Bush Says Faith Helped Him Overcome His Own Addiction

Visiting a faith-based addiction treatment program in Baltimore, President George Bush referenced his own past drinking problems in telling program participants, “I understand addiction, and I understand how a changed heart can help you deal with addiction.”

The Associated Press reported Jan. 29 that Bush visited Baltimore's Jericho Program, a project of Episcopal Family Services of Maryland, and spoke for the second time in as many months about his personal struggle with addiction.

“Addiction is hard to overcome. As you might remember, I drank too much at one time in my life,” Bush said. After asking two program participants how they were able to stop using drugs, Bush said, “First is to recognize that there is a higher power. It helped me in my life. It helped me quit drinking.”

During the conversation, Bush alluded to the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and said he was “proud to be with” the two mean in addiction recovery, Adolphus Mosely and Tom Boyd. He praised the men for working to be reunited with their daughters, saying, “Girls love their dad, especially a redeemed dad.”

John Schwarzlose, head of the Betty Ford Center, said that Bush's recent openness about his drinking could inspire some to get help with their addictions, but he chided the president for failing to aggressively take the lead in addressing the nation's addiction problems.

“I love that (Bush) said that today,” Schwarzlose said. “But where's the action? … It's really too late.”

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