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The hypocrisy of addiction in politics

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As of yesterday, FL Republican Representative Trey Radel was released from Hazelden, a drug treatment facility in Naples FL. He stayed 28 days being treated for the disease of alcoholism. He claimed in the press conference held at his Cape Coral office last evening that he had used cocaine, a "handful of times." According to Hazelden, treatment ranges from four to six weeks, or longer if needed.

This link cites the top five FAQ's on treatment- http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/top5questions.page citing the cost of residential treatment is $20,000 to 32,000 a month. Media asked at the conference if he had used his salary or taxpayer money to pay for his treatment, to which he responded he paid with his "own money." So where exactly does his money come from, if not by salary or the taxpayers? He was convicted, as I covered in a prior article, of possession of 3.5 grams of cocaine in an undercover sting operation in Washington, fined $250, given probation and went to treatment. Cocaine however, he clearly stated was not an issue for him, but that alcohol had been for some time as he suffers from alcoholism.

Last night in the press conference with various local media, Radel stated he let down the people of South West Florida, and will make it up to them, however he did not say how. He stated he had an awakening and that his alcoholism had no impact on his ability in Congress before, nor would it impact his ability to continue to perform his duties. He further stated that he never engaged in his addiction while performing his job duties, and that he engaged in use "on his own time."

Upon being questioned by one press member about his voting for drug testing of SNAP benefit recipients prior to getting busted, he stated that officials should be drug tested as well. This makes perfect sense as our leaders should be held to the highest of standards, more so than the average person as they make decisions for many people. House Speaker John Boehner had stated that his return should be between Radel and his Constituents. Well, that is not how it works as the House implemented an Ethics Sub-Committee of four to investigate if he has shown misconduct. Members of which include two Republicans and two Democrats: Charles Dent ( R), Yvette Clarke (D), Marsha Blackburn (R) and Janice Hahn (D).

An alternative, however as Speaker Boehner fails to point out is that "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member." As quoted from the U.S. Constitution - Article 1 Section 5 http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec5.html

Dealing with addictions, coming out of treatment and going right back to the same routine is frequently a set-up for relapse, as you are taught to do things differently. Maybe a sober-living house would be more appropriate, as a gradual transition back to the community is most successful. Drug and alcohol use cause chemical reactions and changes in the brain, so how can one say that his disease never affected his duties. An alcoholic's brain is altered permanently upon heavy use of drinking, that includes memory loss, issues in problem solving, leads to carelessness and learning as cited here by Dana: http://www.dana.org/news/brainhealth/detail.aspx?id=9762 an organization that conducts brain research. So, tell us again how the science behind the disease of alcoholism cannot impair one's judgement, even when sober.

Mr. Radel should take more time, and focus on himself as he had reported being "harassed" while in rehab. How would he know this, unless he was focusing on his image rather than himself? Rehab is total concentration and focus on oneself, taking responsibility and implementing daily changes in routine and learning new coping skills, which it appears he may be failing to do. Some go through the motions of rehab, especially when it is a forced decision to do so. I would have more belief, trust and credibility for him, if he had sought treatment earlier, rather than after his arrest. You have to want to change, as many go through the motions of rehab and do not implement lifestyle changes for a successful recovery, leading to relapse by going back to old behaviors. Sounds like this may be an issue in his case as he is too quick to go back to the routine he was in before, where the problems existed. He stated he will attend AA meetings daily and take one day at a time, which is a start, but should he be trusted in making major decisions for the welfare of others when he has his own issues to deal with first and foremost?

Is his credibility destroyed and will it continue to be questioned should he remain in office? He was pressured to resign, but chose not to. Most people would be fired or imprisoned for this type of conduct, or could this be a case of political "Affluenza" as a Democrat, Marion Barry had gone to jail for six months with similar cocaine charges as cited here in an article from Washington Post- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/longterm/library/dc/barry/sentence.htm

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