Twin Cities Radio Legend Tom Barnard Talks Rehab

Updated: 04/08/2013 4:31 PM KSTP.com By: Leah McLean

Twin Cities radio legend, Tom Barnard recently shocked listeners by announcing he was going to rehab.

Now, a week later he's put a lot of thought into what brought him to this point. He started out patient treatment Monday. But first he sat down with Leah McLean and opened up about his struggles.

He says last week he woke up around 3 a.m., heart pounding knowing his alcohol fueled twitter tirade had gone too far. So even before talking with his family or management, he told all his KQRS morning show listeners he was going to rehab.

He decided to do outpatient treatment. Barnard stared a six week program on Monday. He'll go for several hours a day, six days a week. He'll still be on the air every morning on KQRS and he'll still record his podcast every afternoon.

Loyal listeners love Tommy B's humor and straightforward style. But behind the jokes there are deep worries. He said "my anger has been getting bigger and bigger over the last several years." He says it's never directed at his family. But he doesn't want to embarrass them or let them down.

Listener may be surprised to hear how sensitive Barnard is. Even with all his success, childhood difficulties still trouble him. "My father was gone by the time I was 10 years old."

Now Barnard takes anti depressants and occasionally anti anxiety drugs. But he says he has to stop drinking. "I thought, I've never had a DWI, been arrested, hurt someone in a bar fight or missed a day of work. But what if right now I was awake and I had, how would I feel right now. It would be horrible and maybe it's time to stop."

Barnard says he is ready for treatment and hoping his decision to publicly confront his demons will help others. "I think it might help people if I say to them, maybe you don't have to hit rock bottom, to say I shouldn't drink any more."