A Prescription for Me Time
That’s being a Congressman, for ya. Patrick Kennedy hopes to get back to work from a mental health retreat “in time for the… debate on a national health-care overhaul later in the summer.” Presumably, he needn’t expend any hope on whether the checks from his $174,000 salary will keep arriving, whether or not he manages to participate in the healthcare debate.
Look, without any information about what inspired Kennedy’s decision, one can still say that it was probably the intelligent one to make. A person’s health is paramount. The idea that somebody who holds an ostensibly important job can just “step away” like this raises questions about what they do, and who should be doing it.
Frankly, having stood on the incisors of alcohol abuse and stared into a dark psychological gullet, I see far too much permissiveness in this prescription explained by Kennedy friend Ronald Smith:
Smith said medical research has found increasing evidence that in early recovery, which he defined as two to three years, it is essential for addicts to recognize when they face “stressors” such as fatigue or illness or family problems. “You have to go back, take a couple of days off and renew your sobriety,” he said.
As a matter of principle, I don’t believe a solution calling for the avoidance of problems fosters the necessary change in outlook. Moreover, to the extent that a person is in the precarious position of having to avoid “stressors,” his first step should be away from a high-stakes job like U.S. legislator.