KWTX anchor shares story of 20-year addiction, journey to sobriety in new podcast

‘When you get sober, that’s when you find your best life’
Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 5:29 PM CST
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(KWTX) – “News 10 This Morning” anchor Pete Sousa for the first time is sharing the story of the 20-year drug and alcohol addiction that nearly destroyed his life, and his journey to sobriety, which he found nine years ago, in a new weekly podcast.

“The Payoff with Pete” debuted Thursday.

“It’s something that I’ve thought about doing for a long time,” Pete said.

“I always told myself ‘I’ll do it then. I’ll do it then’ and then I woke up one morning and said, ‘you know, I think now is the time.’”

Pete discovered alcohol as a teenager.

In eighth grade, the shy 13-year-old couldn’t muster up the courage to ask a girl to dance so by the time Pete was in ninth grade, he turned to alcohol to help.

“When I was in ninth grade, the guys I hung around with, we started to drink a little bit and then I couldn’t wait to get to the dance. I felt like I had personality and courage and it would be my ticket and it was for so long and then it wasn’t.”

Pete also started experimenting with drugs when he was 14 or 15.

Addiction runs in his family, he said, he said before he knew it, he was following in the footsteps of those he’d watch struggle with their own addictions.

Pete abused alcohol through high school and college.

After graduating from the University of Richmond, which he attended on a football scholarship, he worked in public relations at USA Basketball and then in the NBA for the Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers.

Seven years later he was on the air, calling NBA Development League games.

But the addiction followed him into the first decade of his professional career.

“I worked in the NBA for a while, for eight or nine years abut then it became too much,” Pete said.

“It was the focal point of my life. The next drink was the only thing on my mind.”

With his life falling apart, Pete entered rehab.

“That’s what started the change. I started to follow suggestions. I was a broken person and that’s why I call it the gift of desperation. My life changed. I took suggestions. I started to get that feeling that I got from drinking by talking about sobriety and helping other people. I knew it was going to work. It was a miracle.”

Pete is now taking that message to the public in the podcast, which will feature weekly guests with similar yet different stories.

The debut podcast includes a talk with Waco resident Wes Cunningham, who was at one time a Warner Brothers recording artist and produced the local film “Sironia.”

He has been sober now 16 years.

“He’s got an incredible story and he takes us through his journey of when he was on a major recording label and how drinking was part of his everyday life and the turning point, the moment of clarity when he knew it was time and then the magic that happens after that,” Pete said.

Pete hopes the podcast will inspire others, educate others and clear up some misconceptions about getting clean.

“One big misconception is that once I get sober, I no longer will be able to have fun and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Pete said.

“When you get sober that’s when you find your best life.”

“The Payoff with Pete” is produced through Rogue Media Network on Washington Avenue in Waco.

It’s available on ITUNES, Spotify or just about anywhere you get your podcast.

New episodes will drop every Thursday morning.

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