Orlando Anchor to Talk About Son's Addiction

WESH in Orlando will air a personal story about their Anchor Jim Payne's son.

Payne's son James is a recovering alcoholic and addict and the station is airing a prime time special tonight about him. 

Payne says that when he spoke to a local group last year and told them that James Payne, the older of his two sons, was a recovering alcoholic and addict, the room fell silent. When Jim Payne asked how many in the room had dealt with a similar situation, two-thirds raised their hands. To help others, he started to tell his family’s story in speaking engagements.

“Most parents build a wall and try to hunker down and deal with a complicated situation,” said Jim Payne, 59. He will share his story on Wednesday’s “Matter of Fact: State of Addiction,” a look at the opioid epidemic. “If you start chipping away at that wall, people will come out of their shells. I came to realize there’s good information out there. You can take control of the situation back from the addict and drugs and make smarter decisions on behalf of the loved one in recovery, and in the process, be a way better parent.”

James Payne, 29, who has been sober almost five years, takes part in the special at 10 p.m. on WESH and WKCF-Channel 18. He works at Solutions Recovery, a rehab group in Las Vegas that he credits with helping him find sobriety after two relapses.

“You need people from the outside to help,” James Payne said. “It’s not just the person that has the alcohol and/or drug problem. The family dynamic gets sick as well.”

Jim Payne and his wife, Sharon, started having James Payne drug-tested at 15. Jim Payne said he later learned his son had started drinking alcohol at 13, then progressed to other drugs.

“People he would hang out with would raid medicine cabinets. People didn’t put away opioids,” the anchor said. “They didn’t care about mixing and the consequences. They were all about getting high.”

“We know Jim as a trusted journalist, but he is a father first with a deeply personal story that may resonate with so many others,” said Barbara Maushard, senior vice president for news for Hearst Television, owner of WESH.

H/T Orlando Sentinel