NYS Senate Majority Leader sought help for dependence on alcohol

John Flanagan made the announcement in a statement on Sunday

ALBANY (WSYR-TV) - The top man in New York State's Senate says he sought help dealing with a dependence on alcohol.

John Flanagan made the announcement in the following statement on Sunday afternoon:

Recently, I recognized that alcohol was becoming a crutch to deal with pressure I was under related to my responsibilities as Majority Leader of the New York State Senate. Therefore, I proactively took control of the situation and sought immediate help so I could overcome it and move forward.

I took this step to ensure this dependency would not affect my ability to do my job or represent my constituents or the members of our Senate Republican Majority.

This is a step I needed to take for myself and for my family, and it will allow me to continue to serve and to give back to my community and state. Being a public servant and following in the footsteps of my father has been the greatest honor of my life, and I know that I have much more to accomplish and much more still to do.

I would hope my actions serve as a reminder to all those who find that alcohol has become a means to confront personal or professional stress.  It never has been and never will be. If you find yourself becoming dependent you not only have a responsibility to your family and colleagues to recognize it, but to proactively engage the programs that are in place that will help you. No one is immune. Seek help and regain your personal pathway through life.

NewsChannel 9 did reach out to ask a spokesman for the Majority Leader with several questions, including how long Mr. Flanagan has struggled with alcohol.. So far, those questions have not been answered.

Governor Andrew Cuomo shared his thoughts in a tweet, stating: "Alcoholism is a disease. @LeaderFlanagan deserves our respect and support for seeking help and for talking about it as an example for others."

A similar note from State Senator Dave Valesky reads: "I commend Senator Flanagan for entering treatment, and I hope his openness encourages others who may be thinking about seeking help."

Senator Joe Griffo added:

"Many people are confronted everyday by personal challenges and issues that they must overcome in order to focus on the priorities in their lives. This weekend, I learned that my colleague, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan, is facing his own personal challenges and I applaud him for acknowledging the problem, accepting responsibility and taking action to seek whatever help he needs to deal with this issue. We further appreciate his honesty and candor in sharing this personal matter publicly. We have many exceptional programs in our state that exist to help and support people who are confronting addiction, and I wish Leader Flanagan and his family all the best as he undertakes responsibility to do whatever is necessary to take care of himself."


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