My Point of View: We must recover; we need to succeed

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2021

My Point of View by Robert Hoffman

My Point of View by September is National Recovery Month and is held to promote and support new treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible. From the National Recovery Month website: “September, National Recovery Month 2021. Recovery is for everyone: every person, every family, every community.”

Robert Hoffman

In 1989 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) launched National Recovery Month to increase awareness surrounding mental health and substance abuse. At the same time, they wanted to celebrate the success stories to illustrate that living in recovery is possible.

Few success stories exist that are better than becoming the president of the United States of America, and though our last election was defined by the Covid pandemic, our two 2020 candidates shared one amazing trait that they each attribute to their success: both President Trump and President Biden choose not to drink.

A November 2020 New York Times article says Mr. Trump has over the years said the main reason he does not drink is because he witnessed his brother Fred struggle with alcoholism and later die from it. Gwenda Blair, who has written about Mr. Trump and his family, said the president realized early in his career that abstinence would give him an upper hand in the brutally competitive New York real estate development market.

The same article says Mr. Biden grew up in a house full of drinkers, notably his Uncle Edward, known as Boo-Boo. “There are enough alcoholics in my family,” he once said when asked why he did not drink.

We have made it past what was probably one of the worst presidential elections held in our time because of how defined it was by the Covid pandemic and election policy changes, but have we recovered? Will our 2022 elections be as turned upside down as the 2020 elections? Will election integrity be trusted more in 2022 than it was after the 2020 elections? Will we recover?

No story defined Minnesota worse than a fentanyl overdose did, and thank God D.C.’s Jan. 6 didn’t turn out as bad as all the Minnesota riots, but have we recovered from either yet? Are we ready for another election and, even worse, another COVID pandemic-led winter of unhealthy mask mandates, business and school closures and lockdowns? Can we recover from more?

Our community has been hit very hard by the loss of too many beautiful people lately. It seems like more than normal during the struggles of the Covid pandemic. I have personally lost friends to suicide and overdose recently. Just this last weekend I helped carry a friend’s daughter into the emergency room, and last week I was asked to meet with a homeless young gentleman from town who told me that he was more afraid of living than he was of dying.

I struggle with each of these stories because I can relate. Like President Trump and President Biden I choose not to drink, but unlike each of the presidents I am a recovering alcoholic of almost six years now and came close to dying when I quit. 

I promised my wife I would quit drinking and that is how I’ve been successful in doing so, but being in recovery during the Covid pandemic, seeing riots right here in Minnesota and especially navigating Governor Walz’s eviction moratoriums has been tough. I was concerned any of these would kill my recovery (and soon me), but we must recover. Personally and as a nation.

In recovery can come successes. July 1 my wife and I celebrated our 12-year wedding anniversary, in early August our Republican’s fair booth was an incredible success and later in mid-August our Freeborn County/Faribault County Picnic at Edgewater Bay pavilion was an outstanding event attended by many people from both counties as well as our state Reps. Bennett and Olson, Sen. Dornink, Congressman Hagedorn and governor candidates Gazelka and Jensen.

Healthy families, politics, lives and businesses will lead to a strong nation again. I share my story of recovery because all of us matter, and we can help each other out. If jeopardizing a little bit of pride this Recovery Month helps even one more person, then sharing my small story of recovery is worth it. (Especially when I explain that when I was drinking, I was voting Democrat.) Thank God for recovery! *SAMHSA’s national recovery helpline is 1-800-662-4357.


Robert Hoffman is the chairman of the Freeborn County Republican Party.