My take on the nascent political resurrections/candadacies of Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer in Monday’s NY Post.
Their REAL Addiction — NYPOST.com
My name is Michael, and I’m a recovering politician.
After 2½ years of being electorally clean and sober, I’m worried by the return of disgraced ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner and, now, the whoremongering ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer to the public stage.
Sure, they’ve been out of politics longer than me, but that doesn’t mean that they can safely use again. Of that I am certain.
I used to work as a professional substance-abuse counselor, where I encountered many addicts with various personality disorders, so I have some insight into the minds of addicts and their enablers –including, thanks to years in public life, to addict-politicians.
Every recovering person knows the inherent dangers of people, places and things.
For the ex-politician, it begins innocently. You start by talking to political reporters, popping into community meetings, criticizing officials and public policies and renewing old acquaintances.
Most politicians are narcissists; they get a buzz from recognition and the importance given our every inane pronouncement. (“Children are the future being raised by a village.”)
Recognition is a terrific high –one that pols forever chase after. And even the faintest hint of recognition can lead the ex-pol to start “using” again.
That desire for recognition is always gnawing at your consciousness. It’s the proverbial monkey on your back –malevolent and dark. It sits there trying to chew through like the eponymous “Mask” in the hit Jim Carrey movie.
Then boom! Before you know it, like Weiner and Spitzer, you’re glad-handing strangers, kibitzing with reporters, writing columns and running for office again. (I’ve managed to limit myself to the column stage.)
Witness the beaming Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer at their respective kickoffs. They downright glowed amid the orgasmic media crush.
The thrusting microphones, digital recorders, pens and cameras obviously excited both men who wore ear-to-ear Cheshire cat grins. In another era, they’d have enjoyed a good smoke afterward.
It didn’t matter that they were being treated as curiosities –political freaks. They were the center of attention, again.
Within hours of filing his nominating petitions, Spitzer jetted off to Hollywood to appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. That speaks volumes about how much of priority he puts on his local campaign.
As with any addiction, enabling family members can be saboteurs of sobriety. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, who was pregnant at the time her husband was sexting with women around the country, appeared in her husband’s video rollout. And she’s reportedly raising campaign funds from family and friends. It’s not unusual for a spouse to push an addict into using again because she misses the advantages that the addiction brought her. Campaigning may help Huma escape Weiner’s daily “big idea” for transforming their lives.
As with any addiction, enabling family members can be saboteurs of sobriety. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, who was pregnant at the time her husband was sexting with women around the country, appeared in her husband’s video rollout. And she’s reportedly raising campaign funds from family and friends.
It’s not unusual for a spouse to push an addict into using again because she misses the advantages that the addiction brought her. Campaigning may help Huma escape Weiner’s daily “big idea” for transforming their lives.
Silda Spitzer had seemed to have a firm grasp on family recovery. But on Friday, we learned that she gathered petition signatures on his behalf. It seems Eliot has convinced her that this time hebcan control his urges.
What can a good citizen do? For starters, don’t be fooled by that talk of redemption or public forgiveness –that’s not the real goal for these candidates; they’re back feeding their addiction to the spotlight and public adoration.
Like all addicts, Weiner and Spitzer must hit bottom before they acknowledge they are powerless over their egos –say, by being trounced at the polls.
As I said, I’ve been politically clean and sober for almost three years, yet my pulse still quickens whenever a former constituent recognizes me or a reporter calls to ask my opinion. But I know that I can’t “use” again.
And I’m unable to cheer for either of these men, because I know they’re doing a disservice to themselves, their families and, most of all, to New Yorkers…
Email and Twitter feedback:
flewis: The Weiner/Spitzer article is one hell of a read. Excellent, truthful, well written and thought out, an eye opener.
@rlmac2: Smart take by someone who’s been there. http://t.co/ogYxFnc8RQ @SquarePeg_Dem #weinerspitzer
Hey Michael: I just love your quote! Thomas Lopez-Pierre
@JCPolancoNYC: Off the hook
@John_Eddy_: Busy day. Just getting around to reading @SquarePeg_Dem’s column. Good writing, keep it up and stay off the wagon 😉
@RussOnPolitics: @SquarePeg_Dem So Weiner and Spitzer should file you in the non-persuadable voters category?