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Leave Limbaugh's Addiction Alone!

I wrote a piece this week for The FOX Forum about President Obama's excellent housing plan. The piece received hundreds of comments -- most of them negative. That's fine. As a liberal, my writing seems to stimulate the right to have at me. I'm a big boy and can handle criticism. But personal attacks are not criticism, they are unnecessary and offensive. A few personal comments this week (as has been the case in previous writings) were not directed at me but at Rush Limbaugh's struggle with pain pills.

[caption id="attachment_7530" align="aligncenter" width="222" caption="Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh (AP file photo)"][/caption]

The Limbaugh comments I have received over the past few years appear to come from people who support my positions. Although I appreciate the support, I strongly resent the use of my writing as a vehicle to attack Limbaugh's struggle with the painkiller OxyContin. The drug -- which should be banned -- has caused dependency in tens of thousands of people. It is also one of the most difficult addictions to control.

I rarely agree with Rush Limbaugh on anything politically and often attack his views. That's what free debate in a democracy is about. But I consider Rush a brother in recovery and understand how much was required (and will always be required) for him to stay clean. If you have suffered addiction it's unlikely you would mock Limbaugh on the subject.
From all I can tell Rush has dealt with his addiction successfully and he deserves an enormous amount of credit for facing his problem, seeking professional help and most importantly his willingness to talk about the problem publicly. I'm willing to bet that many people, similarly addicted, were moved to seek help because Rush spoke out. The reason I believe this is I to am a recovering alcoholic and addict, and like Rush have spoken publicly about my recovery.

Often when I raise my recovery on television or speeches one or more people who are active alcoholics or addicts approach me for help. This is not heroic on my part but essential for my own recovery. We have a slogan in AA that says' "In order to keep it (recovery) you need to give it away". The people that approach me do far more for me than I can do for them. What I can do is direct them towards resources that can help them.

Recovery from addiction to any substance is extraordinarily difficult, and most who try to stay clean fail over time. Addiction is a life long disease and the only cure is complete abstinence a day at a time. For those like Rush and myself who have stayed clean (so far) the rewards of sobriety are enormous. You get to live your life a second time, but not by forgetting the past. By remembering how bad it was to be using and overcoming your addiction you come to believe that God has intervened and saved you for a purpose.

Because I have been blessed with work that brings me in contact with millions of people on television and public forums, I consider it my duty to pass on (where appropriate) the fact that I am in recovery. Rush Limbaugh has millions more listeners than I will ever have and by his courage to address his addiction has likely saved many lives. God bless him for that.

I rarely agree with Rush Limbaugh on anything politically and often attack his views. That's what free debate in a democracy is about. But I consider Rush a brother in recovery and understand how much was required (and will always be required) for him to stay clean. If you have suffered addiction it's unlikely you would mock Limbaugh on the subject. If you choose to do so please don't use comments on my writing as a vehicle for such unhelpful behavior.

I appreciate your support for my positions but I'd rather havenosupport than contribute to attacks on Rush Limbaugh or any other addict. Long after I stop being a political commentator I will still be a recovering alcoholic. This much I can tell you -- political commentary will never kill me but a return to drinking almost certainly will. To those who read this and are struggling with addiction there is help available. Seek it now and begin the journey toward a new life. There is hope.

Bob Beckel currently serves as co-host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The Five (weekdays 5-6PM/ET). He first joined FNC as a contributor in 2000 and rejoined in 2011 as co-host of The Five. Click here for more information on Bob Beckel