When Jeff Hardy arrived in AEW, it seemed like a fresh start for the veteran star. Since his debut as a teenager in the 90's, wrestling fans have watched as this boy became a man - right there in front of our eyes and in the squared circle.
His recent signing with AEW was supposed to represent his chance to ride off into the setting sun of a storied career. Now 44 years old and having suffered numerous injuries, the veteran was looking to reunite with his brother as part of Tony Khan's growing empire. The Hardy Boyz were back together for one more run, and everything felt right with the universe.
Things were not quite as they seemed, however, as Jeff was arrested earlier this week for what could end up being his third DUI conviction. After supposedly being clean and sober for months, he went far off the deep end.
How far? Let's put it this way: His blood alcohol content might as well have been the same as the last four digits of his social security number. It was that high.
Still, he chose to get behind the wheel of a car. Whether impaired or just stupid, it's proving to be a costly decision. And one that could lead to jail time. AEW President Tony Khan released a statement regarding this matter, saying that the promotion would help the fallen star get some help for his apparent addiction.
As of now, Jeff himself has yet to comment, and it's likely that he won't. Right now, it's probably best to stay quiet and listen to the advice of his counsel and those closest to him.
Having said that, in the case of addiction, all the outside encouragement in the world does little to help if the person in question doesn't really want it. Anyone who has battled these kinds of demons in the past will tell you that they would often pretend that things were under control and still try to function normally.
Hardy was able to do that for many years. With his enigmatic personality and the air of mystery surrounding him, you were never sure if he was on drugs or just plain weird. This often allowed him to blend in like a chameleon to his surroundings, despite the fact that he has always had issues.
The signs were there. The odd way Hardy exited WWE should have been a tip-off, based on his past
But when his blood tests came back negative for any illicit drugs, the public basically exonerated him and tried to make Vince McMahon and co. look like the bad guys in the whole situation. Many fans chastised the promotion for jumping to conclusions.
It was like we wanted so badly for Hardy to be okay that we were looking for any silver lining at that point. The tests that WWE administered were supposed to provide that lining.
Unfortunately, those tests don't look to determine how much alcohol someone is consuming, and apparently, Jeff has been imbibing a lot. He even eluded to his alcohol addiction being the toughest one to beat on an episode of 'Broken Skull Sessions' with Steve Austin last year.
It's often noted by doctors and psychologists that alcohol withdrawal is one of the most difficult, painful and violently ill paths to recovery.
People who drink regularly will often feel sick if they don't consume any by a certain time of the day. If they don't, they will experience sweating, nausea, chills, or fever and - in some cases - have seizures or ultimately die. It's probably a big reason why the success rate for alcohol recovery after one year is only about 36%.
What the numbers don't tell you is how much a person's psyche truly changes when their brain is essentially 'pickled' most of the time. Their attitude becomes much more complacent, and responsibilities become choices instead of obligations.
This has been evident with Jeff Hardy throughout his career, as he's been willing to gamble on everything he has built in this world - his fame, his money, his family - for one more drink.
That's what addicts are willing to do. Constantly taking one more chance and hoping to stay one step ahead of The Devil. And no matter what you do? He's gaining on you... but you think that somehow you can run faster. Of course, that logic makes no sense to the average person. But to an alcoholic? It's just a Thursday.
What Hardy did was a terrible thing, and the only thing that likely stopped him from hurting himself, or anyone else, was getting pulled over. If society chooses to ostracize him for that, then it's completely their right. He made his bed, and now he must lie in it.
However? If you are rooting for his recovery, all you can do is hope that Hardy somehow finds the light in his own murky darkness. That he will take the final step towards recovery, crossing over into a world where addiction no longer has a crippling hold on him or his life.
For Jeff Hardy, the wrestler, this was certainly a black eye and will be part of his overall reputation when his career is finally over.
But for Jeff Hardy the man? It’s time to reflect on who he is and think about everything he wants to be. And none of the most important stuff on that list should have anything to do with wrestling right now.
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