The President says his faith helped him overcome alcohol ‘addiction’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

President Bush is talking more openly lately about his old drinking habit, and yesterday he offered perhaps his most pointed assessment yet by saying plainly that the term "addiction" had applied to him.

"Addiction is hard to overcome. As you might remember, I drank too much at one time in my life," Bush said during a visit to the Jericho Program, a project of Episcopal Community Services of Maryland that helps former prisoners deal with problems such as drug addiction so they can find jobs and reintegrate productively into society.

Bush spoke to reporters after meeting privately with two men who have graduated from Jericho's program and dealt with drug problems. During that session, which the White House allowed one reporter to attend, Bush spoke frankly about himself.

"I understand addiction, and I understand how a changed heart can help you deal with addiction," he told the two men. "There's some kind of commonality."

He asked Adolphus Mosely and Tom Boyd how they stopped using drugs - and then answered his own question.

"First is to recognize that there is a higher power," Bush said. "It helped me in my life. It helped me quit drinking."

"That's right, there is a higher power," Mosely said.

"Step One, right?" Bush said, referring to the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps program. Actually, it's the second step.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcoholismReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General

14 Comments
Posted January 31, 2008 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. the roman wrote:

As a grateful recovering alcoholic myself (5 years sober) I can understand the President’s reticence on the subject. Proclaiming your status around the table at an AA meeting and in front of TV cameras before the nation are different things. Besides, hubris is to be avoided because in our case pride goeth before the relapse.

The point taken is that sobriety is a daily struggle for those who cannot make that connection to a higher power whom I choose to call God. To stubbornly refuse such a notion and continue to rely on one’s own strengths, knowledge and abilities is an exercise in futility. As it was put to me once at a nadir in my life, “You’re best thinking got you here.” It was only then that I began to consider maybe I could use some divine assistance.

We may not want a relationship with God our Father but He always wants a relationship with us. I pray these men continued success on their new path.

January 31, 8:03 am | [comment link]
2. Adam 12 wrote:

#1: Thank you for your testimony. It is a blessing.

January 31, 8:25 am | [comment link]
3. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

When George W. masters the real step one, he’ll be getting somewhere.

January 31, 8:25 am | [comment link]
4. Sarah1 wrote:

Actually, Br_er, nobody “masters” any of the steps.  It’s a continual submission and acknowledgement that no-one has mastered a step that fosters a long obedience in the same direction.

January 31, 9:23 am | [comment link]
5. RoyIII wrote:

Humility becomes Mr. Bush.  This may be one thing I like about him.  God bless him, he is sober.

January 31, 9:47 am | [comment link]
6. Will B wrote:

It’s a shame the press is always finding ways to put Bush down, (first step versus second step).  George Bush is not my favorite.  In fact, I suspect that history will regard him very poorly, but let’s be fair.  Thank God for him, his family, and our nation that he no longer drinks.  Everyone has to work their own program and do their own inventory.  However, my concern (like for the past eight years) has been that Dubbya often speaks and acts more like a dry drunk than someone in true sobbriety.

January 31, 11:26 am | [comment link]
7. Katherine wrote:

May god bless you and continue to give you strength, the roman.

I clicked on this link just to see if some of the nasty comments about Bush would be here.  They’re muted, but still, gentlemen, usually when someone overcomes an addiction and straightens out his life he is the object of praise and respect rather than derision.  Like the roman, Bush has beaten something I’ve never had to deal with.

It’s my understanding that Bush was able to quit alcohol “cold turkey” and therefore is not familiar with the AA program in detail.  I also don’t know which step is which because I haven’t had to deal with addiction.

January 31, 12:10 pm | [comment link]
8. jkc1945 wrote:

History may well regard Mr. Bush poorly.  That is, until or unless terrorists knock down a few more buildings, or a city or two.  Then we may understand Mr. Bush’s “johnny-one-note” administration with a little more clarity.  He has focused on the fact, and it is a fact, that there are people out there who want very much to kill you and me.  True, the president of the United States should have more things than that on his mind;  but I would like to be around fifty years from now and see what history says, then, about Mr. Bush.  (I would have to be 112, so it isnt likely).

January 31, 2:11 pm | [comment link]
9. Revamundo wrote:

As far as quitting alcohol “cold turkey” it is dangerous and could be lethal. There is plenty of information on alcohol withdrawal symptoms. If you or someone you love has an alcohol problem, seek treatment, don’t try to go cold turkey.

I wish W was in AA. As the big book says, “Rarely have we seen a person fall who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.

I don’t know if W is one of those unfortunates or not. Rigorous honesty for any politician seems to be impossible. I am just grateful that he wants to be sober. How he gets there is his business, not mine.

January 31, 3:06 pm | [comment link]
10. Cennydd wrote:

It took courage for President Bush to admit that he is a recovering alcoholic.  I started down the same path when I was in the service.  It was TGIF for me at the NCO Club twice a week, and I thank God that I quit when I did!

January 31, 3:44 pm | [comment link]
11. Wilfred wrote:

Why did they put scare-quotes around the word “addiction”, as if alcoholism is somehow not really an addiction?

January 31, 4:39 pm | [comment link]
12. Juandeveras wrote:

There is a certain arrogant pettiness among the intellectual giants who refer to themselves as “elves” [ perhaps a more accurate reflection of their mental acuity ]  on this site - I wrote a very non-threatening comment at this location the other day which was deleted. That’s why I rarely, if ever, return here anymore. This is a reflection on the individual whose name is on the site.

February 4, 11:35 am | [comment link]
13. Ben wrote:

Bush is absolutely right because as any addiction overcome happens only and only by the strong willpower and faith as it is only thing which make person strong
____________________________________________
Ben
Alcohol Treatment

October 8, 10:19 pm | [comment link]
14. Stellathomas wrote:

Destructive behavior is more than contradictory: prolonged alcohol abuse can make profound changes to the brain, both in structure and function. Among other actions, alcohol artificially amplifies the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid, an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
———————
Stellathomas

Alcoholism Information

January 30, 6:22 am | [comment link]
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