Wanda Smith confronts Amanda Davis on V-103 about her drinking issues

Ryan Cameron, Wanda Smith and Jim Basile at the 11 Alive Can-A-Thon in 2014. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Ryan Cameron, Wanda Smith and Jim Basile at the 11 Alive Can-A-Thon in 2014. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Thursday, May 19, 2016

Someone today just pointed out a video on V-103 yesterday morning of Amanda Davis promoting her CBS46 three-part first-person piece about her alcohol addiction and depression.

What made it especially interesting was Wanda Smith, V-103 morning host, who is known for “keeping it real.” She confronted Davis pretty pointedly about her issues in what Smith described as “tough love.”

AJC’s Gracie Bond Staples digs deeper into Amanda’s issues with drinking.

“I was one of those people who was very very very upset with you,” she said to Davis. She was psyched to hear Davis coming back to TV last year but dismayed when she heard about Davis’ third DUI. “I was really mad with you because I felt that you had chance after chance after chance and I’m thinking to myself, ‘This is a very smart lady. Very smart lady.’ And I didn’t understand the part that you didn’t go and get the help but you let us on that you were going back to work and everything was fine. But that just wasn’t the case.”

Davis said “denial” was a big part of her addiction, that she thought she could “control” her alcohol. But “that’s not the case. And until your risks outweigh the benefits of drinking, you may not ever realize it.” She noted that genetics and mental illness contribute to alcoholism. “Drinking is a symptom of another problem. I came to find out I was depressed.”

Then Smith goes back to Davis’ visit last June to V-103 studios to talk about her return on air at CBS46 last June.

“But remember the morning you sat in here… When you left here, I looked at Ryan, I said, ‘I think Amanda was a little toasty this morning.’ In my heart, I looked in your eyes. You were happy but I felt like you were drinking that morning. That’s when I got angry, I got upset. They keep giving her chance after chance.”

This is when you could tell Davis was taken aback by the accusation.

“I have never been on the air or made a public appearance after drinking,” Davis said. “That’s not the drinker I am. I care too much about my job to jeopardize it in that way. This job is hard enough and stressful enough to be under the influence trying to pull that off. So I don’t know how you got that impression.”

“Secondly, you said I got chance after chance,” Davis said. “Umm… no, I didn’t. I got one chance after the first DUI in the 1990s. And then I retired in 2013 and Channel 46 called me in 2015. So I didn’t get chance after chance. As I mentioned, I wasn’t aware I had a problem or to acknowledge or ask for help. It wasn’t until the third DUI and those lights came on and it clicked in my head I had a problem.”

Here’s the video:

In the third segment, Davis told Maria Boynton that nobody can tell you that you have a problem. “It has to click in you,” she said.

Boynton said she noticed Davis was uncomfortable on set five years ago. Davis said her personal life at the time was a wreck after a ruined engagement. “To mask my hurt feelings, I began drinking more. Because I was alone, I drank more,” she told Boynton.

A caller then defended Davis regarding Smith’s questioning.

“Alcoholism is a disease,” the caller said. “You can’t expect someone to tell them something they can’t tell themselves.

Smith: “I understand it’s an addiction and it is denial. I guess I look for people who get in trouble one time and then again, I have to ask someone for help.”

The caller: “You have to realize you need help to ask for help. Sometimes, that takes time.”

Davis: “For me, it took a third DUI… Also in the interim, I went back to church and I had that healing take place in my life… It’s not a cookie cutter situation. Everybody is different.”

“I love her, too,” Smith said. “That’s why I’m hurt. I want the best for her. I love Amanda. It’s like my sister in this business. It’s my job to say, ‘If you need me, come tell us.’ I saw her that morning. I was so happy for her to have her job back… It’s tough love. I want her to do well.”

Davis said that her goal isn’t to get back on air for a full-time job. “That’s not in the conversation,” she said. “I just wanted to share this.”

The third part airs tonight at 11 p.m. on CBS46 and all the videos will be online tomorrow at www.cbs46.com.

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