Longtime Boston sports personality John Dennis is taking a leave of absence from his morning show on WEEI. The Boston Herald published a conversation with Dennis where he publicly states that he will be entering in-patient alcohol treatment for several weeks. Dennis has hosted the Dennis & Callahan program on WEEI since 1997. Before he transitioned into radio he was an Emmy award winning sports personality at WHDH in Boston:
For WEEI talk-show host John Dennis, “rock bottom” took place during the Red Sox’ home opener against the Washington Nationals Monday afternoon at Fenway Park.
He says all he had was one drink. Whatever the number, it was enough to convince Dennis, who hosts the popular “Dennis & Callahan” morning-drive program with Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane, to check himself into rehab.
“I knew immediately that one (drink) was not going to be enough,” Dennis said during a telephone interview yesterday after informing station management of his decision. “I can stop for long periods of time, but then once I have one, one seems like a good idea, and then two seems like a really good idea. And then four seems like a great idea.”
By his own count, Dennis said he had gone 40 days without touching alcohol. But then came the traditional home opener, after which he decided to take a leave of absence from WEEI.
“They’re not sending me to the Betty Ford in California,” Dennis said. “It’ll be local. But it will be inpatient, and I’m told it’s approximately four to five weeks. Could be a little more or a little less.”
A statement emailed to me by Dennis includes the following: “I’ve made the decision to take serious steps to eliminate the role alcohol plays in my life before it impacts my health. I’m told it’s an arduous undertaking, but it’s one I’m willing to embrace. I know it can be a lifelong battle, but it’s one I want to fight.”
Dennis also issued the following statement published in the Herald:
After some long and thoughtful soul searching, I’ve decided to deal with a personal issue once and for all. The role of alcohol in my life is something I’ve wrestled with on and off for more than a few years.
I’ve made the decision to take serious steps to eliminate the role alcohol plays in my life before it impacts my health.
I’m told it’s an arduous undertaking, but it’s one I’m willing to embrace.
I know it can be a lifelong battle, but it’s one I want to fight.
To that end, I’ve decided to take some time away from WEEI, tackle this head-on, and set a smart & informed course for a long and healthy life.
I want to thank the management at WEEI for their understanding and assistance in this matter, Gerry and Kirk for their unwavering support, and of course Kathy, for her love, patience and compassion.
This is the last I will speak on this matter, as I have much work to do, and that’s where my concentration and focus will be. Talk to you all down the road.
Thanks for understanding.
Dennis is no stranger to controversy. Recently, the Dennis & Callahan program came under fire for comments made by co-host Kirk Minihane about Erin Andrews which led to a national firestorm. There have been plenty of other contentious incidents over the years involving Dennis as well. The station confirmed that Dennis’ seat will be waiting for him when he returns from his stint in rehabilitation.
Hopefully Dennis gets the help that he needs in taking this step.