Don Shelby Shares His Recovery From Alcohol With St. Cloud Alano Society
ST. CLOUD -- Many people may know Don Shelby as the legendary former reporter and news anchor of WCCO-TV, but few know Shelby as a recovering alcoholic.
Back in April of 1980, Shelby went on air drunk, and he says giving up drinking and drugs was a battle for him.
"I was willing to give up my family, give up my job, and I was willing to give up my reputation, and my dreams just so, I could have another drink. I could not imagine my life without alcohol and drugs in it because they were the things that made me sane says, Shelby"
When the incident happened, at that time a federal law was passed by the government that declared chemical dependency a disability, and a person could not be fired for a disease.
Despite his low point, he did finally go to treatment. Now 36 years clean, Shelby is sharing his story with others to bring hope that recovery is possible.
Today (Friday) he spoke with the St. Cloud Alano Society, a society that helps people overcome alcoholism. As Shelby joined in celebrating the society's 55th year, he says he hopes by him sharing his story, it will help someone.
"So the take away when they walk away from this. They go Shelby's the same as I am. He's not a big deal, it doesn't matter that he was on television, doesn't matter that he wears a 3-peice suit or has all these awards. None of that matters, what matters is he understands me and as a result of him telling his story, I understand him"
Shelby says alcoholism is not something that ran in his family. His mother and father were not alcoholics. He does have an uncle and many people in his generation coming out of his family who suffer from alcoholism. However, he does not blame anyone, but himself for taking that first sip.
Shelby says despite his hardship, he wants people to see him as a friend, a neighbor, a better citizen, and lastly a better Shelby, who has changed his life around.
Shelby is now a reporter for Twins Cities Public Television, he serves on several boards and travels around to speak about recovery.
When I asked him how retirement is going, he laughed and said "I am the biggest failure ever in the history of retirement. I am the person no one should ever use as example of how one should retire"
Septemeber is National Recovery Month, and if you or your loved one needs help. The St. Cloud Alano Society among with other treatment centers have a multitude of options available to help.