When Sen. Tom Harkin attacked Rush Limbaugh last week – saying "maybe he was just high on his drugs again" when he referred to "phony" Iraq vets -- Harkin’s words were nothing more than an insult to those who successfully beat addiction.
This month marks the end of Limbaugh’s 18-month probation for a narcotics arrest and the nation’s number one radio host is sober and speaking out.
In a rare interview published in Friday’s Palm Beach Post, Rush tells columnist Jose Lambiet that is indeed drug free and a “better person” from the experience.
He’s a richer person as well – according to records, Limbaugh will have made some $50 million while on probation.
“All's well that ends well,” Limbaugh told Lambiet, adding, “But I tell myself sometimes, 'I can't believe I did this s—-.'”
During his probation, Limbaugh has had to fill out monthly reports on his whereabouts, get tested for drugs, and attend therapy.
"The system is what it is," Limbaugh told Lambiet from his oceanfront compound in Palm Beach.
"I became addicted to drugs because of a medical condition (a bad back) and I'm convinced now that most addicts come to a point where they do drugs just to stave off withdrawal.
“The only thing I regret is that, because of legal and business reasons, I haven’t been able to tell my story. But I'll ponder how I could start sharing because I've often wanted to."
Limbaugh spent five weeks in an Arizona drug treatment center in 2003. Limbaugh revealed that other patients he lived with have not been so lucky. Of 10 people he met there and stayed in touch with, including two NFL quarterbacks and several CEOs he didn't identify, seven have fallen back into drug abuse.
"I have had no desire" for narcotics, he said. "But I plan on continuing therapy even after the probation. It's been extremely important and valuable to me."
"This whole thing has made me a better person. I looked at it as an opportunity. My five weeks in rehab at The Meadows (rehab center) were among the best times in my life.”
Limbaugh also addressed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s attack on the radio host over his misinterpreted comments about “phony soldiers”:
"When the Senate majority leader denounces me, that could have an impact on my business. But I no longer care about other people's opinions. I learned to handle criticism and take blows. When 30 percent of the country hates your guts, it takes a psychological toll.
“Frankly, I love myself a whole lot more."
He added: "Don't forget that the radio show is just a performance.”
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