Justin Credible talks battling drug addictions
Jan 6, 2013 - by Steve Gerweck
The following is a press release for the Shining Wizards Podcast interview with PJ Polaco. Feel free to use any or all of the following, but please credit the Shining Wizards Podcast (www.shiningwizards.com) if you do.
Recently the Shining Wizards spoke with PJ Polaco aka Justin Credible about Extreme Reunion, his recovery, and more. Here are some highlights:
On what happened the day of Extreme Reunion:
I was really sick at that time. I was in a situation where I self-medicated to the point where I just, you know, did too much stuff and just passed out. You know, it was real heart-breaking, real unfortunate. That’s when I started to realize, at that point, it didn’t happen right away but that I needed to get help.
On his addiction and dealing with it:
It was pain medication, but at that point it had pretty much gotten to, you know, whatever was available. So yeah, I’ve had clean times here and there but I never had the proper tools for permanent sobriety. I’d always try to- I don’t wanna talk too much about the disease, but when you find out about the disease of addiction, if you try and just white-knuckle it, we say, and do it by sheer will without the proper tools and help, it’s almost impossible, you know. You can only go so long before you pick up again, and that’s what I’d been doing for years. I’d go for a period of time, three months, six months, and then I’d go back to it, not knowing why, and really going away and getting the proper treatment, you find out a lot about yourself and the disease, and how to handle it. It’s something I should’ve done a long time ago and I’m glad I did.
A typical day in WWE-Sponsored rehab:
It’s a very structured day. The program I went to was lectures, two hours of group counseling, a lot of speakers, videos, you really- it’s almost like going to school, you know, all day, seven days a week working on your addiction and, specifically, your problems and what they feel were the root of those problems. It goes pretty deep. You pretty much go through your whole life, and they analyze what caused it and why you’re there and how to fight it.
On realizing things about himself while in rehab:
I’ve known I’ve had this problem for years, you know. With life, sometimes it’s embarrassing, with the media and scrutiny, and I have a family, and you know, it just all finally came to a head because it was going to be me either guarding this secret, not necessarily a secret. I mean the wrestling community knew I had a drug problem, but for me just getting it out there and admitting it to myself and my family was difficult, but I’m glad I did.
On the necessity of a good support system:
It’s really important, and it’s very difficult because you really have to change your entire life, and your entire way of being. And you have to- a lot of people even said “will you ever be able to go back into the wrestling business?” being, you know, the nature of it. You know, just a lot of questions. And I’m still uncertain about a lot of things. So we’ll see where everything takes me. But I’m just happy to be where I am right now, in my life.
Advice to the younger talent:
I was very naive. I didn’t do drugs or alcohol until I was twenty years old, and in rehab I found out I was a late bloomer. I was in groups with guys that started at twelve. You hear some real horror stories. I started taking pain pills when I was really young in the business, not knowing what they were. It took me years to realize, when it was too late, that this stuff could be physically addicting. By the time I knew I was addicted it was already too late. I had no idea. I would just, really, educate yourselves, be very cautious. But the culture of the business has also changed dramatically. I came up in the early 90s where it was just balls to the wall, everything and anything goes. And it’s just not like that anymore. The business has been very proactive in making and cleaning up the locker room. I’d say to the guys just keep your heads on straight, and be aware of what’s out there, and the dangers. And, too, we were running the schedules we ran, we were doing 25-30 days at a time, you know, non-stop touring back in WWF. So the schedules are different. But don’t push yourselves. You know, to be super tough and to work through injuries, it’s pushed upon us. It’s what is expected, and that causes these kinds of problems. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. And guys do that, by using drugs. You can’t sugar coat it. What we do isn’t normal or natural to the human body. I’m the result of what the fans kind of ask for, or what the business asks for, for going out there and working through injuries, because you feel obligated to. So this is the end result. So you kind of have to weigh out your options and say “is it worth it to me?” I mean, yeah, it was worth it because I had a spot and I did fairly well in ECW and throughout my career, but I left a lot of damage to myself and to my family, and to my career. So it’s a fine line.
On his future:
Before I dive into anything (like Extreme Rising), I want to make sure- sobriety isn’t something that, you know, just because you go through a program means you’re good. It’s something, a day-by-day thing that I’m working on. And I want to make sure that mentally I’m ready to go before I make any kind of commitment because I, from now on and the future I want to make sure that when Justin Credible gives his word that it means something again. Because that’s one thing I was very proud of in this business, that my word was good, and I was always very reliable, I never missed days. And that really wasn’t the case towards the end there. I was very unreliable, I was very untrustworthy, and I want that to change. And the only way to change that is through actions. And I just want to prove to people, to fans, to promoters, that my word is good. So before I make any commitments to anybody I just want to make sure I’m good. So I’m gonna wait on that for a little while.
For more with PJ Polaco, including dealing with negativity in the social media, on making amends to those he hurt, his relationship with Shane Douglas, what ECW means to him, and more, go to www.shiningwizards.com and listen to Episode 70: An Incredible Return. The Shining Wizards is a weekly wrestling podcast dedicated to discussion of WWE, TNA, ROH, Extreme Rising, PWS, DGUSA, Evolve, Chikara, CZW, Beyond Wrestling, and the entire wrestling scene, including talk of the yesteryear of the sport. Past guests included Shane Douglas, Jerry Lynn, Buff Bagwell, Joel Gertner, Christian York, Matt Hardy, Christopher Daniels, Headbanger Thrasher, Scotty Riggs, Damian Dragon, AR Fox, Michael Elgin, Gregory Iron, Nigel McGuinness, ACH, “Primetime” Sam Roberts, Gabe Sapolsky, and Pat Buck. Join us every Thursday night and on Facebook for ongoing discussions about the state of the sport. The Shining Wizards Wrestling Podcast, where it’s wrestling talk…..and talk about wrestling.