Nine news boss has no memory of drink-driving arrest
Top-ranking Nine news boss Darren Wick has given himself just "one shot" at recovering from alcohol addiction after being arrested for high-range drink-driving.
In his first interview since his October 16 arrest when he blew 0.227 - more than four times the legal limit - driving home after a long lunch and work drinks, a remorseful Wick said he was taking immediate action to address his illness.
On Monday the news and current affairs director will check into an inpatient treatment program at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic on Sydney's north shore.
Wick told The Saturday Telegraph he is committed to working intensively with drug and alcohol counsellors on the 12-month program to better understand the illness that had, he said, "snuck up" on him.
"I need professional help," Wick said, his voice catching as he confirmed he was battling with his mental health.
"I've got one shot to get things right. I'm not gonna f. k it up," he said.
Wick will take several weeks off work from Nine to participate in the intensive program that requires the 57-year-old news chief check into the facility for an initial three weeks.
After this, he confirmed, he will continue with counselling in an outpatient program which requires he attend twice-weekly meetings for a further 11 months.
The news boss said the counselling was necessary, given events of the past year.
Wick admitted he had little memory of climbing behind the wheel of his Jeep Cherokee soon after 6pm on the Friday before last and driving 1.2km to the corner of Mowbray Rd and Penshurst St, Willoughby, where police pulled him over at the start of his 20km drive home to Narrabeen.
"I'm just piecing things together," he said.
"Clearly I have an issue with alcohol. I'm admitting that and I'm determined to take control of my life.
"The issue I've had, I've kept it private (and) away from the workplace … (until) I've had my train crash."
He was unaware of rumours a colleague may have tipped off police after failing to persuade the news boss to book a taxi or Uber.
Wick had been at lunch with an unidentified friend in Crows Nest on October 16 and returned to Nine's Artarmon studio lot around 4pm to make a brief appearance at a farewell gathering.
The 60 Minutes team was having a send-off for the program's production office, an old cottage at the base of the Nine broadcasting tower that has been headquarters for the show for more than three decades.
Wick made an appearance to address the troops. According to sources, he gave an impassioned speech before assuring colleagues, around 6pm, he would catch an Uber home.
The 57-year old, who has a court appearance scheduled for November 26, now faces possible jail time or a driving ban of up to two years.
In a letter distributed to staff last week Wick admitted he had been struggling to control his alcohol addiction "for some time".
Last year he managed to give up alcohol for six months after developing a golden staph-like superbug in a hip replacement that almost killed him.
Friends say he hasn't been quite right since the illness.
"Now that I'm going through it (myself), I get the crash and the journey," Wick said.
"This is not a misdemeanour, it's a serious crime, and, as I've said, I feel terrible, I've let everyone down … but I'm at a point where I have to recognise and acknowledge and take ownership of this problem with alcohol and I have to fix it and I will fix it."
Originally published as Nine news boss has no memory of drink-driving arrest