Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ life hit rock bottom after leading a life of drugs and alcohol.
However, just when the pro wrestling great was almost down for the three-count, a call came from Diamond Dallas Page that changed his life for the better.
Page credits Roberts for being instrumental in helping his career take off by teaching the psychology of the business.
Now the former world champion has gone from learning in the ring to helping people from all walks of life, including wrestlers, with his revolutionary DDP Yoga programs. Page says it’s more than yoga or a diet or a workout, but a lifestyle. After talking to Roberts on the phone last year, DDP believed Roberts could be another success story if he made the effort.
“I decided because we hadn’t talked in a while that I wanted to fix it because he helped me become who I was,” Page said. “We had been back on the phone again, and I could tell by talking to him that he needed help. I started asking where he was at. He said he was at around 305 pounds and all the weight was in his stomach. His body was so beat up and beaten down that so I said, ‘Listen, let me just send you this program, and if you don’t do anything, at least try this eating plan I’m doing. It really takes the inflammation out of your body. You’ll feel better. If it doesn’t work, you can go back to eating the s%*& you were eating before.’”
Roberts was more than skeptical, but Page sent him the package.
“Basically I just said yes to get him off the phone,” Roberts said. “To be brutally honest, I was stuck on my own addiction. That was the only thing I was taking care of. I was at a point in my life where I was angry when I wake up because I was still alive. I wouldn’t commit suicide because I didn’t want to hurt my kids more than I already had. So hoping to die isn’t a good place to be and waking up each morning to take care of your addictions so can live through whatever that day was.
“He did send it. Like so many don’t, he did what he said he was going to do. I looked at and thought, ‘This isn’t that hard. I can do this.’ I thought was going to be one of those stupid diet things. I got into it and within a couple of weeks I was down 10 to 12 pounds.”
Page was somewhat surprised he was actually doing it. He talked to Steve Yu, who filmed a DDP Yoga programs success story of Arthur Boorman, the disabled veteran. This led to the idea of making a documentary on the resurrection of 57-year-old.
“We thought the Resurrection of Jake the Snake, but it really became ‘It’s Never Too Late: The Resurrection of Jake the Snake,’” Page said.
“So we went down to Gainesville, Texas. My buddy was so beat up, and he was already down 10 or pounds. He was feeling a bit better, but I had to pull him off the couch and chair, stand him up and do some stuff. I showed him how to you use a chair and his body, just like Arthur did, to do certain things like standing up to the floor and getting back up. He was blown up from two or three of these. That’s how beat up he was.”
Roberts said he started to do what Page asked him too, but the wear-and-tear on his body made it difficult.
“I had to sit down,” Roberts said. “He went in the kitchen and started cooking in my house, which pissed me off. I was ashamed where I was living. You talk about going from the penthouse to the outhouse, and you’re ashamed where you’re at, and you’re ashamed where you’re at in your life. That’s just another way the addiction messes with you. My addiction was screaming at me to get this son of a $#%^& out of my house so you could get high, but I didn’t.
“After breakfast I finished what he was telling me to do, which shocked him. He thought I had rolled over and died. He came into my house with a guy with a camera that pissed me off enough that I was going to finish this $%^& whether it killed me or not.”
Page was shocked Roberts was continuing to do what he asked and could see he was determined to get his life back on track. He gave him a goal that if he could continue on the plan on his own and lose another 15 or so pounds and get down to 25 pounds, Page would move him into his Atlanta house and continue the regimen together.
After a couple of weeks he was down 28 pounds and doing his workouts on a continuous basis. A man of his word, Page brought Roberts down to his house or what he called the “Accountability Crib”. Progress was being made.
“He couldn’t do a pushup on his knees, but after a couple of weeks and months he could do a pushup on his knees where he would lower for three and hold for three,” Page said.
“Then he would go down and try to get up, where before he knew it, he could do that three-second pushup. Then he did the five-second pushup. I was blown away. Around that time he wanted to go back to the gym and hit some weights. I was like, ‘Dude, don’t do that. You don’t need to do that.’”
