My name is not John Cobbcorn. Nobody here knows who I am, or will ever really know who I am, and thus, anything I admit about the man behind this pen-name will not mean much in my personal life. It's one of the good things about the anonymity that comes with the Internet. And since I can make anonymous declarations without any personal repercussions, I would like to declare:
I am an alcoholic and a drug addict.
When I was 10 years old, I was introduced to alcohol. My best friend found it in his mother's liquor cabinet, and we drank it. After that, we would sneak from her liquor all the time. Then, I started to get older people to buy liquor for me. Before I knew it, I was an alcoholic by the time I was 11.
I started doing drugs at age of 12. At first, it started with a couple of puffs of marijuana before it ballooned into experimenting with much harder drugs.
By the time I was 16 years old, I found myself doing every drug imaginable, selling them, drinking myself into drunken stupors and just barely ducking death on numerous occasions.
I would spend a decade heavily addicted to various drugs: cocaine, crystal meth, opium, exstacy, cavvies (which is cocaine-laced marijuana), K-Jays (marijauna dipped in elephant tranquilizer) and prescription pills ranging from sertraline and morphine to oxycontin and hydrocodone.
There was never a time you saw me that I wasn't drunk or high on something.
Eventually, I would lose everything I had. My demons caught up with me and I was burning through the very drugs I was trying to sell. I nearly got myself killed over it. I burned bridges everywhere as I spun completely out of control.
I eventually ended up homeless. That rock bottom moment was the very thing that got me out of the pit that I, myself, had created.
On the streets, I met a Christian volunteer who would talk with me and eventually convinced me to turn my life around and get clean. She, and the support group she was with, were invaluable in me surviving my own self-destructive nature. I eventually got myself together and live a fairly enjoyable life these days.
Now, this isn't some special story. It's the typical story you hear from addicts and alcoholics all the time. The only reason why I am sharing it is because I want it to be understood that I have been in far worse places than Matt Hardy ever has.
And so, speaking from the places that I've been, I recognize how difficult it really is for what Hardy is attempting to do.
I don't know what he's currently addicted to—I thought he was addicted to prescriptions, but as he said in his announcement, he moved on to "something else" to even out not taking pills. Most drug users can tell you that trying to swap one drug to get off another doesn't work, it just gets you addicted to both drugs. There is no drug that has a methadone/heroin relationship to prescription pills that I know of. (Doctors use methadone to ease patients off heroin.)
Whatever the drugs he is taking, it is going to be excessively hard to get off them.
There are three things that fight against you in the process of getting yourself clean and staying that way:
1. The worst part of quitting drugs is learning to live life without them.
Drugs provide an escape from the highs and lows of life. People slamming you for your former antics, your own physical pain, the general disappointments that come in every person's life, drugs help you to hide away from it, quick and easy. Anything you don't want to deal with, you can escape from. Having to man up and face the problems that life brings is much more difficult for drug users who know the bliss of having problems and not having to think about them for a while. Life itself becomes the biggest temptation to drive you back to drugs.
2. The second worst part of getting off of drugs is the withdrawal symptoms that come with getting clean.
I personally spent two weeks in a spare room in an apartment, clutching myself in agony as my entire body relentlessly attacked me. In one of the more disgusting moments in my life, I laid in pools of my own sweat, trying to scratch the skin off of my flesh from the itching, shaking uncontrollably and vomiting into a large crock pot next to the bed. Much like in the movies, my new-found friends wouldn't let me out (which I had agreed to before knowing I was about to experience something I wouldn't wish on anyone). I literally wanted to die.
Every time I hear of someone walking out of a rehab facility like Jeff Hardy or Scott Hall or any of the million Hollywood celebs that do it, I am never surprised. The withdrawal symptoms are most times unbearable. I know they are leaving to get the monkey off their backs.
