Saskatchewan

Riders blogger Rod Pedersen opens up about alcohol addiction

'Voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders' sharing the story of his battle with the bottle

Rod Pedersen

After nearly two decades as the voice of the Roughriders, Rod Pedersen is opening up about being a recovering alcoholic and encouraging other addicts to seek treatment. (Rod Pedersen)

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After nearly two decades as the voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders on CKRM, Rod Pedersen is the voice of a new cause — fighting addiction and the road to recovery. 

"My dad is 41 years sober. He quit drinking when I was two, so I never really saw him drink but when I was growing up he let me know I was pre-disposed to this," said Pedersen.

"I knew there was probably going to be a time in my life that I was going to have to 'shut it down' to use his term." 

But when it came to alcohol, he said he did not have an 'off' switch. 

"I realized I needed to stop drinking and I couldn't. So when I quit quitting, when I basically figured I was a lost cause, that's when the roof caved in. That was rock bottom," said Pedersen.

"I have no idea why my wife stayed with me, but my family had pretty much turned on me. My family had given up on me because of my drinking and I was drinking more because my family had given up on me." 

"The last couple years before I quit, I said [to my wife] why are you still with me? And she said because the guy I married is still somewhere in there," said Pedersen.  

Rock Bottom

But he didn't think he was the same person. 

His addiction cost him his dream job as the voice of the Calgary Flames. 

"That knocked me into depression. That put my alcoholism into over-drive which led to my rock bottom," said Pedersen. 

He was on anti-depressants and heavily drinking when he went into work. 

"They had sent me home from work," he said. "I woke up the next morning thinking 'what happened?"

That day, his boss asked him to come in for a meeting, where they told him that he was not fired — but he was suspended.

The Road to Recovery

They asked him to go to rehab. According to Pedersen, he was forced into recovery. 

"They knew who I was, and who I was on that day was not me," he said. Like his wife, they still believed in him. 

"That's the thing, for people that are into addictions and when they take you over, you can say 'hey that's not me' but when you get dragged in and shown surveillance video and they tell you 'that's you', that tends to wake you up," he said. 

"I was so mad that I couldn't beat this. I felt like I had won everything in my life." 

But recovery was different. He was beginning to learn that it was an illness, and something that he had to work on every single day. It's the message that he wants to share with other alcoholics. 

"Don't give up with yourself. So many people said you're a train wreck, you're a lost cause, a loose canon and I believed all that," he said. 

But he wants people to know it is never to late to ask for help. 

Pedersen will be sharing more of his story tomorrow as part of Recovery Month in Saskatchewan at a luncheon at the Conexus Art Centre. Sheila Coles will be the master of ceremonies for the event. 

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