Score’s Danny Mac returns with ‘real joy’ to clear the air
Returning to his midday talk show Monday after a six-week absence, veteran radio host Dan McNeil told listeners he’d suffered “what best could be described as a nervous breakdown” and had sought treatment for depression and substance abuse.
“I can’t promise anything about down the road, but I know today, as I have been for the last six weeks, [I’m] pretty happy to be substance free,” McNeil, 50, said in the opening of his first show back on CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR-AM (670). “Real joy has returned to my life.”
Until McNeil delivered his remarks Monday, Score listeners were told only that he was away dealing with “health and wellness issues.” In the interim, Laurence Holmes and others filled in for him alongside co-host Matt Spiegel. McNeil announced his return on Facebook March 28.
McNeil said his problem started when he stopped taking Lamictal, the mood-stabilizing drug he’d been prescribed “after a long time of fighting temper tantrums and depression and anger and resentment.” Because it resulted in chronic fatigue — a common side-effect of the drug — he simply quit taking it.
“The descent was rapid and it was immediate,” he recalled. “It was the type of thing that was more hellish than any other problem I’ve probably incurred. All the things that had given me joy through the years evaporated. . . . My isolation was just crippling. It reached its apex in mid-February when I experienced what best could be described as a nervous breakdown. And finally I decided it was time to hit the brakes on it and get some help. And that’s what I chose to do.”
In addition to seeking treatment for depression, McNeil said, he entered an outpatient program for substance abuse. “The other part of this is my relationship with substances,” he said. “Time to hit the brakes on something that’s been a best friend when all other measures failed. . . . The old wooden therapy box had to go bye-bye. It’s weed. It’s alcohol. I can’t have it. I need the Lamictal, and I can’t have the substances.”
The program, he said, “helped me reacquire the tools that I gained when 10 years ago I decided it was time to kick a much more evil substance to the curb, and through the grace of God, I’ve been able to do that.”
Thanking his wife, colleagues and friends for their support during his absence, he also expressed gratitude to his audience: “I know with you listeners I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust, as I’m doing with the most important people in my family. And I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and give me a chance to re-earn that trust.”