Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jeff Dubay Opens a Vein

Back in 2008, KFAN's radio lineup -- a lineup syndicated then and now on stations around the state, including Duluth -- was shaken up by the arrest of midday personality Jeff Dubay. With drug charges looming, the station eventually fired Dubay, and he hasn't really been heard from publicly since.

Co-host of the popular "PA and Dubay" show on The Fan, Jeff had become a household name among college hockey fans in the area because of his willingness to talk up college hockey on such a large platform.

Yeah, he was a Gopher fan through and through, but Dubay also had an appreciation for the game, and his support of the sport was appreciated, even if you didn't like the overall pro-Gopher message sometimes.

When he left the station, it became difficult to get the same level of college hockey coverage, though Dubay's co-host, Paul Allen, has continued to try. PA has a weekly college hockey segment during the season, sometimes expanding beyond that segment to talk about big games and series. Before the NCAA Tournament, he cold-called me while I was sitting at my desk, and he also interviewed UMD coach Scott Sandelin and North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol, along with Gophers coach Don Lucia, who was a regular.

But none of it was quite the same without Dubay's passion for the sport, something that can't be fabricated or duplicated.

Wednesday, word got out that Dubay was scheduled to appear on WCCO in Minneapolis with former Fan personality Chad Hartman. What followed was a very candid conversation about where Dubay lost his way, and how hard he worked to get himself clean.

“When somebody brought this out and set it on the table, I’d never seen this before,” Dubay said. “It’s these chunky, little white things. I thought, ‘What the heck is it?’ The guy said, ‘It’s rock.’ I still didn’t know what it was. I still didn’t know it was crack cocaine.

" ... You took the drug and then the drug took you,” he said. “And that’s all it took. I was done for the next two years.”

Dubay said it all started with a messy divorce, something he said amounted to a personal tragedy he wasn't prepared to handle.

He talked about the recovery process, including an attempt to get clean before he was arrested in 2008. Dubay said he was never high on the air, but did call in sick a couple times when he wasn't in a condition to work, and he also said Allen tried to get him help before it was too late.

Dubay said what's been said before about recovery. You can't get better until you're ready to. Dubay admits that before his arrest, he knew he was in a bad way, but he clearly wasn't ready to get help. He said he eventually got clean without the aid of treatment, basically locking himself in his room, because "there were no drug dealers in the closet."

Hear the interview here.

Dubay also talks about going to a friend and asking for help, but getting "No" for an answer. From there, he confided in Allen, but treatment wasn't successful.

It's a candid and sometimes emotional conversation, one that reminds of the dangers of drug use. Like Dubay notes, there's a reason people use, but there's also a reason people struggle to stop using once they start. He learned some harsh lessons along the way.

Asked by Hartman if he'll ever use again, Dubay said there was no way.

From afar, I can only root hard for the guy. I never met Jeff, but anyone who enjoyed the show he and PA were able to do, or anyone who just doesn't like to see someone completely consumed by the evils of drugs, would be firmly in Dubay's corner on this one.

I'll also offer this bit of unsolicited advice to all of you: If any of your friends ever confide in you that they are struggling with drugs or alcohol, please don't turn them away. Help them get the help they need.

1 comment:

Eric J. Burton said...

I have had an opportunity to meet Jeff on a couple of instances and got to enjoy a beer with him in a bar in Grand Forks ND during a Sioux vs. Gopher series. Jeff is a likable guy that just got into trouble – I just hope that he can get it straightened out.