Senate majority leader seeks help for alcohol dependency

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Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan released a statement Sunday afternoon indicating he has recently sought help in battling alcohol dependency.

He did not disclose details of his treatment, but did say it will help him continue as the Republican conference leader and as the representative for the 2nd Senate District.

“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,” Flanagan said in the statement. “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.”

Republican Senator George Amedore of Rotterdam, the chair of the Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, commended Flanagan for being open about his alcohol problem and seeking help.

“Openness and honesty are important as we continue our efforts to break the stigma of addiction, and I applaud his willingness to lead by example in his own life,” Amedore said. “It takes courage to seek treatment and face the issue head on and I wish him all the best in his recovery.”

The top Republican in the Assembly, Brian Kolb of Canandaigua, also issued a statement of support.

“John Flanagan courageously came forward today to discuss a deeply personal issue. His actions should inspire others to seek help and support with their own unique challenges. I wish him my heartfelt support and best wishes.”