Fred Toucher in the old 98.5 Sports Hub studios. (NBC Sports Boston.) Fred Toucher in the old 98.5 Sports Hub studios. (NBC Sports Boston.)

It’s been quite the few months for long-time Boston radio host Fred Toucher. Toucher has been co-hosting Boston sports show Toucher and Rich with Rich Shertenlieb since 2006, with that show on 98.5 The Sports Hub since 2009, but there have been several unusual developments around it so far this year. And the latest one is Toucher’s on-air revelation Friday that he spent much of this past week in a detox facility.

There’s a lot that’s led up to this. For the first few months of this year, Toucher was battling a throat problem, and said the raspy voice he had was being used against him in contract negotiations.  He took medical leave in April and underwent throat surgery (he said his diagnosis was leukoplakia, but there was a fear of cancer at one point). While off the air, he complained on Twitter about Shertenlieb and others from the show not reaching out to him. Toucher then returned to the air early last month, after a lot of buildup, but his return came on a show without Shertenlieb.

Toucher then was off-air again for most of this past week. And that absence came after some disturbing (and since-deleted) tweets about wanting to harm himself, and came with Shertenlieb offering a “We’re rooting for you, Fred” on-air Wednesday (and saying he couldn’t say anything more without permission from management). On Friday, Toucher returned to the show (with Shertenlieb again not there), and discussed how he had been dealing with mental issues around his ongoing divorce and his health struggles. That led to him “voluntarily locking myself up so I wouldn’t drink any more,” as he checked himself into a detox facility Sunday and stayed there through Thursday morning. Here are some of those quotes, via CBS Boston:

“What I did was I said, ‘All right, here’s what I can do. I can stay home and the likely scenario for this will be that I will read this [tweet] again, I will become embarrassed, and I will drink, and then I will just make things a thousand times worse, and it will just feed on itself until something bad happens, until something really bad happens.’ So what I decided to do, though, was I decided to check myself into a detox on Sunday morning,” Toucher told co-hosts Jon Wallach and Ryan Johnston to begin Friday’s show.

…”I was voluntarily locking myself up so I wouldn’t drink any more, so I knew I wouldn’t drink,” Toucher explained. “That’s how I felt like, I was like, ‘All right, I’ve lost control, I’ve lost control of alcohol, I’ve lost control, I’m not thinking like me, I need to make sure that I’m in a position where I do not have the opportunity to drink,'” Toucher said. “Was it fun? It was the worst five days of my entire life.”

Toucher went on to say that he’s continued with outpatient treatment and therapy since leaving that facility:

“The setup I have right now is by far the most gnarly setup I’ve had. I’m talking about like four hours a day of intense therapy for alcohol and intense therapy for anxiety,” he said. 

He added: “Got out yesterday morning and immediately went to an outpatient facility, then went to a therapist. Right after the show today, I’m going back to that outpatient facility. So I’m taking this recovery very, very seriously.”

That’s certainly a difficult situation. It’s positive to hear that Toucher took it upon himself to seek intensive treatment, and that he’s continuing with treatment. We’ll see what’s ahead for him.

PSA: If you or someone you know is struggling with abuse of alcohol or other substances, the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Administration Hotline can be reached at 1-800-662-4357. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health and needs help, the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline can be reached at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

[CBS Boston, photo of Toucher in the old Sports Hub studios from NBC Sports Boston  via 98.5 The Sports Hub]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.