WWE talent Dustin Rhodes (a/k/a Goldust) speaks frankly and openly about his journey through the professional wrestling industry in his newly released autobiography, Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness. He gives a no-holds barred account of his severe drug problems, which notably persisted during his two stints with TNA Wrestling. In the book, he admits that his issues had worsened to the point that he was using cocaine prior to matches for the organization in 2005. Regarding this, he wrote:
“Eventually, and thanks to my dad, I started working for Total Nonstop Action for $1,000 a show. He was the boss, right under Dixie Carter. TNA wasn’t doing too well at that point, but I had a job making okay money. I could drive home just about every night. All I was doing was what little I had to do in the ring, then hanging out spending my money on coke, pills, and booze.
“I started making excuses for why I couldn’t hang with Dakota. Subconsciously I probably knew I didn’t want her around me or my girlfriend because the environment was so toxic. Despite the chaos, I showed up every night for work. I have no idea how I was able to stay on point with work at that time. One of my cardinal rules was never to drink before I worked a match. I wouldn’t consider doing coke before a match either. I’d take painkillers, fine. I had been taking painkillers for so long that I had convinced myself I really need them. I was taking medicine because I worked in a tough business. That was the story I had cemented into my mind. But drugs have a way of altering everything, including the stories you tell yourself. Eventually, I started doing a little coke before matches while retaining my vow to never drink alcohol before I go into the ring, as if that was something to be proud of.”
Rhodes parted ways with TNA Wrestling after being arrested on April 25, 2005 and charged with misdemeanor battery following a domestic incident with his girlfriend at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando, Florida. He would return to the organization two years later as the split personality character Black Reign. He said that time was the hardest period of his life as his painkiller usage increased.
“Every morning, as soon as I pulled myself out of bed, I’d take three Vicodins or Lortabs just to get moving. I was sore and pretty banged up physically, but over time pain pills exaggerated rather than eliminated whatever pain I was feeling. It was a slow process for me to get into the day. I’d get that first rush from pills and then I’d get moving. I might do something around the house, or jump into my truck and drive to the river to work on this book.”
He continues disclosing his severe self-medication issues, which culminated with the following in early 2008:
“I was probably taking close to forty pills a day at the end. I was so desperate that I actually bought pain pills from drug dealers because I would run out long before I could find another doctor to write a prescription. If I dropped a pill and it fell into the carpet, I would spend hours down on my hands and knees trying to find it. At the same time I was drinking so much that I’d wake up dizzy and unable to walk.
“Finally, after a three-day binge, I’d had enough. It was raining, I pulled myself up and walked right out the door. The rain was pouring down and I stumbled up a hill near this house where I knew I could get cell-phone reception. Somehow, I managed to call my dad. It was four thirty in the morning. I was falling down the hill in the mud. Ta-rel (his girlfriend) was trying to hold me up. I was scared half to death. I managed to get into the house, soaking wet.
“I had found the bottom.”
Rhodes, still affiliated with TNA Wrestling, then reveals calling Ann Russo-Gordon, the liaison between World Wrestling Entertainment and talent who take up the company’s offer for rehab. He remained locked away in a rehabilitation center for thirty days to face his demons and was successful. He credits his family and WWE, which he also considers family, for helping him turn his life around. He says he has remained sober since May 20, 2008.