February 24th, 2012
12:35 PM ET
3 years ago

Kennedy: Recovery is a 'day to day process'

(CNN) – Former Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy opened up about his lifelong battle with addiction on Friday, asserting that recovery is still a "day to day process." Kennedy is son of the late Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy. He left public office last year after eight terms in the House.

In an interview set to air on CNN's "John King, USA," Kennedy told Congressional Correspondent Kate Bolduan that leaving public office was the right decision.

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"For me, I needed to reduce the number of stressors in my life in order to let recovery take hold," Kennedy said. "My Dad was able to balance a private and public life and I was less successful in trying to do that."

Kennedy emphasized the importance of family support when seeking help and attributed much of his sobriety to his growing family.

"There's nothing better than love and another human connection to help keep you thinking of the future and working everyday to make that future better by living for today," Kennedy said.

Last March, Kennedy announced his engagement to New Jersey school teacher Amy Petitgout.

Since leaving the political spotlight, Kennedy spends much of his time as an advocate for mental health parity and addiction equity, discouraging health insurance companies from discriminating against individuals suffering from a mental illness.

"Addiction affects everybody," he said. "We need to treat it as a medical issue not as a moral issue."

Kennedy recently launched the "One Mind for Research" campaign, which strives to cure brain disorders and eliminate discrimination within 10 years. "One Mind for Research" brings together scientists, philanthropists and policy makers from across the country to collaborate on research in order to find cures for disorders like Alzheimer's, addiction and depression.

"It's all the brain," Kennedy said, "but unfortunately, our efforts to study the brain are often fragmented."

When asked about whether he would ever run for public office again, Kennedy told Bolduan, "In the future, when I have a family and I have some long-term recovery, I might be able to look at other ways to serve that might be more public."

To see the full interview tune in tonight to CNN's "John King, USA" at 6 p.m. ET.

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Which only begs the question, who cares??? Is CNN trying to drum up support for more Kennedys in politics? Haven't they done enough damage to this country?

    February 24, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. Durundal

    Why is it that the people with screen names related to patriotism and truth are typically the worst examples of humanity and the least credible voices speaking. Anyone else hear a banjo?

    February 24, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Truth asked:

    Which only begs the question, who cares???
    --------------
    I think this was basically an advertisement, an infomercial about the interview being broadcast this evenning.

    February 24, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Never was a big fan of the Kennedys (well, Bobby was a great man)... but you get a tip of the cap for trying to get off the sauce, Patches. Good luck to you.

    February 24, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Willie Floyd

    "TRUTH"–you need to take a very long vacation-somewhere in the Middle East would be good.

    Mr. Kennedy you are doing a great thing by bringing to the publics' attention the need for ubderstanding and treatment of addiction. Prayers will be for your continuing recovery.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    February 24, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Willie Floyd

    understanding"–sorry.

    February 24, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. george of the jungle

    durandal hit it right on the head. Amazing the nastyness that keeps flowing from or right wing patriots.

    February 24, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "In the future, when I have a family and I have some long-term recovery, I might be able to look at other ways to serve that might be more public."
    ------------------------
    Very civic-minded, and introspective statement By Mr. Kenneddy.
    I wish you peace of mind and, spirit Mr. Kennedy, and the strength to continue your recovery.

    February 24, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Well his father Ted Kennedy was a womanizing drunkard that murdered a woman and never served a day in jail for it. A fine example of a Democrat poilitician he was. Looks like the alcoholic gene got passed down to his son. Hopefully none of his father's other disastrous traits will haunt him.

    February 24, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I remember in college when President Kennedy was assassinated that a number of right wingnut McCarthyists actually cheered when it was announced in class. Republicans have a crazy base that is full of hate.

    February 24, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    9.Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Well his father Ted Kennedy was a womanizing drunkard that murdered a woman and never served a day in jail for it. A fine example of a Democrat poilitician he was. Looks like the alcoholic gene got passed down to his son. Hopefully none of his father's other disastrous traits will haunt him
    ------------------------
    Laura Bush killed a young man in her hometown didn't she? How many years did she serve? None I think. Then she became a pill-popping First Lady to that idiot that nearly killed our country, and has the blood of thousands of our military and innocent Iraqui civilians on his filthy hands.
    So what's the problem?

    February 24, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. GI Joe.

    One of the first things to do in recovery is remove yourself from the situation.

    Guess all those wealthy drunks and cocaine snorters in the republican party are bad influences.

    February 24, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Bush and Cheney are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and 6000 of our finest in their unfunded wars, and violated international law with their torture, and neither has spent one day in prison.

    February 24, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. Larry L

    @Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    "Looks like the alcoholic gene got passed down to his son."
    -------------------------------------------------------–
    Hate, ignorance and greed... the marks of a true neo-con.

    February 24, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. cecilia

    I hope and pray for you young man. You have come from a family whose lives have been difficult and painful. I hope one day you will return to public office if that is a good decision for you also. We do need decent man like you. there are not too many around these days

    February 24, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. diridi

    this dude seems to be a nice guy. Join the Democratic party and let us all mobilize this nation to Progress and focus on American Middle Class that is crushed by wrath wagon of Republican idiots. Truth, fair, and four you are idiots. true, true, and true....God bless.

    February 24, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. easydoesit

    Typical liberal drivel!! Ewwww

    February 24, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Mark

    What's news about another Kennedy in rehab?

    February 24, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. Data Driven

    I'll assume he was addicted to alcohol, but CNN forgets the little details.

    At any rate, it sounds like he's doing good work on the mental health front. Good for him, and I hope he continues to stay sober.

    February 24, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    "Guess all those wealthy drunks and cocaine snorters in the republican party are bad influences."
    ------–
    Yup – along with all those wealthy drunks and cocaine snorters in the democrat party.

    Joe, Joe, Joe... addiction doesn't discriminate on any demographic, nor political affiliation. That really was a silly comment.

    February 24, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. Fair is Fair

    Betty Ford and Kitty Dukakis had substance abuse issues as well. Why bring politician's spouses into the conversation?

    February 24, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Dominican mama 4 Obama - Laura Bush killed a young man in her hometown didn't she? None I think. Then she became a pill-popping First Lady
    ==========================================================================================
    So are you asking or stating fact? If fact then back it up with press accounts. Of course you have ZERO proof of ANY of this but it doesn't stop the vile left from spewing their lies.

    February 24, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    21.Fair is Fair

    Betty Ford and Kitty Dukakis had substance abuse issues as well. Why bring politician's spouses into the conversation?
    ------------------------
    You and Truth lost the right to draw the line on decorum eons ago, so don't come off sounding trying to sound like the political equivalent of Ms. Manners now. You all just don't like it when we flip the script on you. Evidently we need to do it more often.

    February 24, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    22.Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Dominican mama 4 Obama – Laura Bush killed a young man in her hometown didn't she? None I think. Then she became a pill-popping First Lady
    ==========================================================================================
    So are you asking or stating fact? If fact then back it up with press accounts. Of course you have ZERO proof of ANY of this but it doesn't stop the vile left from spewing their lies
    ------------------------
    CORRECT. Just like it doesn't stop the likes of you.
    How do you like it?

    February 24, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    So when the Deomcrats in Washington spend like drunken sailers, they REALLY ARE DRUNK!! OK, then we need to install breathalizers at the door of the chambers. LUI (Legislating Under the Influence) should be a federal offense. I don't need any alcoholic or druggie creating or voting for laws that affect me. I guess this is why Obamacare got passed and Pelosi said they'd have to pass it before we could see what was in it. Sure sounds like she was PLOWED when she said that!

    February 24, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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