Sen. Flanagan's colleagues offer support after alcohol-dependency admission

NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) - State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan says he has sought treatment shortly after announcing his battles with alcohol.

Over the weekend, Flanagan released a statement, saying he realized he had been using alcohol as a crutch to deal with pressures from the job.

Flanagan released the following statement:

"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."

Some of his colleagues, and those in the opposing party, stood behind Flanagan and said the following:

"It took great courage for Senator Flanagan to take such positive steps to resolve his personal issue. My prayers are with him as he continues his efforts to a full recovery," said John DeFranciso, a Republican Senator.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted the following:

"Alcoholism is a disease. @LeaderFlanagan deserves our respect & support for seeking help & for talking about it as an example for others."

And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said,

"NY Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan is setting a brave example by getting help. We stand beside him in full support."

Sen. Patty Ritchie said, "“There is no shame in admitting when we need help, but it takes courage to admit it publicly, as well as address the problem head-on.  Alcohol abuse is a real problem that many people are trying to cope with and it can affect anyone—regardless of who you are, your career, gender, age or any other number of factors.  My hope is that his example will lead others struggling with similar issues to seek the assistance they need, for their sake and for their families.”
 


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