For many struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, it can be hard to imagine getting back to leading a productive, fulfilling life. Ted Kennedy proved it can be done.
The news was recently flooded with coverage of Senator Ted Kennedy’s death after a long battle with brain cancer. They talked about his famous family connections, the tragedy that family endured and his numerous accomplishments, particularly in the last two decades and most recently on the Obama campaign.
The stories could have been much different, though. While all mentioned Chappaquiddick and the fatal car accident that took the life of a pretty young campaign worker while a married Teddy was at the wheel, his life didn’t end there, with him drowning his regret. It would have been hard to imagine at the time that Kennedy would be able to bounce back from such a huge error in judgment – even with such a famous name. But he didn’t allow that one event or his long struggle with alcohol to define him.
There was always open speculation about the youngest Kennedy brother’s drinking. Michael Kelly’s February 1990 article in GQ magazine, “Ted Kennedy on the Rocks,” was a thorough profile that addressed the Senator’s alleged alcoholism and womanizing. A 1991 Time magazine article titled “The Trouble With Teddy” went so far as to paint the following unflattering portrait: “Kennedy’s face sometimes looks flushed and mottled, with the classic alcoholic signs of burst capillaries, puffiness and gin-roses of the drunk.”
Not that Ted Kennedy was the only politician who didn’t know when to say when. In the same Time article there was also mention of then-Governor George W. Bush’s DUI arrest in 1976 and former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney’s pair of arrests for drunk driving in his early 20s.
Addiction affected other members of the Kennedy clan as well. Bobby’s son David died of a drug overdose. Another Kennedy nephew, Christopher Kennedy Lawford, battled drug and alcohol addiction then wrote about it in his memoir, Symptoms of Withdrawal. Teddy’s son Patrick entered rehab in 2006 after crashing his car on Capitol Hill, where he served as a congressman.
The Kennedys may not offer a perfect blueprint for successful recovery, but Teddy’s life – and the way he was remembered after his death — do offer hope to those who think they’ve gone too far or done too much to ever turn their lives around.
If you or someone you know is battling alcoholism or any substance abuse problem and are afraid you can’t change your life for the better, contact 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.
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