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Recovering after treatment program, Brian Oake shares 'frightening experience' with alcohol

The popular radio host said he isn't looking for sympathy.

For two-plus decades Brian Oake has been one of the most familiar voices on Minnesota airwaves, and on Thursday he announced that he "literally almost scared to death" after an alcohol addiction resulted in a nearly month-long stay at an in-patient treatment program. 

Oake, best known for his many years as a radio host at The Current and Cities 97.1, announced on his podcast – The Brian Oake Show – that he spent 28 days receiving inpatient treatment after a frightening experience in early July. 

"Hello, everybody. I've been gone for the last month. Where was I? Detox and treatment. My drinking ways finally caught up with me, and in a big way," Oake said to open the episode. 

"I had a decades-long love affair with Irish whiskey. Still love it, or at least the thought of it. But it caught up with me. After a very frightening 12-hour episode in the emergency room, followed by four days of intensive detox, I decided the best thing for me to do would be to reevaluate my life. At the age of 52 I entered my very first inpatient treatment program."

Oake said his drinking became "around the clock" about eight months ago, and on the morning of July 10, as he was preparing to head towards Alexandria for a weekend gathering with friends, he decided to hold off on consuming any alcohol.

"That means, for the first time in a while my body went 12 hours without booze and my body went into withdrawals," he said, recalling that he experienced severe chills, profuse sweating, intense nausea, a throbbing headache and trembling hands. 

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He wound up in the emergency room and went through a testing gauntlet before ultimately ending up in detox, the first three days of which he says he can't remember. 

"I was told that I was probably less than 12 hours away from a proper seizure," Oake said. 

He spent 28 days in treatment and is hopeful that he can stay alcohol-free going forward. 

"I feel more clear-headed than I have in a long time. My body feels so much better. It's time to see what's next." 

Oake started his podcast shortly after his exit from The Current's morning show in August 2019. The Star Tribune reported that Oake's departure came after he posted a lengthy rant on Facebook detailing how he and his daughter were kicked out of a Tenacious D concert at the Palace Theater, allegedly after his 20-year-old daughter took a sip of his drink.

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