Rush Limbaugh

First Radio Address Following Drug Addiction Treatment

delivered 17 November 2003, New York

Audio mp3 of Address

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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio.]

As I was saying -- about five weeks ago:

Greetings, my friends, and welcome back. This is the award-winning, thrill-packed, ever-exciting, increasingly popular, growing-by-leaps-and-bounds Rush Limbaugh program on the Excellence in Broadcasting Network. I cannot tell you how excited I am, how happy I am to be back. It is one of the biggest thrills of my life to be here and once again sharing and discussing and talking things over with you. Here's the telephone number if you'd like to be on the program today. It's 800-282-2882. And of course e-mail address hasn't changed: Rush@eibnet.com.

All right, ladies and gentlemen, I must tell you: I'm nervous. I have butterflies in my stomach. I've been anticipating this moment since last Thursday -- actually, since last Wednesday afternoon. Last Wednesday afternoon I was discharged from the treatment center which, by the way, was not in Tucson. We succeeded in fooling everybody on that. It was in Arizona, but it wasn't in Tucson, and it was an intense four weeks. I'm going to tell you the truth; I didn't -- well, I did read a newspaper two or three days, but didn't watch much television, kept track of no news. That would have been counterproductive to what I had to do.

I spent five intense weeks, probably the most educational and informative five weeks on myself and about me that I ever have spent, and I would have had no idea how to do this myself. Now...I've thought back and forth how much of this to talk about, and I am just going to feel my way along on this. I planned nothing. I have nothing written down here....There are some things, though, I do want to tell you, and I think in the course of the coming days a number of the things that I have learned about myself and a number of the things that I want to share with you will just come out in the normal course of conversation and executing broadcast excellence flawlessly, as I am known for and still habitually capable of doing.

But the --  I came to realize a number of things while I was away, and at the top of the list is how much I love all of you, how much I appreciate all of you, and how much this and other aspects of my life mean to me. And I know that a number of you -- you ought to see the mail I've gotten, the e-mail and the phone response....The volume is beyond my ability to describe it. You wouldn't believe it, and if I told you how much it is, people would think "hype." But it's so voluminous; it's so amazingly supportive that it is -- it's just gratifying. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for all that you have done for me over the course of my life.

You know, I've always told you people at holiday time, Thanksgiving or Christmas, because many of you have shared with me how much this program has meant to you over the years and I've always said to you that no matter how much it means to you, you have no idea how much it means to me -- your being there -- and that is as true as ever...if not more so. What I endured was a wonderful process....It's something that, at some point, I think what I went through in these last five weeks is as important as the first grade, and maybe the second grade. It's something that I don't have any regrets, but, yeah, I wish it's something I could have done 30 years ago.

I thought I was going into a treatment center to be treated for an addiction to opiates, to painkillers, and I was -- but it's so much more than that. It is about so much more than that. I tried to treat myself twice for my addiction. I detoxed myself twice and tried to do it by force of will, which is not possible. This is something someone cannot do alone. It's...something that requires several things to change in my life -- and those things are good. These things are quite necessary, and I have to put this recovery that I am in first and foremost....It's something that is now a priority for me. I cannot turn it over to anybody else. Nobody can do it for me. It's something that I must do, but I can't do it alone, either....It's an amazing thing.

Those of you who have gone through this and those of you who are in successful recovery know what you have gone through to succeed and what's ahead of you, and you know what's ahead of me, and...it's not something that I want to spend a whole lot of time talking about to those of you who don't. Although, as I say, over the course of the coming weeks and days, I think it will just naturally be a part of me, these five weeks and the things that I learned about myself. You just will witness it. I don't want to sit here and start telling you, you know, "This is going to happen and this is going to happen and this is going to happen." I think you'll just be able to decipher it and understand it as it is happening.

Now, one other thing. Ladies and gentlemen, I know that because of some comments that I got many people feel and think that when you go to a rehabilitation center for addictions or other things, that the people in there turn you into a linguini-spined liberal, and that's not true. No effort was made whatsoever. There's no ideological reference whatsoever in these things. It has nothing to do with that. So I am who I am. Nobody made any attempt to change me in terms of my core and this sort of thing, other than as it relates to the problem I have, the addiction. But that's, again, something that I deal with myself, and there's a part of it that will be shared, but again, I'm really struggling. I want you to know that I've got mixed emotions. I'm so excited about what I've learned, I want to tell you all about it. And there's another part of me that says, "No, that's not what you want." And so that's it.

I have to do what's best for me if I'm to succeed at this. I can no longer anticipate what I think people want and try to give that to them. I can no longer try to live my life by making other people happy. I can no longer turn over the power of my feelings to anybody else, which is what I have done a lot of my life. I have thought that I had to be this way or that way in order to be liked or appreciated or understood -- and in the process, I denied myself who I was and I denied the other people I was talking to and relating with who I really am, and that isn't good....

You can boil it down to one real simple essence: I can't be responsible for anybody's happiness but my own, and if I allow somebody else the power to determine my happiness, then, well, that's something I don't want to do. I can't do any longer. I have to put myself first. Doesn't mean be rudely selfish. It just means I can't depend on other people to make me happy. I have to do that myself. I'm the only one who has control over that. And I have to admit that I am powerless over this addiction that I have. I used to think I could beat it with force of will. I used to think that I would be different, but I'm not.

