In the month we celebrate our presidents past and present in the United States, it seems only appropriate for those of us in the recovery community to also look at what they’ve done – both purposely and by accident – to further addiction awareness.
President Bush and Alcohol
Before he was the Commander In Chief, George W. Bush battled a drinking problem. In his younger years, it took the form of pranks and minor brushes with the law, but it later became an issue that began to hamper his performance. In the James Hatfield penned Bush bio, Fortunate Son, Bush is quoted as saying, “alcohol began to compete with my energies … I’d lose focus.”
While Bush has never labeled himself an alcoholic, he has publicly acknowledged he was “drinking too much.” A charge of disorderly conduct when Bush was 20 years old was later dismissed, but a DUI arrest a decade later resulted in a fine and a suspended license. Bush has said that he quit drinking in 1986 for good after waking up with a hangover following his 40th birthday celebration.
Betty Ford and Addiction
Probably the most well-known White House resident to come clean about her own personal battle with addiction is Betty Ford. The wife of President Gerald Ford, Betty entered treatment following a 1978 intervention staged by the Ford family to force her to confront her addiction to alcohol and opioid analgesics (the painkillers had been prescribed more than a decade before for a pinched nerve). Ford became such an advocate for recovery that she went on to establish the Betty Ford Center in 1982.
One of the most famous instances of drug use (or misuse) among a U.S. President was when Bill Clinton tried to downplay some youthful pot use by insisting, “I didn’t inhale.” The statement, made during his first presidential campaign, became a punch line for comedians and late-night talk show hosts, not to mention Clinton’s political opponents. This incident was the catalyst for a new truthfulness from future presidential candidates. During his campaign, President Barack Obama admitted to getting high when he was younger, without qualifying his experimentation. He has also just recently given up smoking after a long addiction to nicotine.
You don’t have to be in public office or married to the leader of the free world to experience a substance use disorder. If you or someone you love is battling an addiction, call The Oaks at La Paloma at our toll-free number. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.
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