ARIZONA NEWS

Former Valley news anchor shares his story of abuse, addiction

Jun 21, 2019, 2:00 PM | Updated: Jun 27, 2019, 6:55 am

PHOENIX — Brandon Lee has never been dependent on opioids, but he knows what it feels like to be spiraling out of control from addiction.

The award-winning former 3TV news anchor told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes on Friday that he managed to live a double life for years as a successful professional suffering behind the scenes.

“So as long as my closest friends and my family never knew the depths of my addiction then it wasn’t really happening,” Lee said.

He began doing cocaine at 15. Later in life, as he was working as reporter in Los Angeles, he said he would leave his shift at night and take liquid GHB (a date rape drug) in the parking lot.

One weekend, he overdosed twice in the streets and was revived by “a team of miracle workers.”

“This nurse heard me crying and she came into my hospital room and she asked me, ‘Do you believe in God?’ And I said ‘No, I do not.’ And she goes, ‘That’s OK, because God still believes in you,'” Lee said.

“And she handed me this little piece of paper, and she goes, ‘Listen, I know at my church they have one of these AA things.’ She goes, ‘Just promise me if you ever get out of here you’ll go.’ And I said OK. And I went to that meeting; I’ve been sober ever since that day.”

Lee said he went through intense therapy that revealed to him his drug and sex addiction was tied to the sexual abuse he endured as a teenager.

He said that as a child he was repeatedly molested by both his piano teacher and youth soccer coach. He also struggled with shame over his homosexuality.

“And I realized at age 15, I escaped, and I felt that numbness. And all I wanted to do was chase that numbness,” he said.

Lee said covering a story on needle exchange programs during his recovery changed his perspective on keeping quiet about his troubled past.

“We met a kindergarten teacher in line for heroin needles. I met a mother who had her two kids in the back of a Land Rover … and it broke my heart,” he said.

“And when that story aired, I was looking at the comments that viewers posted, and it was bad. They were calling them ‘scum,’ they were calling them ‘trash’ … and I went home that night and cried. I cried because that was me.”

Lee said he called his 12-step recovery sponsor that night and decided to go public with his story, regardless of any negative consequences on his career.

He resigned from his position last year and wrote a memoir called “Mascara Boy” in hopes that it would inspire other people to speak up.

“The reason why I wrote this book is this: I want to do an entire movement, #EndTheStigma. I am calling on all of my sober brothers and sisters who feel safe enough … break your anonymity,” he said.

“Go onto social media, tell your story about how you survived your addiction. Put a face to it. Give that person at home who is suffering in silence a reason to come forward and ask for help.”

To reach the Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line, call 1-888-688-4222, or visit the website for more information.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Arizona State Parks and Trails Photo)...
Associated Press

Hiker dies after falling hundreds of feet in Superstition Mountains

A hiker camping on a peak in the Superstition Mountains east of metro Phoenix was found dead after apparently slipping while taking a photo and falling hundreds of feet, authorities said.
12 hours ago
(AP Photo/Susan Haigh, File)...
Danny Shapiro

Arizona passes $1 billion in total event wagering in third month of operation

It took Arizona just three months to clear $1 billion in total event wagering, according to a report released Tuesday from the state's gaming department.
12 hours ago
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Jim Cross

Arizona’s nation-leading home prices should slow down in 2023, economist says

Even though Arizona has topped the nation in home prices for 30 straight months, there are signs of relief, a Valley economist said.
12 hours ago
Empty shelves were found at a Kroger grocery store on March 13, 2020, in Grosse Ile, Michigan. Some...
KTAR.com

Arizona’s COVID-19 pandemic began with single case 2 years ago Wednesday

Two years ago Wednesday, Arizona reported its first confirmed case of what is now known as COVID-19.
12 hours ago
A group of people from Haiti stand at a gap in the U.S.-Mexico border wall after having traveled fr...
Kevin Stone

Border Patrol union leader says morale ‘in the tank’ after trying year

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said agent morale is “in the tank” after a year in which the number of migrant encounters soared.
12 hours ago
(File Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

Pop-up clinic in Phoenix on Saturday to have free COVID-19 tests, vaccines and protective gear

A pop-up clinic in Phoenix on Saturday will have free COVID-19 tests and vaccines, as well as protective gear to help curb the spread of the virus.
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27: Wide receivers John Brown #12 and Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona C...
Arizona Department of Gaming

The most memorable games in Arizona sports history every fan needs to know

Sports teams in Arizona have seen their fair share of instant classic games, but there's a few that every fan needs to know.
(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
Former Valley news anchor shares his story of abuse, addiction