Road to Recovery

Louisville TV journalist Boel
pens book on life experience

The Wisconsin native
is back on the air at ‘WAVE 3 Sunrise’

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 2012) – For more than two decades, Beloit, Wisc., native John Boel has been one of Louisville’s most recognized TV reporters. He has been a fixture at WLKY for many years and considered by his peers as a pro at producing investigative reports.
Boel has dedicated his life to reporting the news. But the tables turned as 2010 came to a close, and Boel found himself to be the subject matter of many news reports in a not-so-flattering way.

John Boel Book

Photo provided

John Boel wrote a
book about his
experience of having
two DUI arrests.

During his lucrative career, Boel has been honored with 70 Emmy Awards, nine Murrow Awards and 39 first-place finishes in Associated Press competitions. But all of this ended when Boel was arrested for his second DUI, fired from WLKY, entered rehabilitation and served time on house arrest.
“The most difficult part has been in not looking back – staring at the mirror of what I lost – my job, respect, a work family I adored, and what I cost my family,” said Boel. “They have a saying in recovery that it’s OK to look in the mirror, but don’t stare at it. I’m having a hard time in that respect.”
Boel was arrested in November 2010 in Bullitt County, Ky., after pulling into a restaurant parking lot. He was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence and with possession of an open alcohol container. His blood alcohol level was reported to have been .207. Boel was taken to the Bullitt County Jail and posted bond.
The well-known news anchor was previously arrested in October 2008 in Shelby County, Ky., while driving on I-64. He was charged with the same violations that he would repeat two years later.
Boel said he has learned how truly “devastating it can be to be publicly shamed and humiliated. I never really thought about it before, despite all of the people who I’ve exposed.”
Exposing people for their misdoings was part of his news reporting job, and he earned scores of awards for outstanding journalism as a result. He has been labeled one of the best at investigative reporting. After enduring such humiliation himself, Boel is coming to grips with his past and a disease that could have ruined his life forever.
Boel has penned a new book, “On the News…In the News: A Journalists’ Own Story of Recovery and Self-Discipline,” which recounts his struggle with alcohol addiction. He shares stories from one side of the camera and then takes readers to the other, more personal side of his life.
He writes, “As a journalist fresh out of college, my first investigative report was on an alcohol treatment center. Now I’m in one.”
Sobriety has brought him a new outlook on life. Boel said he is “a more humble person. I care about others more. I’m less likely to fly off the handle. I’m better focused on what’s important, and I have much more gratitude.”
First and foremost, Boel said he is a journalist. “Journalism is about learning and sharing experiences and observations on life. I’d been writing that book for 15 years.”
Boel said he had been ready to leave the local news business scene when his arrest took place. “But time off made me realize I have a passion for storytelling. I love to write.”
As Boel well knows, a good journalist tells the whole story. “A good TV journalist has a great ability to witness something and pull the meaning out of it-the things others can learn from,” he said.
“On the News...In the News,” was published by Butler Books, a Louisville-based full-service publisher of trade nonfiction, fiction and illustrated books. “Butler Books was proud to publish John Boel’s book,” said co-founder, president and CEO Carol Butler.
She said Boel “is a brilliant journalist and writer who has shown a lot of courage over the past year, not only by tackling his own recovery from alcohol addiction, but by being willing to share his very painful and personal story with others.”
Boel hopes his story will educate others about a chronic, progressive disease he calls “a brain disease that we cannot manage unless we abstain and surround ourselves with help.”
Butler said, “John wrote his book to inspire others and to give them courage and hope that they and their loved ones can also overcome their addictions. As he said in his last chapter: ‘If baring and sharing my fame-to-shame story and my own rough road through recovery can help even one person stay sober and stay alive, it will give my life new purpose.’ ”
As a result of one year of sobriety, Boel completed the 140-mile-long Ironman Triathlon in less than 12 hours in 2011. He is also back on the air in Louisville, only this time on WAVE 3 TV, where he presents the local news.

• For more information or to purchase “On the News...In the News,” contact Butler Books at www.ButlerBooks.com or by calling (502) 897-9393. The book retails for $19.95.

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