3. The third worst part is the boredom. After you've gotten past the plateau of withdrawals and get to the other side, you realize that the life you led before is over. Gone are the nights of partying with sacks of coke and bottles of Southern Comfort while surrounded by friends and beautiful girls. Gone are the clubs, gone are the house parties, gone are the one-night stands. In it's stead, is just a normal predictable life. And for a while, you miss it to death.
But here's the hopeful part for a man like Matt Hardy:
After you get past the shakes, after you spend some time free from drugs and alcohol, you eventually get used to it.
I used to blow through a thousand dollars worth of drugs in a week. I used to spend weeks partying at a time, just a blur of dope, women and booze, that I can only half remember to this day. I was a wretched, womanizing, dope-dealing sleazeball who reveled in the fast lane. And I loved it down to the core of me.
I never thought I would be the kind of guy that runs a home-business from a middle-class condo and dates the same woman for two years straight, now. (I should probably get around to marrying her at some point.) I never thought I would spend my free time writing on websites or think that getting a workout in the gym is a "rush." The 2001 me would look at the 2011 me and laugh his throat out.
But I tell you what, after being removed from that life and all the trinkets, pleasure and money that came with it, I would never give up what I have and who I have now to get it back. And knowing the absolute and utter hell that a life in the fast lane can lead to? I would be stupid to try.
And that's the good news for Matt—that not only can you make it past the point where you screwed up, but you can make it past the season where you wish you could go back to screwing up again.
Now, I'm sure Matt made a lot more money as a WWF/E superstar than I ever did as a small-time drug dealer. He's probably had sex with way more women and has lived in a lane much faster than I ever could during the late '90s and the turn of the millennium when his star was at its peak.
However, the same rules apply—he can make it out.
Only if he chooses to.
The reason why I refer to myself as a drug addict and alcoholic even though I've been clean for years is because you never truly escape for good. You have to maintain a daily vigilance against falling back in to the old life. The moment you think you've "made it out" and let your guard down, that's the moment you fall right back in.
It's one of the hardest things to do. Because just having a frosty beer to unwind after a long day can lead you to sleeping behind a dumpster again. Just going to one friend's birthday party where marijuana might be present can lead to you stumbling into the abyss all over again.
And it is there that I would like to caution a man like Matt before I wrap up this message:
You have to choose to remain clean. With every fiber in your being. And that means you can't go back to the road, Matt. Something I scoffed at in my rehabilitation process was when I was told I needed to sever my ties with all of my friends who did drugs.
I was told that I couldn't go to the same places I had been before. I couldn't hang out with the same people. Even members of my own family. I initially didn't listen. I ended up having one shot of Ezra Brooks whiskey while hanging out. Then I ended up drinking half the bottle and had to start over from scratch. I had blown two months of sobriety.
The alternate view? It only took two months to fail when hanging around my old stomping grounds.
It would be the last drink I would ever have, because I never came around again, and my support circle helped to make sure of it.
If Matt is ever to stay free, he can't go back to the road where the temptation lies.
Addiction is a disease that you're never truly cured of. You can't tempt it. It will always and forever be able to burn you.
If Matt is serious about this, it's going to be more than a 90-day stay at a rehab facility. It's going to be a lifetime of skipping parties, passing liquor stores, dealing with pain without taking pills, cutting off friends and refusing to make new ones who do drugs and, most of all, using self-discipline.
If I could do it, I am certain that Matt can, too. Being a successful pro-wrestler takes a type of dedication and drive that not many men have. So, Matt has proven he has it in him to become and remain drug and alcohol free.
The best thing Matt can do is to stay away from temptation and focus on his new school. Giving back, teaching and helping others is one of the absolute best ways to stay clean. When you're not focusing on yourself and have people whom you're responsible for, it's a big help in the war against temptation.
He says this is the worst month of his career.
The worst moment of your life is what it usually takes for you to wake up.
Hopefully, this will be Matt's first step to regaining his life.
From one addict to another, who has already made it from where you are and worse, I want to tell Matt Hardy: You can come back to being the Matt Hardy we all remember.
And I'm rooting for you the whole way.