Roberts told Page he wanted to get back to lifting because he wanted to feel like a man again.
“When you lose that much weight and feel so good about yourself, I wanted to go back in the gym,” Roberts said. “You had people patting me on the back, but that is not the right thing to tell an alcoholic or a junky because when you have an itch, you push too hard. I pushed too hard and tore my shoulder out.”
At this point he was down to 55 pounds, but needed surgery. A campaign was started online at Indiegogo to cover the $9,000 it would cost. The goal was not only reached, but today has totaled more than $24,000. This was a testament to the love fans around the world had for the master of the DDT and wanting him to change his life for the better.
“It blew me away because when you’re down and out, you don’t think anybody cares because you don’t care about yourself,” Roberts said. “To have these people step up and say, ‘Hey, we love you man, and we’re going to do this.’ It just blew me away. It humbled me. It messes with my head thinking about it because these people didn’t owe me that.”
Roberts, who in less than six months dropped more than 60 pounds, was scheduled to have the surgery on Friday, February 8. In spite of his injury, Roberts has tried to work around it to break up scar tissue. Page says guys like Roberts and himself who are in their 50s and 60s come from a generation of gym rats. He created DDP Yoga as a way to show you can be in great shape without beating up your body. Retired and current wrestlers from all over have found success with the programs Page puts out. Among them is Chris Jericho.
“He came back a few years ago after they said he was done because he did DDP Yoga,” Page said. “In three months he was 100 percent pain-free or 95-percent pain-free and ending up headlining WrestleMania. The reason I bring this up, because it still blows my mind, is that he took off six months and went on tour with Fozzy and then shows up at the Royal Rumble. You saw him go 47 minutes and 53 seconds, and he hadn’t wrestled in six months. He does one workout.”
Roberts says he isn’t on any meds and his brain on firing again. He wants to quit smoking and is eating healthier than ever.
“I got on this eating plan he has me going on. I’m eating healthy and eating real food, not processed crap,” Roberts said. “It tastes better than what I was eating. I will be the first to tell you, if it doesn’t taste good I’m not going to stick it in my mouth. This stuff is unbelievable. We’re doing a cooking show now called ‘Eat This’. We want to show people how to eat better and show people how to have energy again.”
All the triumphs and tribulations of Roberts’ road to recovery are documented. One of the big goals is for Page to get in the ring one more time, whether it’s in a singles or tag team match.
“This way Jake Roberts can go out the way he wants to on that level,” Page said. “Something that has happened is more important, and we are really hoping for this, is getting Scott Hall in as well. We’ve been talking to him, and so has WWE, to try to help him out. He was in a hospital for about a year because of his heart. He has been wanting to make change, and we are hoping he follows up with it. He called us up from the hospital, and we talked to him the past few days. I hope he stays clean and sober to get him up to a rehab center and then get him over to the crib to work with us. I got a place for him. That will take Jake to a whole different level.”
For Roberts, nightmares have replaced dreams.
“When I retired I didn’t retire the way I wanted to,” Roberts said. “I couldn’t do anything, and that’s not me in wrestling. I always gave more than I could. So that was my first thought was to do that again, but now my dream is to help other people. I’ve been helped so much by Diamond Dallas Page. I found out that I don’t have to get high anymore with drugs. I can get high by helping other people…I would like to have a whole legion or army of ex-dope heads or ex-drunks that say, ‘If Jake Roberts didn’t give up and do this, I can too.’ That’s the message I want to get out there. If I make it into the hall of fame or one more match, that’s wonderful. But what would make me really happy is to help others.
“The greatest moment I’ve had since this journey that I’ve started was talking to three of my kids at Thanksgiving. They said, ‘Dad, you know we were proud of what you did in wrestling, but we are so much proud of you right now.’”
• Follow DDP and DDP Yoga on Twitter @DDP and @DDPYoga. Follow Jake Roberts on Twitter @JakeSnakeDDT. Watch Roberts progress at http://www.youtube.com/user/JakeSnakeDDT?feature=watch.
• Visit www.DDPYoga.com.
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