Patrick Kennedy Talks Addiction and Recovery
The prominence of the Kennedys in America stretches from politics to pop culture. And though they’ve been notoriously plagued by tragedy and controversy, one member of the Kennedy clan is making news for something positive.
The life of a Kennedy
Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy got his start in politics at the tender age of just 21. By 27, he was elected to the Rhode Island Statehouse, and at 31 was part of congressional leadership. But despite climbing the political ranks, Kennedy was fighting an uphill battle of addiction, alcoholism and mental illness.
In a recent interview with his former advisor and friend David Axelrod, who hosts The Axe Files, a podcast distributed by CNN, Kennedy opened up about his personal struggles. And what life was like growing up as a Kennedy.
“Growing up in my family is obviously all I knew, so it was normal,” he said. “I grew up and totally kind of dismissed the enormous impact that all this tragedy that my father [Ted Kennedy] had experienced, both my parents had experienced, my whole family had experienced. (It) was just kind of a constant backdrop to everything that was going on in our lives, but one that wasn’t spoken about.”
Public fall from grace
Like many members of his family before him, Patrick Kennedy found himself tangled in a web of controversy both in his personal and professional life. He was treated for cocaine addiction when he was a teenager. In 2000, he shoved an airport employee at LAX. That same year, he was on a yacht and wound up in an argument his girlfriend at the time that became so heated that the Coast Guard was called in.
Then in May 2006, Kennedy crashed his vehicle into a barricade on Capitol Hill. Though he did not receive a roadside sobriety test, he appeared intoxicated and later pleaded guilty for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. He entered rehab that year, and then again in 2009.
In his interview with Mr. Axelrod, Kennedy opened up about his addiction to alcohol, cocaine, painkillers. Also other prescriptions, but acknowledged that the substances themselves hardly mattered.
“OxyContin was what I used for years, but I’m an addict so it doesn’t matter what it is,” said. “I used benzodiazepines, alcohol, stimulants, Adderall, cocaine, you name it.”
Clean, sober, happy
Today, Kennedy has retired from politics and has stayed sober. He is leading the fight for better mental health care by sharing his own struggle and high-profile problems.
“If we can show people getting better through a complement of. Spiritual and medical and mental health treatments, people are going to have more confidence that this ought to be treated. Because people are going to know it can effectively result in better health.”
Patrick Kennedy himself has said that recovery is a lifelong process – and he’s right. It takes work, but it also takes help. If you’re struggling to get control of your life, be it from drugs, alcohol or other substance abuse problem, The Watershed can help. Call today: 1-800-861-1768.Tags: break the stigma, patrick kennedy, Patriots for parity