Veteran broadcast journalist Laurie Dhue is one of the newest members of TheBlaze team. She joins TheBlaze as host of the investigative news magazine For The Record and she will do other anchoring and reporting projects for the network.
Laurie’s career has taken her from MSNBC to CNN to NBC to Fox News. But throughout her very successful rise, Laurie harbored a secret – she was an alcoholic. While she initially kept her 15-year battle with alcoholism and treatment private, Laurie is now vocal about her struggle and recovery.
Last week, Laurie sat down with Katie Couric on her daytime talk show Katie to discuss how she was able to keep her alcoholism a secret and why she ultimately chose to seek help.
Much like the audience who had grown accustomed to listening to Laurie’s news reports, Katie said she was shocked to learn Laurie was living what she described as a “double life.”
“How did you keep it together,” Katie asked.
“I don’t know how I kept it going for as long as I did,” Laurie said candidly. “When I think about the way I drank and trying to keep a full time job with a television network, I don’t know how I got out of bed everyday, frankly. It is hard enough getting out of bed some days anyway, but when you are dealing with a major hangover -sometimes I look back on that and think, I can’t believe that was my life. I had no control over what I was doing. My motto was: Work hard; play hard… I really had this impetuous attitude toward it.”
When Laurie first revealed that she had sought treatment for alcoholism, questions flooded in as to whether or not she had been drunk during her broadcasts. While she admitted to Katie that she was regularly “hung over,” she reiterated that she was never drunk on air.
“What you were getting was probably a hung over person,” Laurie said. “Seemingly, from the outside, I had it all. In reality, I had nothing.”
She revealed that she was drunk, however, when she met President George W. Bush.
“I was fairly drunk when I met President Bush. This is something I have never said publically, so I am telling you that I had a pretty big buzz going when I met President George W. Bush,” Laurie explained. “I was invited to a small reception, and I got the chance to meet him. But there was no way I was going to do that sober, so I had a few pops in my room at the Washington Hilton before I went downstairs, and there it was.”
Rock bottom for Laurie came through a series of embarrassing moments – from getting into a drunken fight with a “really good friend” to making a “blackout phone call” to a man she was dating at the time. But it was when she found out her sister was pregnant that she decided it was time to turn her life around.
“And my sister was pregnant. It was this unborn baby, who is now my 6-year-old nephew, who was really the deciding factor for me because I never wanted this unborn baby to see me drunk. So I like to say that my nephew Robert saved my life,” Laurie said.
Her treatment included visiting a psychiatrist and a 12-step program.
“First, I went and saw a psychiatrist who specialized in addiction, and he said, ‘I can help you with this, but first you have to admit you actually have a problem,’” Laurie explained. “And for years and years I though, Oh, I have a little drinking problem. I am not an alcoholic. But once I said the word out loud, he said, ‘Ok, that’s the first step. Now you can get treatment.’ And I went into a 12-step program.”
Laurie has been sober since March 14, 2007. Her partner, Joe Schrank, is also in recovery and is the CEO of Rebound Brooklyn, an abstinence based recovery program. The two are parents to their foster son Andrew and Joe’s son Paolo.
“Thank you for talking about this because I think it takes a lot of guts,” Katie said. “If there is someone out there watching and they are hearing your story and they are think, I am a lot like Laurie was, what would you tell them?”
“Recovery is possible. It works,” Laurie said emphatically. “Help is out there, and hope is out there. You are not alone.”
Watch the full interview below: