Dan Spivey, who worked for World Championship Wrestling, the World Wrestling Federation and All-Japan Pro Wrestling between 1984 and 1995, openly discussed his long-running battle with substance abuse during an interview with Alex Marvez of the Scripps Howard News Service.
Spivey says his troubles with drugs began while on the University of Georgia’s football team in the 1970s.
“I would take speed, or black beauties, as we called them back in the old days, when I played,” Spivey said, also mentioning that he became involved with organized gamblers during that time. “I was drawn to anything that was fun and always just did it too much. I went from one addiction to another.”
He branched into dealing marijuana and cocaine before joining the world of professional wrestling at the age of 32. Spivey’s career came with a price as following his retirement in 1995, he had his hip and knee replaced as well as neck fusion because of damaged discs, which increased his dependence on pain-killing medication.
Spivey would continue to battle addiction over the next thirteen years. He particularly remembers being hospitalized when trying to quit taking alcohol and Xanax. Spivey ripped the IV out of his arm and wandered outside from the intensive-care unit to smoke cigarettes “with blood squirting out of my arm. They had to tie me back down in bed for a day.”
Now sober for two and a half years, Spivey’s involvement with Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous inspired him to assist his wrestling colleagues with their chemical-dependence issues, which has contributed to a staggering number of fatalities.
“Drugs were everywhere then,” he said of pro wrestling’s “rock-and-roll lifestyle” in the 1980s and ’90s. “It was just a way of life. … By the grace of God, I was given a second chance.”
The article can be accessed here.