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The Link Between Professional Wrestling and Drug Addiction

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It is becoming more common knowledge that addiction does not discriminate, so it would not be a total shock that some wrestlers use drugs illegally in the professional wrestling idustry. Whether it is due to championship anxiety, lack of proper work-life balance, or to treat pain resulting from competitions, many fighters have come forward about their drug addiction and what it is doing to them.

Professional Wrestling and Addiction

Chris Candido

Because incredibly skilled Chris Candido was typically described as born with talent, his addiction that took a turn for the worse at the mere age of just 21 got overlooked for some time.  Addicted to pain medication and blacking out in public, Candido said, “I went to a MLW show in Orlando. What happened, I have no idea. I just know what the story is, I don’t know what’s true and what’s not, but somehow I wound up in the lobby of the hotel running around naked, and I was going to get arrested. But one time I get up and run around in a hotel lobby naked, and the whole world knows about it. That was definitely the last straw. I’m not getting any younger.”  Unfortunately, Candido died in 2005 from heart complication which his decades-long years of accumulative drug abuse may have contributed to.

Jeff Hardy

Jeff Hardy is one of the more recently heard of WWE big professional wrestling stars that is known for being pushed toward rehab.  The professional wrestler explained how “easily” he and anyone can become addicted to the life of chasing a high.  He went on to say that after much “darkness and the bad stuff,” he now has a greater admiration for himself now than ever before. Because of this new respect of self and appreciation with life, he said that “2012 was the defining year.”  He further explained his experience, “When you do get clean and completely drug free it’s amazing how things change.  I find it hard to forgive myself for the way I was you know back in the day with the abuse and the addiction. It kinda makes me sick. Looking back on it, if I would’ve never got hooked…you can’t dwell on that. I’m lucky I’m alive.”

Big Van Vader

Then there is Big Van Vader.  According to the renowned old time wrestler himself, he was “struggling with some bad personal habits.”  His addiction began with a regular over-consumption of alcohol and later an abuse of painkillers that stemmed from combating injuries sustained from his wrestling match career, which seems to be the common denominator between professional wrestling addicts.

The Bottom Line

By trying to relieve a physical problem with a temporary solution, an allergy can be set off by the addict and so goes the spiral of addiction. Other reasons that substance abuse counselors theorize there is a link between professional wrestling and drug abuse is because the fighters grow to be accustomed to the pleasure they get from the adrenaline of the excitement in the heat of their match.  This can be compared to the high they feel when they abuse drugs or drink alcohol.  The fighters may prefer to keep that elevated mood rather than revert to their regular state.  Regardless as to the reasons behind why the wrestlers may be abusing drugs or even whether there is truly a connection between wrestling and addiction or not, drug abuse is found to be prevalent among professional wrestlers and fans should be wary of glorifying their idols behaviors.




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