George W. Bush is often labelled as a "dry drunk" who is "in denial" because he quit his drinking habit without AA and treatment. In fact, his method of quitting is his one true thing.


The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, November 8, 2010. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at

George W. Bush's One True Thing

In his interview with Matt Lauer, George W. Bush discusses his drinking: "I was a drinker. Now I wasn't a knee-walkin' drunk," Bush says.

Alarm bell 12-steppers! There is no such think as being only a partial drunk. He's still in denial - dry drunk, anyone?

Ironically, liberal democrats often voice the same American myth. In a column called "The Deniers' Club" (a play on born-again 12-stepper Mary Karr's memoir, The Liars' Club) New York Magazine's Kurt Andersen described how Bush's approach to alcoholism presaged the Iraq War:

The psychological defense mechanism of denial - unconsciously downplaying or ignoring unpleasant facts - is an impulse most people outgrow after childhood. But at Yale, remember, Bush was a cheerleader. As well as a substance abuser who apparently couldn't admit the problem until he was middle-aged - when he made his swing from boozehound to teetotaler with a plunge into Christian faith but apparently without the 12-step steps that require rigorously abandoning the habit of denial. Consider the great failures of his administration: Katrina, Iraq, the unwillingness to address global warming, and, arguably, before 9/11, Islamic terrorism. Denial runs through them all. (emphasis added)

So, Bush's method of quitting drinking was wrong. Only if he joined AA and acknowledged he was a drunk would it be right. Here is his description of why he quit:

Bush once got so drunk he quizzed a woman about her sex life - in front of his wife and parents.

Bush, who quit drinking in 1986, revealed in an interview with NBC that he asked the family friend inappropriate questions at dinner.

He said: "I'm drunk at the table, sitting next to a beautiful woman. I said to her, 'What is sex like after 50?'"

His outburst was met with complete silence and "serious daggers" from everyone.

He quit when he felt his boozing competed with his love for his family. (emphases added)

Quit out of his love for his family? Could anything be more ridiculous than that?

Yes, this clip from his interview where he explained quitting : "I didn't like the person I was." (Mr. Andersen - is that denial?) He then goes on to describe his family's influence and his born-again experience.

Although I am not religious, all I can say is, "Amen." Because, you see,family, God or equivalent, and aligning yourself with your values are the actual main reasons people quit their addictions, and certainly not the 12 steps. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,

About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment.

And, actually, the same reasons apply for people who do use AA and rehab to quit their addictions.

So, while recovery "experts" like Dr. Drew and liberals cluck, this is the one true thing George W. Bush has to offer.