Larry Kudlow shared his story of addiction and recovery to first lady Melania Trump at the White House on Thursday, noting he was celebrating 25 years of being sober this year.
Kudlow, who serves as President Donald Trump‘s chief economic adviser, was Wall Street star in the 1990s – with chatter he could run for public office – when he revealed he left his job at Bear Stearns to enter a 12-step program in order to deal with his addictions to cocaine and alcohol.
‘It would have been unthinkable that I could occupy such a job 25 years ago. I was a hopeless abuser of alcohol and drugs,’ he told attendees at a Office of National Drug Policy roundtable, hosted at the White House by the first lady.
‘I had tried several times unsuccessfully to get sober,’ he noted. ‘Like a lot of my peers and friends, I went through bloody hell and suffered significant consequences. I was unemployable.’
Melania Trump hosted a roundtable with the Office of National Drug Policy on addiction and recovery issues
Larry Kudlow shared his story of addiction and recovery to first lady Melania Trump at the event, which took place during National Recovery Month
Melania Trump is welcome to the event by Director of National Drug Control Policy James Carroll (left) and Larry Kudlow, President Trump’s chief economic adviser (right)
He noted his story has been out there so he didn’t go into details except to say it was ‘the best thing’ to happen to him because if forced him to change.
‘I believe sincerely today it probably was the best thing that ever happened. Because it forced me to change,’ he said, dressed in one of his signature pin-stripped suits and a soft pink tie.
The ups and downs of his struggle to stay sober were chronicled in the business papers in the 1990s after he told his story to The New York Times, admitting he was an addict and that Bear Stearns had actually forced him out.
In 1995, his third wife Judith threatened to divorce him when he relapsed. But he did manage to make a recovery and keep his marriage. At Thursday’s event he called his wife a ‘saint.’
‘My worst day now is better than any day I had before I got sober,’ he said Thursday.
And he had words of hope and encouragement for the nearly two dozen people participating in the ‘Recovery at Work: Celebrating Connections’ event and another couple of dozen in the audience.
‘You will, you can get sober. Those who are still sick and suffering, you can. It’s not easy, but you can get sober and stay sober and you can lead a productive life, and most importantly, hopefully, like myself, we can learn to help other people,’ he said.
Larry Kudlow thanked President Trump and first lady Melania Trump for their support
combating drug addiction is one of the three pillars of the first lady’s Be Best campaign
Kudlow praised President Trump and Melania Trump for their support. He said he and the president had spoken about his addiction and the president talked about his older brother Fred, who died in 1981 due to complications from his alcohol addiction.
‘It is my pleasure and honor to be here today. The President has been remarkable. I’ve known him many years. He brought me into this position, I didn’t ask for it. I’ve served it to the best of my ability,’ Kudlow said. ‘We have great discussions, sometimes even debates. He is remarkable man. And if I get time off for good behavior and write another book that what I’ll write.’
He said his recovery works continues every day – doing a daily mediation and checking in with friends from his recovery program.
And, he noted it comes in handy sometimes when his administration job gets stressful.
‘Oftentimes if things get a little bit tense around here – just occasionally – I say the Serenity Prayer. It works if you work it,’ he said.
The group gave him a round of applause when he finished his story.
September is National Recovery Month and the first lady lists battling drug addiction as one of the three pillars of her Be Best campaign.
She stayed longer than scheduled at the event, telling participants she had read their biographies and wanted to hear their stories. Many of them shared their road to recovery with the first lady, who was wearing a dark blue dress with a white dot pattern.
She also got some hands on experience with the battle against drug addiction.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams demonstrated to her how to dispense Naloxone, which is a drug given to someone suffering from a drug overdose.
‘If the Secret Service doesn’t kill me, I’m going to demonstrate to the First Lady,’ he said, getting up from his spot at the table to bring Melania Trump a small, white dispenser.
He showed her how to press a button on it. ‘That literally is how easy it is to save a life,’ he noted. ‘Just give it a push.’
‘One time use?,’ Melania Trump asked after she tried it.
‘Yes,’ he told her.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams demonstrated to Melania Trump how to dispense Naloxone, which is a drug given to someone suffering from a drug overdose
Melania Trump asked Dr. Adams if the device could just be used once, which he said yes
First Lady Melania Trump opened the event by noting the coronavirus pandemic has increased feelings of loneliness and sadness around the country
The first lady welcomed the guests to the event and noted the COVID pandemic has increased feelings of loneliness around the country.
‘The coronavirus pandemic has increased feelings of loneliness and sadness. For vulnerable populations, it has also increased the risk of substance abuse. But the American people are strong and always set-up to help one another in times of need. My husband and this Administration are also committed to making sure no one is left behind and the forgotten man and woman are forgotten no more,’ she said.
Melania Trump did not wear a mask but all the participants at the event received a COVID test before it began, according to the first lady’s office.