I'm just like anybody else who has an addiction. I'm powerless over it, and I have to continue to recognize that and make sure that the things that I've learned continue to be practiced. It's a challenge, but it's exciting. The things that I have discovered about myself and anybody who went through what I've went through would discover about themselves is just sort of like being reborn here at age 50. Have you ever... wished that you could take what you know at whatever age you are, 50, 45, 30, and go back to being a teenager? Well, that's what I guess is a good way to tell you what's happened to me, in the sense that the things I've learned, I can now not relive things, but it's going to give new meaning to the future.

But I don't want anybody to get frightened about this, now....This is not gonna - this has no impact on what you have come to know, love, and respect here and expect, because I've not been phony here. I've not been artificial or any of that on the program. I was all that elsewhere. I was all that other places, but not here. And all of this will reveal itself.

Now, I came out, and I've been cramming since Thursday. What's gone on here since I've been gone? So I see that Ted Kennedy called a bunch of highly respected minorities "Neanderthals." The fact that Ted Kennedy is still in the Senate and hasn't been forced to resign, means that nothing's changed. It's just a good thing Senator Kennedy didn't say it on ESPN, or he might have resigned. John Mohammed guilty. I see the court system tried to screw up my debut here today, but somebody screwed up and they read the verdict two minutes early, and so we were not interrupted by that. But there's no question, he's guilty. 

But about this business that nothing has changed. I have been cramming and I'm looking...Howard Dean's still running the show. The Democrats are still, you know, fantasizing about Hillary being the nominee. The Republicans still don't know how to get judges confirmed. Nothing's changed, folks, and it's time to do something about that. So things aren't going to change here. I want to promise: working together we will make these changes, or we'll make an effort to make these changes.

Oh, one more thing. You know, this is something that I am not able to be as blunt and open about now as I'd like to be. That day will come, and it'll  come soon. I just want to say this to you, and I said this in my closing statement on October...10th...the last day I was here. It's been interesting to... [talking to camera crew] Would you people hang on just a second? There's a video camera recording this, and I just want to wave at it so that they realize I -- a personal "Hi." We're going to send this to the media. I thought about... opening up on steel tariffs and the budget deficit and some real boring, dull, dry stuff because that's what we're going to give the media, but I decided, no. No act. Just be who I am.

This...was fascinating for me over the weekend. I did read some of the so-called experts predicting what I will now be like and who I will now be, and what must have happened to me while I was gone. It's amazing, when you know something that nobody else knows and you listen to the people that don't know anything write and talk about it. It is hilarious. It is absolutely hilarious to read and listen to people who don't have the slightest idea what they're talking about act expert and all opinionated about it. It's also quite hilarious -- and I mean it's hilarious -- it's quite hilarious to listen to people quote the National Enquirer as the world's foremost authority, and I'm here to tell you that they're not, ladies and gentlemen. What you know -- what you think you know -- you don't know. But you will when I am able to tell you all about it, and I hope that's going to be very, very soon. *In the meantime, quick time-out. Great to be back, folks, the EIB Network and El Rushbo back after this.*

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

I'm not hiding, by the way. There was some speculation earlier today that I didn't want people to know where I am. I got photographers all over the route into town. I'm in New York, you know. You know I'm at the EIB Northern Command, and I'm going to be here most of the week, ladies and gentlemen. There's no hiding about this. I know the sky probably seems brighter today to you no matter where you are. The air is cleaner; the water is purer -- and it's not because the environmentalist wackos. It's because I'm back, right? Golden EIB Microphone is still golden. The up-links and the downlinks that connect the EIB network satellites to you are up-linking and down-linking. The truth is now back on the airwaves; equal time is back in America.

By the way...let me thank these guys. I have to thank the guest hosts, everybody that came in here -- Tom Sullivan, Roger Hedgecock, Walter Williams, Mark Belling, Tony Snow, and Matt Drudge -- and my staff, who just worked as hard as they could. All these people worked as hard as they could to maintain the... expectations, to meet the expectations that  you and everyone about this program has, and they did, and I'm eternally grateful. I'm eternally grateful for all your support. I'm pondering ways of letting you know how much it means to me.

There's also part of me that wonders if...I need to apologize. There are people I need to apologize to. When it comes to apologizing to you, those of you in this audience, I think my statement on Friday before I left that I'm not a victim here and I'm not a role model. What I did, I did knowingly. What I did, I did because I wanted to do it, but I knew it was wrong the whole time. It's a powerful addiction this stuff has over me, and it's... something that I'm, as I say, am going to be dealing with on a daily basis, and I'm excited to be doing it as well. But the thing that I want you all to know is that the effort that I put forth during that period of time was not affected.

The things that I said to you during that period of time I meant. The positions I took, I felt -- all of it. There was no phoniness or any of this, and there was no any sort of -- I don't even know what the word is. I was honest with you throughout the whole time. I was not as honest with myself, is what was happening. And I was doing something I knew was wrong but didn't understand why and didn't really understand what I had to do to stop it -- and now I do.

As I say, I'm really eager to share these last five weeks with you because I think that they are things that could benefit people. I think they are things that could benefit you, anybody, whether you have an addiction problem or not. But I'm not qualified to teach it; I'm not qualified to perform it. All I can do is tell you the experience that I had. And so what I decided to do here is rather than do an hour or two hours on that, it'll will just happen. You know, it is who I am, and who I am is what I bring to the Golden EIB Microphone and always have, always will, and so you will...hear it, and those of you watching on the Dittocam, you will see it. And it's...wonderful. It actually is an amazing thing....I wish everybody could do this. I don't know why this kind of thing is reserved for certain kinds of situations when it's so beneficial to one and all.


*= text in asterisks absent from this audio

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