Amanda Davis tells CBS 46 about drinking and driving: 'I was wrong'

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Veteran TV anchor Amanda Davis returned on air for the first time in three years on CBS 46 Tuesday night to discuss her struggles with alcohol and depression, including the drunk driving incident that contributed to her departure from Fox 5. The report was one of three that will air Tuesday through Thursday during the 11 p.m. news.

She opened with a statement of faith:

I’m here by the grace of God. I’m responsible for everything that’s happened to me. I offer no excuses. This is what I know. God takes care of me. Family and friends love me. And I got some much needed help. I have one reason to do this now. I hope sharing my journey will help someone else.

Davis said her drinking problem really began six years ago after a failed engagement that caused her self esteem to plummet. (She had a DUI more than 20 years ago as well.) She also felt at the time like Fox 5 was getting ready to send her to pasture now that she was in her 50s. "I knew how the industry operated," she said. "Women don't get to age on TV. They're replaced by younger, prettier ones."

While viewers saw Davis as a confident, self-assured anchor, she felt like a fake "pretending to have it all together when nothing could be further from the truth."

Davis said she always saw herself as a "social drinker." "A few friends expressed concern about my drinking," she said. "I brushed it off." Her vision of an alcoholic was someone who needed to drink "sun up and sun down." That wasn't her.

Dr. Tommie Richardson told Davis in the report: "It doesn't matter how much you drink or how frequently. If someone is drinking for a certain reason to manage feelings, that's the most important component."

Davis said she felt self pity and didn't realize how truly blessed she was. "My life was spiraling out of control," she said. "Then it happened. The worst day of my life. I hit rock bottom."

On November 11, 2012, Davis went to a comedy show with friends. But her friends had loved ones to go home to. She didn't. So she stopped to get something to eat and drink. On her way home, she hit another vehicle head on driving down the wrong side of the road, injuring the other driver.

"As my car spun out of control," she said, "I remember feeling terrified but relieved. My secret was out. Someone would hear my cry for help."

She was arrested, charged with reckless driving and DUI. At the time, she realized her life would change forever. (Later, those charges were dropped but she now acknowledges she was under the influence.)

At this point, part one of her report ended and anchors Ben Swann and Sharon Reed asked her some questions.

She told them that drinking was a way to numb her pain. "If I had too many, I got to the point where I was happy," she said. "I was having fun. I didn't know to stop. That was the problem. I couldn't stop once I started."

Davis, who spent 26 years working at WAGA-TV until 2013, said she decided to finally publicize her ordeal so others might be inspired to get help themselves.

"I have no excuse for drinking and getting behind the wheel," she told the anchors. "I was wrong... There is no forgiving that."

Though she didn't say it, this "coming out" moment is also a way to re-introduce Davis to the public and lay the groundwork for possible full-time work at CBS 46.

Last year, CBS 46 placed her on its "Just a Minute" commentary crew team, packed with former journalists willing to express their opinions a minute at a time. Last summer, she was supposed to debut on the station but was arrested for another DUI. She took a leave of absence before she had even been on and went to rehab. She ultimately received probation

The three videos will all post on on Friday afternoon, WGCL-TV creative services director Jeff Holub told me.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.