Experts Say Sullivan's Battle Could Help Others

Monday, July 6th 2009, 9:26 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Substance abuse experts are hailing Congressman John Sullivan's decision to seek, and complete, treatment for his alcoholism.  They hope it will encourage people who need help to do the same thing.  While Sullivan admits to being embarrassed about his public bout with alcoholism, those who treat substance abuse say high-profile cases like this can actually do a great deal of good.

The Mental Health Association expects to be busier than usual this week.  Employees there say when public figures like Congressman Sullivan admit to struggling with addiction, others often follow suit.

07/06/2009  Related Story: Congressman Sullivan Discusses Time In Rehab

"Quite frankly, it's going to give people out there who need treatment for similar addictions the courage to seek treatment for themselves also," said Mental Health Association Director Mike Brose.

Mike Brose says Sullivan is like many alcoholics who come through his doors.  He is functional and successful, but at some point became unable to control his drinking.

"Anytime it's causing a problem for you or your family, it's a problem and it needs to be addressed," said Mental Health Association Director Mike Brose.

Brose points out that the Congressman's battle is far from over.  He recommends 12-step programs, and that is something Sullivan says he is committed to.

"When I got out of the Betty Ford Center, it really starts, it begins. I'm in a program now. I'm working hard. I do it every day, and I'm going to continue to do that," said Oklahoma Congressman John Sullivan.

Sullivan says he appreciates all the support he's received, and pledges to remain honest about his treatment in hopes that others will choose to take the same steps he did.

"That's the reason I'm being so public about it, too.  If it can help someone come forward to know that you need to get help, and you can get it. Don't be scared to do it, and you won't be judged or punished. But, come forward and do it," said Congressman John Sullivan.

The Mental Health Association has resources online for those seeking help.