Moxley and the Road to Recovery
This initially was going to be a news report. So many other outlets had spoken of the news that Tony Khan shared on social media late Tuesday night of former AEW Champion Jon Moxley entering inpatient treatment for alcoholism, on the heels of his autobiography cruising into release. That’s all this should be, right? A blurb of a write up; some facts, a little background, and a tweet embedded into the article.
I’ve sat on this because I’ve been finding that I can’t do that. I feel that this topic is owed more than a couple of small paragraphs. It’s a discussion worthy topic because of how common, uncomfortable and stigmatized it is. It’s a discussion on a topic that has a permanent home in my heart. I wasn’t sure if I was going to write this. But seeing a clip of CM Punk, my hometown hero, addressing the Dynamite crowd last night actually made me cry and gave me the will to address this topic.
Like Punk, I am the child of an addict.
Alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness run rampant on my mothers’ side of my family. This means I’m predisposed to addiction. I’ve shown signs of an addictive personality my entire life. My great grandfather was an alcoholic. My uncle is an alcoholic and a heroin addict. My late mother was a crack addict. Obviously using past tense for my mother and great grandfather make sense, both have passed on. Using present tense for my uncle, though he’s been sober for decades, will most likely confuse those who don’t quite understand the dynamics of addiction. An addict can become sober and remain sober until the day they shuffle the mortal coil, but the term “recovered” will never be accurate. They are always in recovery because addiction is in fact a mental illness they battle every day.
A wrestler battling addiction, let alone any mental illness, is nothing new to the fans nor the industry. We’ve heard about and seen it with Jeff Hardy, Scott Hall, Alicia Fox, Chyna, Mike Bennett. You can go as far back as Louie Spicolli, Herb Abrams, Jake “The Snake” Roberts and the Von Erichs. This industry breeds and fosters this demon to rise, whether it be chasing the high they get in the ring, a way to cope with the physical and mental pain, or because it started for kicks. For decades, addiction was spoken of in low voices no matter how public a spectacle it became, kept secret by an insular industry that thrived on secrecy and gatekeeped to protect itself. To see a 180 degree flip in the past couple of decades is a progressive shift towards addressing the issue. To see Tony Khan make this announcement and take this as seriously as one should is both refreshing and necessary. I hope to see this be the path more companies choose to embrace fully as time marches on.
This hits home to me for more reasons than what’s outlined. When I look at Jonathan Good, I see one of my own.
I’m not going to say he and I were cut from the same exact cloth. But it was fairly close. It’s why I became such an ardent fan of his. When you come up as roughly as he did or as I did, you tend to gravitate towards those with shared experiences. They feel like family. You root for them. Their successes give you hope, show you a light at the end of the tunnel. Their wins become our wins. Their trials and tribulations give us pause, make us reflect inward. We rally around them because we won’t let one of ours fall and we certainly won’t let anyone else tell them they failed.
At the end of the day, Mox isn’t infallible. He’s human, like anyone else. And like anyone else seeking to fix a problem of this nature, support is key. In a climate that is still so quick to judge against an affliction that is still so widely stigmatized, it’s lovely to see it in spades. I wish him the best, with complete faith. I know he can do this.
If you’re suffering from alcohol or drug addiction or know someone who is, please do not hesitate to seek help. SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)