Archive for Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bush says reliance on faith helped beat addiction

January 30, 2008


President Bush puts his arms around Adolphus Mosely, left, and Tom Boyd, two recent graduates of the Jericho Program during his visit and tour of the center Tuesday in Baltimore.

President Bush puts his arms around Adolphus Mosely, left, and Tom Boyd, two recent graduates of the Jericho Program during his visit and tour of the center Tuesday in Baltimore.

— President Bush is talking more openly lately about his old drinking habit, and on Tuesday 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 12 steps program. Actually, it is the second step.

When the president spoke publicly, flanked by both men, it was plain that it was a powerful subject for him personally. Bush grew unusually somber and fixed an unbroken gaze on the cameras as he related the similarities between himself and the men in this sketchy East Baltimore neighborhood who are struggling to put their lives back together.

"These are men who were, in some ways, lost, and lonely, and found love and redemption at Jericho," Bush said. "Proud to be with you."

The 61-year-old president decided to quit drinking the day after a particularly boozy 40th-birthday celebration - July 6, 1986. He has often credited both his Christian faith and vigorous exercise with giving him the discipline he needed to execute that decision and to keep to it since, with nonalcoholic beers the only indulgence he says he allows.

But when he was first running for president in 2000 and during his earlier years in office, Bush stuck to almost quaint code words when on the topic. He has never said publicly whether he was an alcoholic.

Recently, his talk has grown more revealing. Whether it's because he has no more elections to worry about, or has grown more convinced of the positive impact he could have, or some other reason, they are likely to be welcome words for those facing similar problems, coming from the most powerful man in the world.

In December, Bush cited his experience with alcohol as he encouraged young recovering addicts visiting the White House to stick with their fight. "Your president made the same kind of choice and I had to quit drinking, and addiction competes for your affection ... you fall in love with alcohol," Bush said during the meeting, according to a behind-the-scenes account from ABC News.


Ragingbear 9 years ago

He's still an alcoholic. We have more than enough footage of him drinking wine and beer with other dignitaries and whatnot. You can't go from being an alcoholic to somebody that is capable of a moderate drink now and then. Just ask any legitimate alcoholic in recovery.

Haiku_Cuckoo 9 years ago

He's still an alcoholic.

I don't think he denies that. People with drinking problems don't magically stop being alcoholics just because they quit drinking. The addiction is lifelong.

I disagree with Bush on many things, but I give him credit for tackling his drinking problem. Maybe he can help Teddy Kennedy.

dirkleisure 9 years ago

Always remember - right_thinker is nothing more than a fascist.

Confrontation 9 years ago

It's really scary that Dubya thinks the "higher power" is himself.

trinity 9 years ago

whassamatta, didn't double-A work for you?

blindrabbit 9 years ago

Worked around many recovering substance abusers, and many 12 step "miracles". Seems to me most "steppers" appeared and acted like they had been brainwashed. Part of the "recovery process" appears to be a diminishing of self and common sense. Very similar to the proselytysing Christian "missionaries" use to convert the "unknowing".

Methinks "W" went way beyond alcoholism though; just think of the grief Billy got for "not inhaling"; talk about a right-wing double standard.

bisky1 9 years ago

wait til hillary takes office, then we we really see what smart is. she's gonna make bush look like einstien. besides sceen smart has nothing to do with cognitve abilities and everything to do with the person doing the evaluation.

temperance 9 years ago

Stop the presses -- Marion and I are in perfect agreement. Marion, you should also check out Stanton Peele's website -- he's the most articulate opponent of AA (in my opinion):

ksdivakat 9 years ago

George has never been honest about anything has he?? SO why be honest about that?? Isnt this the same guy who said he went to vietnam, but really he didnt?? Was his coc problem due to his "tour of duty?" I hope that Hilary doesnt get it, but by god, we need someone in there with some kahonas that will stand up for US and say enough is frickin enough!

jhawks22 9 years ago

So SCENEbooster thinks he's smarter than dubya. Did you get those impressive grades you like to brag about at Yale or the Harvard Business School while getting an MBA...i doubt it. Also, he was somehow smart enough to become the most powerful man in the world, not once but twice while all you crazies were calling for his head.

jhawks22 9 years ago

Take off the tin foil hat for a little while and get over the fact that the least intelligent human being alive has been outsmarting the dems for the last 7 phony baloney plastic banana good time rock n rollers

EXks 9 years ago

Marion, I'm inclined to agree with your AA analysis, being the skeptic that I am....but parts of that program MAY indeed work for some.

My brother claims AA delivered him from his 20 year binge of drugs and alcohol (that combined with his wife taking a rolling pin updside his head and saying, "it's either ME or the bottle"). He's been clean since 1981, so just maybe the program is working for him and G.W.

Kathy Theis-Getto 9 years ago


I agree. In fact this paragraph says it all:

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

Notice the past tense in the last sentence? Of course he is not addicted anymore - it just magically goes away, with his exposure to "Jericho" and vigorous exercise. What a crock.

I agree that AA is not for everyone, but it works for some and should not be thrown totally overboard.

mick 9 years ago

Do people still take this little puppet at his word? Remember the saying, "I can't hear what you say because what you do speaks so loudly."

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