utah in January 2015. (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Jake "The Snake" Roberts shed his tough image a long time ago.

He's more than open about his struggles and life's blows on and off the ropes.

Kamloops, B.C. wrestling fans are hyped that the legend is coming to their town to share his past, including how he body slammed both drug and alcohol addiction.

"I had the problem before I got into wrestling. I went through a lot of abuse as a kid and that leaves scars, and the scars are deep and leave you with a lot of problems," he told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk.

Roberts says he was sexually abused by his step-mother, and the abuse was rampant in his family. He says his father, a wrestler himself, was never around, and Roberts got into wrestling to earn his approval.

Jake "The Snake" Roberts signs autographs for fans at the Chicago Comic Entertainment Expo in 2013. He will be in Kamloops on Nov. 20. (Pat Loika/Flickr)

"I started trying to take some shortcuts, whether it be with steroids or drugs or whatever, in trying to make it to the top. And I made it to the top" he said.

"But the whole time in my career, the drugs just kept coming more and more and more, and the alcohol more and more and more."

He says he "finally sunk the ship" in the mid '90s when he went through several unsuccessful rehab stints and basically hid from everyone he knew in his home.

"I think the only thing that kept me from putting a gun in my mouth was I just didn't want to hurt my kids more than I already had," he said.

The turning point, he says, was when fellow wrestler Diamond Dallas Page reached out to him and got him into a self-help program he created himself.

Now, Roberts is telling stories from his wild wrestling days, the crazy antics and the big personalities like Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage and Andre the Giant.

He says he loves getting in front of crowds again, even if it's not in the ring anymore.

"It's great because I'm sober," he said. "I'm really loving life now. I got my family back together, I'm going out and seeing these fans that supported me … and I'm kind of getting a chance to say thank you."

Jake "The Snake" Roberts will be in Kamloops on Nov. 20 at the Coast Kamloops Theatre.


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Jake "The Snake" Roberts coming to Kamloops to tell life story

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