Republican representative Trey Radel is looking forward to his return to congress after a leave of absence. The congressman was caught purchasing 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover officer in October and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession. He was sentenced to a year of probation and took leave from congress for a 28 day treatment program for substance abuse. In spite of calls for his resignation among GOP leaders, Radel announced that he would not resign and would instead return to congress while vowing to remain sober.
Soon after Radel completed his stint in rehab he held a news conference in which he admitted to having an alcohol problem. He also acknowledged his need to rebuild trust among his Florida constituents whom he loves to serve. Only a few months ago, he unknowingly bought cocaine from an undercover federal agent and then tried to throw it away when he discovered who he had purchased it from. When more federal agents entered his apartment, he handed over more cocaine and was then charged with possession to which he pleaded guilty in November. When questioned at the conference, Radel claimed to have only used cocaine a handful of times and asserted that his real issue was with alcoholism. The House Ethics Committee is still investigating the incident and Radel pledged to cooperate with them in any way possible. Their investigation will determine whether his criminal actions violated the Code of Official Conduct or any other law in the performance of his duties.
His time in rehab led Trey Radel to make an effort to remain sober so that he can regain his trust with the people of Florida. He said that he would attend daily addiction meetings and get in touch with his spiritual side in order to stay away from alcohol and drugs. He admitted that his drinking was “selfishly fun” and led to a lot of poor decisions which never affected his job but harmed his relationships with his wife and child. He has now built a support system to help him with his personal problems with alcohol and is also receiving outpatient addiction treatment for his continued recovery. Radel said that he would probably battle his alcohol addiction for the rest of his life but his work in 12 step programs will help to keep him on track. Radel apologized for his actions and vowed to work hard to stay sober while continuing doing the job that he loves.
Trey Radel returns to congress facing political opposition and challengers hoping to take over his seat in the House of Representatives. Paige Kreegel, a former member of the Florida State House, lost to Radel in the 2012 primary. He has launched a campaign to unseat Radel because his Florida constituents deserve “serious, sober representation” from someone free from distractions and that they can trust. There are other challengers hoping to win the congressman’s seat but he plans to remain on board to continue his work in the House. He did not divulge whether he would attempt to be reelected as he asserts his focus now is on his health and family. If the House Ethics Committee’s investigation determines him to have committed a violation then he could face expulsion but will more likely be censured. After his return from rehab however, it seems that Radel will probably remain in the House at least until the primary in August when he will face challengers such as Kreegel and other contenders like Connie Mack vying for his position.
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Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.